Indiana Radio Host Celebrates Halloween Sober – Remembers the Time When She Didn’t
This photo popped up in my Facebook Memories today. Ten years ago today, in 2012, I attended a Halloween party hosted by a new-at-the-time friend. I dressed up as a vampire like I had many other times in years past and when I arrived, I grabbed a drink - a little social lubricant if, you will.
The Last Halloween with a Drink in Hand
Ten+ years of friendship with this woman. Ten+ years of unconditional love and support through some of the toughest times of my life. It is amazing the way God/The Universe works to put the right people in our lives... This was the last Halloween that I was active in my alcoholism. I was drinking every single day, poisoning my mind and my body, typically drinking 10-12 beers a night (I absolutely hated beer btw) and on the nights it wasn’t beer, it was an entire bottle of wine - because who drinks 2 glasses, and recorks the bottle? Certainly not me.
My Life Was Spiraling Out of Control
I was in a relationship that was mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive. To say I was lost would be an understatement. About 6 weeks after this photo was taken, I attempted to take my own life and about another month or so after that, I experienced something known in the recovery community as an "incomprehensible demoralization." It was the following day, January 12, 2013, that without realizing it, I took what would be my last drink.
"When The Pain Becomes Too Much..."
"When the pain becomes too much, we will take action." Pain is a hell of a motivator, and I was carrying a lot of it and had been for decades. When I first got sober there were people, places, and things that had to go to make room for a new way of living my life. There were some I held onto for too long, others still who have come and gone, leaving long-lasting life lessons in their wake, but there are also those who stayed, many in the recovery community, who used their own experience, strength, and hope to guide me and countless others who felt hopelessly hopeless to find our own recovery, our own peace, and our own serenity.
Worth Loving - Even If I Couldn't See It
There are those outside of recovery too, like my dear friend Nikki, who simply saw what I wasn't able to see in myself, and decided it was worth loving. To say that I am blessed to have the people in my life who love me exactly as I am, even in my most messy moments, is an understatement.
Learning to Live a Life of Recovery
There has been a lot of healing in the last several years and a lot of growing pains too as I have learned to navigate life without the use of alcohol to numb out the hard parts, including the grief of losing my dad. It hasn't been easy and it hasn't been without metaphorically falling flat on my face a few times either. Fortunately, it's progress, not perfection, and as long as I don’t pick up a drink, and I do a few simple things each and every day, I never have to live my life like the broken woman in that photo ever again.
I have replaced my self-loathing with self-love and where I once carried shame, I have found dignity and self-respect.
Sobriety Has Brought Me Peace
My recovery has given me so much more than I could have ever dreamed possible. I have replaced my self-loathing with self-love and where I once carried shame, I have found dignity and self-respect. I have learned that I have value as a human being simply because I exist in this world and that value does not diminish because of someone else’s inability to see it. I have found the courage, strength, and grace to establish healthy boundaries to remove and keep out those that would bring chaos to my peace.
I Am Proud of the Person I Am Today
I have people in my life now, in and out of the recovery community, who genuinely love and care about me, and who want nothing more than to see me happy, healthy, and whole, and because of my sobriety, I am able to show up for them - as a mother, a partner, a coworker, and a friend. I can be proud of the person that I am today, and I can forgive the woman in the photo because I have come to understand that she was doing the best she could at the time with the knowledge that she had and she was just trying to survive.
More Than I Could Have Dreamed
My life is far from perfect, but it is so much more than I ever could have dreamed of a decade ago. Even on my bad days, I am in a better place than I was then. If you’re still reading, and you are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, I hope you can find some hope in the story of this once-hopeless woman.
Recovery Is Possible - You're Worth It
Recovery is possible – if I can do it, so can you. There is a life outside of drugs and alcohol. And while it may not be easy, I promise getting clean and getting sober is worth it. You are worth it. There are plenty of resources to help you navigate the path of recovery, some of them cost absolutely nothing other than the desire to give up your old way of life. Another good resource is the National Alliance of Mental Illness Crisis Text Line. Just text NAMI to 741-741 where it is free to be connected with a trained crisis counselor to text with.