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17 years ago, I was 22 years old.
On July 27th, 2004, I woke up in the late morning from my last drunk. I had, yet again, another blackout leaving me confused, depressed, and hopeless. I desperately wanted the night before to be different—I wanted to drink the perfect amount where I wouldn’t find myself going overboard again.
Instead, I drank to oblivion.
I couldn’t control myself and how I drank—even when I gave it my best and most perfect effort. I continued to bang up against my unrealistic expectations again and again…and again. I felt completely defeated and utterly humiliated.
Still in my bed feeling the lowest of lows, I picked up the phone and admitted I needed help. I realized shortly after that phone call I would need to stop drinking completely. As outlandish as this sounds, I was ready and completely not ready, simultaneously. However, that tiny amount of readiness or willingness—or whatever it was—had me on the right foot toward recovery.
It wasn’t easy.
It was really hard to learn how to live life without the escape of alcohol and drugs. I went to inpatient treatment, I lived in a sober house, and I immersed myself in the vibrant St. Paul recovery community. I was fortunate enough to be a young person with few obligations. I was able to seize the opportunity and start anew taking my time to build a sturdy foundation in recovery. I encountered a loving group of people with arms wide open that surrounded me with care. They offered suggestions on how to live life sober with the help of a few simple steps.
A fog lifted and I remembered who I was before I started drinking. I discovered who I was becoming now that I quit alcohol…and I actually liked myself.
I always had spiritual curiosities and now I found joy in exploring my connection to this world, its people, and the spirit of the universe. I felt the presence of God working in my life. That feeling of being grounded, connected, and on a spiritual path was infinitely better to me than being drunk.
Then, I met Noah. We valued our recovery above all else and made the decision to be together forever. We have experienced the best and worst days of our lives together. We are without a doubt the perfect match. Our children have never seen us drunk and that fact is a big source of pride for me. We will continue to do what it takes so they never have to see us drunk. They both know we are committed to taking good care of ourselves. We continue to prioritize our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Sure, I have struggles. Life can be hard and as an alcoholic, I tend to look for an escape from anything that makes me experience pain or just plain discomfort. These past couple of years of sobriety have taught me how to notice how I’m feeling, how to honor my feelings (including the negative ones), and how to sit with my emotions and move forward.
I will always continue to work on myself. I want to relate to people with full openness, authentic ease, and limitless kindness while being true to myself and my values. These personal goals never would have occurred to me before I sobered up. What a gift to widen my lens and broaden my understanding of purpose.
I am grateful to the people who selflessly gave me support in the beginning and those who continue to do so. I managed to find the solution to my problem with alcohol. It has worked one day at a time for me for 17 years.
If you need help or know someone struggling, my arms are wide-open and I am here to help. Thanks for reading and a couple of special shout-outs to Noah, Chrissy, Uncle Matt, BarbiePants, Tuesday night Squad 11, Stacy, Patra, and Kathy. Love y’all.