Caley's Story

As of November 23rd, 2021 I am two years sober. I couldn’t bring myself to post about it last week because it was unsurprisingly a really difficult couple of days. You see, when I celebrate the 23rd being my sober anniversary, I also have to remember that the day before was the day I hit rock bottom… November 22nd, 2019 was legitimately one of the worst days of my life. I started drinking around 4:00pm, went out for dinner and drinks with a friend, got completely wasted, missed my children’s bedtime, and came home to an upset husband who I treated like complete garbage. I said and did things that I will always regret. They make my stomach turn and my heart hurt…and I wish with all my being I could take it back, but at the same time I am SO thankful that it happened. I am both regretful of and grateful for that night. I know that sounds strange, so let me explain… If I had not hit that rock bottom, if I had not done and said things that hurt the people I love, I would not have gotten sober. The thing is, I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care that I lived in a constant worry around how and when I would get my next drink. I didn’t care that I was an alcoholic. I didn’t care that by hiding my addiction I was lying to everyone around me. I didn’t care that I was slowly killing myself. I had zero passion for life. Zero desire to live day to day. I was never going to stop because I thought alcohol was the one thing getting me through all my pent up misery. If I had not gotten so freaking drunk that I looked like a stroke victim and done the things I did, I would not have gotten sober. Thankfully, as selfish as I was, I loved my family enough that I had made an agreement with myself… If my drinking ever effected them, I would stop. Well, that night it effected them. So, on November 23rd, 2019 I woke up with a hangover from hell, and also the worst knot in my stomach that I had ever experienced. Flashes from the night before made their way to the front of my mind… the drinks I had consumed, the food, the laughter shared with a friend, and then the people I had neglected, the people I had hurt, the things I had said that I couldn’t take back. When I rolled over, my husband, the person I needed most and also the person I was scared to encounter – was already out of bed. I slowly rolled out of bed, walking into the bathroom to brush the night before out of my mouth and I encountered the worst version of my all too familiar hungover self. Rats nest hair, swollen blotchy face, and dark bags under my bloodshot eyes. At 32 I looked closer to 50. This time I didn’t bother with the usual “you’ll look perfectly fine again by noon” pep-talk because I didn’t deserve it. Not even trying to hide my embarrassingly haggard look, and fearing the worst, I headed downstairs to find my husband. As soon as I got to him, I wrapped my arms around him, but I could hardly get even a sound out as my words from the night before replayed in my head. The horrible words I had directed at my husband, made me even more physically ill than I already was. “I’m so sorry.” Was all I could get out. Thankfully, that was what he needed to hear, and he turned to me and hugged me back. There was a lot of talking, but the most important part was my beginning. The beginning of my journey into recovery. Me finally admitting that I had a problem. Finally saying it out loud. “I have a drinking problem. I’m an alcoholic.” There was so taking it back. It was out in the open and in that moment I was both relieved and devastated. I was ready, but I wasn’t ready. I wanted to be sober, but I didn’t want to be sober. It was an unknown, and I legitimately did not think that I’d survive it. I knew I would never drink again because I was too scared to lose my family, but I feared being sober would be too much to live with. I spoke with a good friend of ours who had been sober for 5+ years at that time, and he encouraged me to go to AA, find women’s meetings, and find people to connect to. He challenged me to commit and not look back. It took a few days to go to AA, and I scoured social media and other places looking for women to connect with but came up empty handed. It would be another year or so before I finally found relatable people…but I think that was for the best. I was nowhere near true healing, and I was still living in fear of everyone’s judgement. I would have been comparing myself to everyone rather than educating myself. My words of encouragement here are this – Don’t wait until you hit rock bottom. You absolutely can and will thrive in sobriety if you commit and don’t look back. Figure out the root cause of your addiction, and start healing from it. Find your confidence. Learn to love yourself. Have faith. If you do hit rock bottom, simply be thankful for it and move forward. ‍
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