Sober looks pretty on me.

Deciding the sober life for me did not come easy. Every day I am faced with hurdles and bumps. I would love to paint this picture that sobriety is easy and beautiful, and it is at times but it’s also harsh and scary and means I have to face realities that drinking made easier in the moment to deal with life, and now I am having to deal in the raw. This means without the bandaid that forms fake feelings. It means telling my story and facing it head on without anything to numb the pain that lead me to this road.

The last time I was sober I was in elementary school. I can’t remember my first drink or drug but I do remember the girl I was before it. The girl who swore she would never become that person who allowed drinking to numb her feelings and drugs to help cope with all the shame and hurt I endured in my journey.  I swore I would never be the parent that made my children fearful of the person I became when I drank. I also swore I would never allow it to be my medication to coping with life.

Once I found out I was pregnant with my first child I thought that was my day one.. that drinking and using recreational drugs was a thing of the past and yes for the most part it was but not the drinking, it was just a pause moment where something more impotent then my drinking was priority. I remember during my pregnancy I was so sick.. and now I wonder if partly it was because I was detoxing. I remember my circle became small during my pregnancies and my friends that where still drinking no longer found me interesting or fun and well let’s be real, I wasn’t. I was miserable and sick and fat but you know what I was ok, because I was blessed with a miracle growing inside my belly that I was told may never happen and I was sober.

Before pregnancy I was a heavy drinker. Drinking to the point I had zero recollection of my night before. To the point I lost jobs and relationships because the numb was more important then dealing with reality. I was in relationships that only made sense because 95% of the time we spent it drunk and when we weren’t, the relationship was boring. I worked two jobs and if I wasn’t working I was sleeping or at the bar. My life was based around working and making enough money to pay my bills and party. I think the first few years of marriage were the hardest for my husband and I because I was pregnant and sober and jealous that he was still able to drink and have fun.. I don’t know how we made it through but we did and we are stronger for it now.

After a long pregnancy and a quick and easy delivery I totally forgot about my day one and not too long after I was back at the bottle.. one time I remember the next day after a night of binge drinking, I wanted to die. I remember asking myself how do parents do this.. drink and parent the next day? But years later I found that I was that parent. The kids survived today, the house is clean, laundry is done and dinner is made so now I can reward myself with a glass of wine but usually what was suppose to be just a glass turned to a bottle, and the next day would be a mess because I couldn’t wait for nap time and while I waited I would just be useless because I would just be laying on the couch or in bed. I would set up traps so the kids couldn’t escape the living room while I slept away the headache and body aches. I look back now with so much regret on those days.. so much time lost that I could have been spending with my kids making memories and taking them to do things. Instead of having the disney channel on and endless gold fish and juice for them to stay entertained with.

For years I built this life around drinking and didn’t even realize it. Where we would go out to eat would have to depend on their bar and what they offered, forget the food as long as I had a good drink I could make something work on the menu. Going out with friends or family always started with a pre-funk and by the time I would make it out I would be so drunk I couldn’t even remember the fun or concert. I had a bit of social anxiety that had built up over the years and any social setting I would go into panic mode but a bottle of wine or vodka always numbed those fears and made me feel fearless but most the time it made me look like a drunk fool who would end up doing or saying something that haunted me even years later.

Dealing with grief and loss has been one of the worst journey’s for me and coping was not handled in a positive way. Forget therapy just head to the local liquor store. I have lost my fair share of loved ones.. I remember for awhile it was like once a month I would hear of a friend who passed away (unfortunately mostly to addiction), so what would I do, drink away the sadness or at least for that moment, but once I sobered up the grief and pain and loss was still their and the ache even larger so back to the bottle I would go.. and that cycle started, feel sad have a drink, another friend passed have a drink, papa is sick have a drink, papa passed away have a drink.. it was vicious! When my sister in law was murder, I think that set a whole new drinking tone. I am not blaming her murder on my actions, I blame myself for thinking that drinking would actually help. My kids were affected by my choices. I was angry and sad and just depressed. I was in constant flight to find happiness after loosing her and my unborn niece. The world turned dark and cold and unfair. Drinking was the only time I felt ok. But deep down I was screaming for someone to take this broken heart and mend it. My husband was morning her loss to and here I am finding the bottle to be my coping device, verses grabbing him closer so we could morn together. Looking back on that time in my life and I don’t know how I even managed motherhood or how my marriage survived. 

