What My Emotional Rock Bottom Taught Me
I was moving up the ranks in my drinking career when my besties started having babies. While they navigated their ways through toddler hell, I raised hell on my path of self-destruction. While they were nursing babies, I was nursing hangovers. As they lost sleep caring for sick babies in the middle of the night, I was losing sleep, making myself sick with alcohol and drugs.
One of my friends once told me that she had fantasized about hopping the fence and running away to start a new life because hers as a working wife and mother was too hard.
I didn’t get it. Like, at all.
When I got sober and had children of my own I got it. I got it so hard.
Two years ago, I hit another bottom and it was way worse than my last when I was drinking. My daughters were two and four. My life, as I knew it, did not look like I thought it would almost six years in recovery. I was unhappy with every single aspect of my life and was desperate for change. I remember driving to work one day and screaming at the top of my lungs to God, “HELP ME!! I CAN’T DO THIS!!!!”
I cried a lot. Every. Single. Day. I lost my temper with my daughters and I took it out on my husband too. Our marriage was falling apart right before my eyes and he was oblivious. Which made me even feel even more crazy. How could he not see, I wondered? I was picking fights left and right, with him and my coworker.
It felt just like when I was drinking. I didn’t understand—how could I feel this way again and I’m still dry AF? I suddenly realized I wasn’t in recovery at all.
Had I been doing the things I was taught to do when I first got sober, I wouldn’t feel so helpless, alone and out of control.
I was going it alone. I was without a sponsor and had a very small circle of sober friends. I wasn’t going to meetings and I wasn’t being of service in any way, shape or form. I wasn’t praying. I had also gotten myself addicted to Adderall.
I knew right then and there that if I didn’t take charge of my situation, I was going to drink. This is what some of us call the “relapse before the relapse.” So, I went back to meetings and I started reaching out.
Next thing I knew, I had a sponsor who accepted me and my choices in recovery (a miracle!) I discovered new recovery communities I didn’t know existed outside of the little AA bubble I had put myself in. I seamlessly quit Adderall without any help and managed to close out 2018 with a new lease on life.
I still have a lot of growth to do. It has nothing to do with staying sober and everything to do with me and how I show up as a human being. As long as I remain aware of the 5 lessons I learned from my emotional rock bottom, I’ll never have to go through one again:
I’m an addict
I’m also an addict and I still have some addictions to overcome. I still need to kick a couple things to the curb once and for all. As long as they aren’t booze and Adderall, I’m going to be just fine.
I’m not alone
I am not alone and there are always people out there suffering way more than me. The more I give a shit about other people, the less I focus on myself, the better I feel. Selfless acts of service do a soul good.
Recovery is more than not drinking
Recovery is so much more than not drinking or using, I need a program of action to stay somewhat sane. I’ve been taught the tools and it’s my responsibility whether I choose to use them or not.
I need a community
I need a community—be it AA, Sober Mommies or both. I don’t know yet and I don’t have to know. All I DO know is, I’m not living without one ever again.
I need a spiritual connection
I need a Higher Power – and mine is God. It’s when I let up on my spiritual connection when things start to go sideways. As long as I turn my will over to Him every day to the best of my ability, I’m good.
I’m grateful for my bottom because it brought me back to the path I never wanted and now never want to get off. It’s been a transformative two years and I’m in a much better place today. But I’m not done. No way—I’ll never be finished. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. There’s still work to be done on myself and people to help along the way. I cannot wait to see what the next decade brings.