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I Lost an Amazing Friend and Found Sobriety

I read an article about Chrissy Teigen on Buzzfeed recently, and it really stuck with me. If you don’t know who she is, she’s a model, has a hilarious Twitter (@chrissyteigen) and is married to John Legend. I don’t watch “Lip Synch Battle,”  but I have heard it is pretty funny. She has also battled Postpartum Depression (PPD) and anxiety. I am very familiar with this, because of my issues with this after my son Julian was born. It wasn’t my favorite time as a mom. I’ve also worked with women who were at risk for and/or struggled with it.

It turns out that Chrissy also has issues with drinking, and it runs in her family. She said in the article (no spoilers) that she had come to realize that her drinking made her act differently than she would like to around others and it was hurting their reputation. She said she realized she needed to fix herself.

I have felt the same way. 

My sobriety date is 1/1/17. I was a very hard drinker for almost four years. I’ve been drinking since I was a teen, like many, but later on, the drinking got out of control.

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In late 2011, my youngest son Julian was diagnosed with ADHD and autism. My husband and I had already been fighting a lot about how to handle his behaviors, but after his diagnosis, things just got worse. At times, we didn’t speak for days.

Julian had become aggressive and difficult to handle. Things were so bad that by 2013, I had begun going out for dinner and drinks with a group of co-workers every Tuesday. I needed the escape from my life at home. It hurt a lot that I couldn’t fix my marriage. I didn’t know how to stop the fighting or the mean things my husband was saying to me. I didn’t know what to do with Julian.

I knew that drinking was fun and it made me feel a lot better. Everything that was stressing me out went away and I didn’t have to do anything but be hilarious. I’ve always been funny to begin with, but alcohol brought that out a lot more. This continued for about two years, until September 1, 2015. My entire life stopped and shattered that day.

Jake was the person who stepped into my life and immediately made it better. He came along with his own set of issues; which would eventually lead to his death. Thanks to him, I learned so much about myself and became a lot stronger and happier.

He listened to me when I needed someone, made me laugh, but also made me worry. I will miss him everyday for the rest of my life.

Sober Mommies Lost an Amazing Friend and Found Sobriety

I found out about Jake’s death on September 2nd. I didn’t deal with it well at all, but when someone you love dies, you rarely do. I partially dealt with it by downing seven shots of Fireball.

Most people would have passed out at some point, but I kept crying. I’m not really sure who put the Fireball away, but someone did. I drank my way through the next year. I drank during the day while my kids were at school; some days I was barely able to get my kids off the bus. I drank on the weekends.

Looking back, it took a lot more than it did in the beginning to get me anywhere near drunk. My hangovers got worse. I would spend the whole day either in bed or wishing I was. My stomach would hurt so badly that I could barely eat until the pain eased. I didn’t pay attention to this. I drank so much I scared my friends. One sent me home from her house with a trash bag in case I threw up in my husband’s truck while he drove us home.

The end came with lab results from my doctor’s office. I can’t remember the reason for the labs to begin with, but my doctor called. She knew I had been drinking, but she didn’t know how much. She let me know that my liver enzymes were elevated and that I needed to cut back or stop drinking. My liver could still repair itself at this point, but if I didn’t stop drinking soon, it would not be able to.

I knew exactly what she meant. I’ve worked in the substance abuse field long enough to know where she was going with this conversation. I thanked her and hung up.

The next night was New Year’s Eve, and I drank one last time with a friend, our husbands and another friend. That was the last time I have drank anything. The next day was January 1, 2017 and I started a sober life.

I can’t say I liked who I was while I was drinking. I may have been funnier than I already was, but I was also obnoxious. I was clumsy as a toddler- I’ve spilled drinks in my purse, almost fallen on sidewalks, and I even fell off a barstool at my own birthday celebration. That was awful, and that story can be found in my guest blog for savvyesposito.

I also affected my kids — Cameron swears he will never drink, and I’m not sure if his siblings will follow his example. They saw me hungover, tired and cranky. They had to see me the morning after I fell off the barstool and that’s not something a kid should see. I’m a much better mom, wife and person. I went into therapy in October 2015 and my therapist has been thrilled to see me stop drinking.

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It’s hard, I won’t lie. I have been stressed. I have had fights with my husband, even though we are working on things. I’ve had bad days with my kids. I’ve had to face life minus a coping skill. I’ve replaced it with coloring books, meditating, and now I’m reading 12 step literature. I’m doing a lot better with facing my feelings and dealing with them.

Staying sober is possible. It just requires taking life one day at a time.

 

Wrae is a parenting/mental health blogger in Louisville, KY. She has a BA in Clinical Psychology, and a decade in mental health work experience.

When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, true crime podcasts, and movies. She is married and has three children.

Instagram: @shortstackblogs
Email: wraemsanders@gmail.com

This post has been edited for this audience, however originally appeared on WraeMeredithBlogs.

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