Woman pushing giant boulder showing conceptual strength.

The Strength I Never Saw

You’re taught to believe that addiction is about “strong” and “weak”; that you’re making a choice; that with enough platitudes and gumption, you can finally overcome alcohol and everything will be OK. I always thought these were toxic assertions that completely failed to capture the seriousness of alcoholism. These "fairy-tales" had haunted me all of my adult life and made it impossible for me to do any kind of real work on my recovery for a long time.

Alcoholism word on paper crumbled up in hand.

The Humility of Recovery

I guess it’s a rite of passage for all alcoholics to fall on God’s mercy and ask for his forgiveness, even if you have no intention of earning it. I had no idea how hard or long I would have to work to earn actual forgiveness until I was actually tested. Thankfully it’s a test that I’ve been passing every day since I’ve entered recovery.

Illustration of alcoholic woman trapped in a bottle

Alive Again

Very often people assume that addiction, especially alcoholism, is a matter of just “snapping out of it” and moving on. It’s obvious that those people have no appreciation for the circumstances or factors that might have led someone to alcohol abuse. In 2010, I lost my husband to a heart attack and something died inside of me too that day. After 29 years or marriage, my world felt completely empty without him. I had two children, who I loved more than anything, but at the end of the day, they still weren’t enough to make me happy and that made me feel worse than anything else.

women handcuffed to alcohol drink

Hitting Back: My Struggle with Alcoholism

I realize how naïve this sounds now, but I never thought drinking could cause so many problems. I always thought of myself of someone who was in control and could take anything the world through at them. I found out, first-hand, how easy it was to lose control. In just one short year, I went from casual drinker to alcoholic, a term with which I have to live for the rest of my life. The term, however, is not the part that bothers me; the part that bothers me is the fact that I didn’t have the strength or foresight to solve my problems without alcohol.

young woman holding sapling in her hands

The Problem I Never Expected

It’s never easy to distance yourself from someone you love, but in the case of addiction, it’s often the best thing for them. It took me ten years and the near destruction of my relationship with my older sister to grasp this concept. My sister and I were four years apart, but were always together. She took me everywhere with her and taught me all the important things in life. She was basically a third parent and went out of her way to help me whenever I needed it. I never dreamed that I would end up parenting her in later years.

anxiety word under magnifying glass

Getting Comfortable

Fear had always been a dominant factor in my life. It was like a built-in shut-off mechanism in my brain that stopped me from enjoying life and connecting with people. I didn’t want to live like this, but it was the only way I knew how to live. I had been in an out of therapy for anxiety since I was 12 years old and found no relief until I started drinking. I don’t think my therapist believed me that this was crippling my life or realized how much my fear guided my decision-making.

peaceful water smooth rocks with key path

At Long Last . . . My Peaceful Easy Feeling

I never considered myself to be a strong person or a "survivor." I had always let things get to me very easily and spent my entire adolescence just basically trying to calm down and not get the people around me upset in anyway. Hardly a week would go by where I didn't have at least a mild panic attack and I began to live with this irrational and inexplicable fear that I could feel in my chest every waking minute of the day. I started drinking to relax and loosen myself up long enough to experience fleeting periods of normal social interaction.

woman driver with anger management problem

Sometimes When We're at Our Worst…

I've wasted so much time and energy on just being angry. When I think about how many years I spent with my fists clenched and my teeth gnashed, it's enough to make me all the angrier. When you're an alcoholic, everything is always everyone else's fault. Personal responsibility is as distant a concept as sobriety. I'll be honest; I thought I would die a young drunk and maybe that was part of the reason that I never use to care how badly I mistreated anyone. However, fate has a way of stepping in and slapping you in the face exactly when you need it. 
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