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My Family Was in Crisis and I Wanted to Use

My daughter was quarantined at birth. Then my husband had a stroke. It felt like the world was ending and I really wanted to use.

On November 28th, one hour before Thanksgiving dinner, my water broke and my placenta tore. I was rushed to labor and delivery and had an emergency C-section. At 6:52 PM, my beautiful miracle, Liliana Anne, was born. She was a month early, but she was healthy and safe, or so I thought.

Apparently, sometime during my five-day hospital stay, my baby and I came in contact with someone who had Pertussis (whooping cough). I was never offered the DTap shot, so I didn’t get the booster.

When my nine-day-old “Lil Bean” started coughing, I got worried. I took her to her doctor and then to the ER the following day. Eventually, they transported us to Children’s Hospital almost 100 miles away from our home, and placed her in the PICU.

She was put on oxygen, IVs, and medicine. The Center For Disease Control quarantined us both for six days.

All I could do for six days was watch my baby fight to live, and pray that her next breath wouldn’t be her last. The doctors warned us not to get our hopes up that she would survive. She was in extremely critical condition, and her chances were not good. One week later, my chances weren’t good either. While coughing, I cracked, broke, and ripped the cartilage between my ribs. Then I split my C-section incision and had to have it re-sutured.

The pain was unbearable.

Did I think about using? You bet your ass I did. Some nights I cried myself to sleep with the urge to go to the ER and beg them for something, ANYTHING, to ease my pain. I thought about drinking until passing out just to numb myself, but I knew I couldn’t. I was still struggling to breastfeed, and I didn’t want to hurt my baby, so I didn’t cave. I thought about it almost minute to minute, but I didn’t give in. I did a lot of praying and calling, and crying.

And I fought the urge.

For weeks, I would watch her get better then take a turn for the worse again. I couldn’t keep anything down because of the coughing, so I became dehydrated and started losing more weight. Eventually, I lost the ability to breastfeed because I was so sick. This alone damn near drove me mad! On top of being sick, I was a failure. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right! I had managed to nurse Lil Bean for five weeks and, that in itself, felt like miracle!

We spent Christmas in the ICU. Then we spent New Year’s Day in the ICU. I spent a lot of time crying and making deals with my higher power to get us healthy. We came home after five weeks because, even though we both still had a cough, it was manageable. We both now have immunity to pertussis and will most likely never catch it again, but I won’t take any chances. We’re all immunized in this home.

Unfortunately, our story does not end there. Nine days after coming home, my significant other called me on his lunch break, like he always did. He said his right arm was as if it had fallen asleep, and it was moving into his leg. Fifteen minutes later, he called me back and said it was now in his face. I begged him to leave work and go to the ER, so he did. The ER thought it might be caused by the terrible headaches he had or even a pulled muscle. The next morning, he woke up and couldn’t move, walk or talk. I called EMS and they took him back to the ER. It was then that we found out, at the age of 46, he suffered a right side partial paralysis stroke.

My first thought was, “Man, do I ever need a drink!” But I resisted. Again.

He spent five days in ICU and is home now. He has constant appointments and therapy and has since lost his job. I only get SSI, so I don’t know what we’re going to do. The thought of losing my house and kids is too much to bear, but I will keep going as long as I can. Sometimes I still think to myself, “I want that drink! Or maybe a pill!” Then Lil Bean wakes up and I realize she will be the only one getting a bottle tonight.

Lil Bean and I are finally on the mend and her Daddy is slowly recovering. It will be a long road for the three of us—months for me and Lil Bean and probably years for her Daddy—but we all are alive and have been given a second chance at life. That’s all that matters.

When I was asked to write this, I didn’t know why anyone would want to hear about this messed up part of my life. Then it hit me: I want to hear it. I want to read it. I deserve to let out a HUGE sigh of relief knowing that I did all this, I went through all this, and not once did I put something in my body to make me feel numb. I’ve faced a lot of fears and dealt with a lot of challenges over the last year, but I have not picked up a thing. So, please remember, whatever comes your way, you can do it. You never need to use or drink ever again.

I am living proof that as long as you believe in yourself, anything is possible – even sobriety.

We would like to thank Dianne for submitting this brave and amazingly inspirational post. She is a recovering addict and alcoholic with four years of sobriety.

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  1. I love you beyond the moon! Thank you for sharing your story

  2. I hope you realize what an inspiration you are and will be to many, many who read this post. That, my friend, is a lot to go through and you have done it. You got through it, are still getting through it without picking up! That is powerful and that is huge!
    I will pray for you and your family. You just keep doing the next right thing!

  3. Wow, Dianne. Wow. Sending you a gigantic hug, full of super healing and comforting mojo vibes. Good for you. Talk about tough times!!! And can you imagine how much more awful it would have been in you WERE drinking/using? The strength and humility, sobriety and love and devotion you have shown in the face of such adversity shows us so much about your enormous abilities. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, strength and hope. May the road rise up to meet you one step at a time.

  4. Wow. So powerful. