Tuesday, May 24, 2016

365 Days Sober

Where do I even begin. Time flies, even when your not drinking it away! Lessons learned? So many, where would I begin!? I think it is different for everyone, so I cant say my path will be the same as anyone else. My will to quit definitely won over my desire to drink. I am a lucky girl that it was not as hard for me as it could have been. Doesnt mean I do not think about drinking every day. I do. I think about the past, the fun times, the crazy stories and memories, and then I think about all the mistakes....

When I first quit, the hardest part was music. Music was my world, especially when I was drunk. I had the weirdest disconnect with music when I first quit drinking. I worried that I wouldn't be able to listen to music ever again without wanting to drink. Same thing with cooking, football, cookouts, going to the beach, birthday parties, holidays, happy hour, after work life, editing or creating...everything I did was a trigger that I needed to have a drink while I was doing it. I really didn't know how I was going to go about each day without drinking. What do I do??

I had been seeing a therapist for anxiety for about 4 years and I was asked one day if I needed to speak with a substance abuse counselor. I hesitated, but said yes. She immediately made me an appointment with another therapist a few days later and my journey began there. This person really reached me. She had 25 years under her belt, and she really introduced me to sober living. 

I began new habits and started attending some online AA meetings. THIS HELPED! I started drinking some decaf coffee every night after work and probably smoked a lot of cigarettes too. I got myself involved with work more, school and doing the online meetings. This worked for me because it kept me busy and distracted. 

I was not successful the first time I quit. It probably took me about 5 months to really kick it. The biggest help with me quitting was my health. I was experiencing severe sugar drops every morning with my hangover, so bad that I would end sometimes end up in the emergency room. I would drink until I passed out pretty much, maybe around 2-4am. Wake up at 6-7am with a shaking body, high heart rate and extreme HOT flashes all over my body. Every morning, I would crawl into a cold shower and pray to god that he would let me get through this and I promised to change. After the shower, I would pop a pill and go back to sleep. Half a day later, I would come out of my coma and remain in bed the entire day recovering. The next day, I was feeling great again, back to normal. Usually by the third day, I would start all over. Vicious, nasty cycle that went on for many years. 

Some people have this idea in their minds about what an alcoholic is and it can be a very warped idea. I just know there was a problem and a lot of decisions and mistakes were happening that were not good for me. I was blacking out and doing or saying things that just were not good. I was wasting my life. I had given up so much time with family, and I had given up having a family of my own because I was too selfish to quit drinking. I was super depressed for so many years for so many different reasons. Millions of thoughts raced through my head everyday that I could not handle, which is probably why I drank. 

A year later.......

I graduated University of Phoenix (finally) in 2015 with my associates degree in business. Started at the Art Institute for Portrait Photography and will graduate in June 2017. I have began doing photography every moment I get, I work 2 jobs and spend time with people I love. I do not miss out on anything anymore! I have become more patient. I look at the world differently, and I love differently. I found faith in a higher power and purpose in my life that I did not have before. I am a super sensitive person, but I am learning to embrace it. I listen to music today with the passion I always had for it. I can handle being sober, and if I am uncomfortable being around drinkers, I leave. No big deal. It was not easy getting here. I realized that I didnt know I had a problem until I decided to actually quit. It is hard and you need a support system. You might lose some friends a long the way, and you might feel completely alone. But there is this amazing place at AA where everyone supports you and relates, and shares. You feel like you finally found your "tribe"! 

Thanks to my husband and my family for being there for me and supporting me, pushing me and reminding me how awesome I am! One day at a time!