In 2016 I was diagnosed with autoimmune and at that time I started really researching transforming my life and habits. I knew all the toxins I was putting into my body were just making me more sick. I started eliminating all things toxic.. not even thinking of the poison I was putting into my body named alcohol. I look back now and laugh at all my foolishness. Let’s rid our house of sugar, and Scensty and scented laundry detergent and food dies but a bottle of wine is ok or beer or vodka.. what in the world. I really knew what I was doing.. good grief! 

I wish the sad, lost mom and wife I was then knew that there was something better then the bottle to cope.. I wish I had enough courage and strength to really look at my life and see what the true root of a lot of my emotional and physical problems where.. I wish sobriety was something I had offered myself.. but no it took me till 2022 to really evaluate and look closely at what I was doing to my body, my family and my life and it all started with alcohol.. before I even took my first sip.

I didn’t just wake up one day and go.. I think I will be sober. No this was something I started thinking hard about after my sister started her journey with sobriety. I would hear her talk about her why and it started to make me think of my own life and really evaluate my why. 

Once the new year started I was miserable. My job was beyond stressful, my panic attacks were worse then ever, my depression that I fought so hard to manage was back full force, I was smoking again after quitting for 3 years and my health,  it was spiraling out of control. Once my rheumatologist mentioned she thought I may have kidney disease from my autoimmune, my eyes became WIDE OPEN. I really had to make some life style changes and reevaluate my current season of life.

The anxiety that came from thinking I could have kidney disease really scared the shit out of me. So my husband and I agreed it was time to reset my focus and life. We had already discussed me staying home again a few months earlier, to be there for our kids. Especially now since they are pre-teens and full of emotional hormones that really needed my attention and nurturing. My job was very demanding. Even when I wasn’t at work, I was still working. Dealing with clients and contracts and it was taking me away from my kids and husband. I was becoming the absent parent that I never wanted my kids to have.. at least before I may have been drinking but at least I was present just at a different level. This career life was just leading me to not only be a absent but increased my need to drink to help me manage a career and motherhood.  

The hardest part about leaving my job was, I absolutely love all of my team and my management. It was a breakup I was scared to death to make. We were a family or so I thought and I am still dealing with the loss of some of those relationships. At the end of the day though.. I don’t regret my decision I just miss parts of that life.

After I resigned I went to a few specialist and found I do not have nephritis (kidney disease) I was actually suffering from insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, something that is common with some of my other medical conditions. That too put the fear in me because I do not want have type 2 diabetes. I honestly think that was when I said I am done. My body is not my friend right now and I don’t know if I am my friend right now. All the horrible things I have done to it.. for what.. a cold beer to numb my sorrows, a glass of wine to give me courage to be someone I am not, liquor to give me energy to make it through what ever event I was attending only to look back and go who was that?

When we were going to rodeo, I was like I got this! I don’t even want a drink.. but then the bars where in my face and beer was my drink of choice before kicking it to the curb. I was like just one won’t hurt.. I kid you not, I had about 5 sips and I realized I don’t want it. I know my husband was irritated because it was like a $15 beer (rodeo) but I just couldn’t, it was gross. So I threw it away and I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since. That was March 2nd 2023.

That was also the day we saw Lauren Daigle in concert. Man that girl can sing and restore ones faith back into your heart that you didn’t know you even missed. I think that day was full of so many blessing, not only did I make the big decisions to stop my drinking.. I also decided it was time to stop blaming God for my problems and starting thanking him for allow me to survive them. 

Tomorrow will be two weeks sober and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. In two weeks I have survived and experienced things for the first time sober. I know this is just the beginning of first for me but I am proud of my journey and strength and I am proud to say that sober looks pretty on me.

♡ Melissa

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