Under The Magnolia Tree with Louise // "I won the War the day I laid the bottle down for good. But...my battle began Years before my Proverbial Day #1. People ask me daily, “When was the last time I drank alcohol?” or “What is my sobriety date?” And, if you are one of these people, you know I responded by saying with conviction, “My journey began in 2018.” In July of 2018, a mental discomfort, and anguish I can only compare to insanity entered and festered in my conscious mind… I've coined it THE CYCLE OF DOOM: 4:00 am - Abruptly wake, heart racing, pounding with panic and regret 5:00 am - Stumble into the kitchen and pound 4 Advil and a Diet Coke 6:00 am - Peel myself out of bed and stare with hatred & disgust at the women staring back at me in the mirror 6:01 am - Promise myself, “Today will be different” 6:02 am - Reluctantly go through the motions and monotony of the day feeling lost, scared, irritable, lonely and broken 4:00 pm - Wish I had a drink 5:00 pm - Convince myself “just 1"" won’t hurt 6:00 pm - Finish the 1st bottle I had promised myself I would even open 8:00 pm - Spend less than 30 seconds tucking my daughter in, so I could race back to chasing my high 9:00 pm - Pick pointless argument with husband I don't remember and pass out 4:00 am - Abruptly wake, heart racing, pounding with panic and regret RINSE & REPEAT Through these cycles, I held one set of beliefs that were challenged by another simultaneously. The first kept me safe and numb, they’d been with me through everything, for twenty years. The second shook me to my core. This dissonance created the Battle in my mind and it was on May 16th 2021 that I effortlessly won the War. Credit is due to the 3 years I spent re-learning information, training my brain to understand new behaviors and new patterns and new truths, so that I was able implement new actions and change my entire belief system in that seemingly single moment in time, 1 year ago. I am unassumingly proud that the last drop of alcohol I sipped was 1 year ago, but more notable is the battle I showed up for. And....I have unapologetic pride for every single day in between. I want every person, without exception, who is fighting for their own sobriety to take credit for every year, every month, every week, every day, every second that they are fighting this battle in their own mind…. even though it may be years until you take your last sip."