Sarah's Journey

What is your recovery date? Tell us a short paragraph on how you are living your best life now post addiction and recovery?

My sober date is August 20th, 2012. I started drinking at 14, fell in love instantly with alcohol, and finally surrendered to the disease at 39. Now, I consider myself a “grateful alcoholic.” I am a wife and a mother of 3 boys. Because I got sober, I am a better, more honest wife, and the kind of mother I always wanted to be. Two of my sons have Autism, so my “job” as a mom involves constant advocacy for my sons. I can be confident and kind while advocating. I also have better coping skills to handle some very difficult and emotionally draining situations when it comes to parenting. I can handle life better because of the gifts of sobriety. Namely, I take better care of myself. I have depression and anxiety and PTSD. In sobriety, I have the best and the right kind of doctors with whom I can be completely honest. Being honest helps my doctors help me. In sobriety, I worked closely with my sponsor and a trauma therapist. Actively working at looking at behavioral patterns and self-esteem problems, healed old traumas that impacted my ability to function well in relationships.

How did addiction keep you from living your best life?

Addiction kept me from living into my most authentic self. I did not know how to live. I did not know how to cope. All my decisions in life were based on how I could drink. I chose friends, activities, schools, social functions, boyfriends, and jobs all based on ease of consuming alcohol. Anything that got in between alcohol and me made me irritable and annoyed. I cheated and lied in order to get what I wanted in every aspect of life. I lied in job interviews and later “asked to quit” because I did not actually have the qualifications necessary to fulfil the position. I blamed all my problems on everyone else. The poor relationships I had were because of the other person. I was incapable of seeing that it was ME who was the problem.
I was sexually abused as a young girl and kept secrets for my abuser. That is how I thought life should be lived. In addiction my best life was dishonesty.

What and who guided you toward an addiction free journey?

What I know for sure, is that I always knew I loved alcohol a lot more than “normal” people. So, I believe there was place deep in my soul that I could not quite access that spoke to me, telling me that I needed help. I ignored that voice. I tried to control my drinking on my own. The more I tried to control it, the worse it got. It was just another thing I failed at.
There were also many “seeds” planted in my life leading up to the day surrendering to my disease. Looking back, those seeds were necessary to get me to a place of complete and utter desperation so that I could let go absolutely. One of the biggest and final seed was a call from a very close childhood friend who I drank a lot with, telling me had stage 4 colon cancer. I knew that alcohol is a leading cause for this kind of cancer. This terrified me.

What plan and steps did you take to get out of addiction?

I decided that if I could very hard to get my booze daily, then I would commit to recovery daily. So, I listened to all the suggestions given to me by the women in the rooms of AA. I was told to let go of my will; give my will to a higher power. I chose the people in the rooms as my higher power. I attended at least 1 meeting a day for the first 90 days and then started the steps. I followed them exactly how I was told to. If I ever tried to take control back, things would start to turn sour. I even slipped two times before I finally realized that I must let go absolutely. The second slip nearly killed me, so I became incredibly frightened. How could I slip when I wanted so desperately to get sober?
The obsession to drink was lifted because I was willing and desperate to live a life without that obsessive compulsion to get my next fix. I completed the 12-steps with my sponsor. When I let go of my will and became willing to take suggestions on how to live one day at a time while sober, my life changed in ways I never expected.

When did you decide it was time to take action?

The last few years in addiction I drank multiple bottles of wine every night. I would try to stop on my own, only to pick up again and the progression of the disease caused for a need to drink more for the same effects. But no amount of alcohol could fill the hole in my soul. One night, I had the most detailed and elaborate “rock bottom” dream. At the end of the dream, I was being drowned in a vat of alcohol by military soldiers. I woke up gasping for air. Lying motionless in bed and so hungover, I felt complete defeat. I wanted to scream and cry but only tears pooled in my eyes. In that moment, it seemed like a good idea to seek out an AA meeting. The moment I thought of that, I felt a load lifted. I felt lighter. When I entered my first meeting that afternoon, I listened to everybody and heard them speaking my language. I instantly knew I was home; I was where I was meant to be. I was both relieved and nervous. I wanted to stop the insanity, but how could I live through just 1 day of alcohol. I never imagined I’d get to 6 years!

What was at stake for you if you didn't take these actions to get sober?

I was close to divorce because of how I lied to my husband. He was willing to give me time in sobriety to heal our relationship. My family relationships were broken, and people did not trust me more and more. I drove drunk during the day with my children. I would drink wine out of their sippy cups as I drove. I was at risk for losing my children. My health was deteriorating, and I was looking and feeling more and more sick. I was bloated and unhealthy. I knew my insides were dying- my soul and my physical body.
Death, jail or an institution was imminent.

For someone in the same situation as you were who wants to get clean, what would you want to tell them?

I would suggest that they enter a program of recovery. For me, that was the only thing that worked- letting others help me and guide me in the program of AA. I could not get clean on my own. When I was active in my addiction, I felt tremendously alone. I felt I was the only person in the world who felt the way I did. When I found AA, I realized that there are millions of people just like me. This helped me feel less alone. Working on recovery with others, gave me hope. They were (and still are) my inspiration to keep the drink down. I learned that my alcoholism is not a drinking problem. It is a THINKING problem. That is why I go to meetings regularly because it helps me get out of my own head. The program is a design for living a better life. If anyone is sick and suffering from obsessive and compulsive drinking, I would strongly suggest a program that guides and supports you.

Bio:

I am a grateful recovering alcoholic, dedicated to living into my most authentic self. I am a survivor of abuse and trauma. I am a friend, a wife and mother. I live a balanced life of being a responsible parent, caring for myself and my family. I am very active in my church, singing in the choir. I finally got the courage to share my creativity by starting a blog. I am committed to giving back in my recovery program by regularly speaking at detox and rehab facilities. I love spending time with my family and friends. I started a local support group for parents with children with autism. We meet at a library and it is set up similarly to the way AA is run. Peers supporting peers. I love connecting with people in recovery and who parent children with autism. I am grateful every day that I got a second chance to live an easier, simpler and better life.
I am free!

Stories of my recovery and healing can be found on my blogsite:
www.unexpectedlyauthentic.com
Instagram @unexpectedlyauthentic
Twitter @unexpectedlyau1


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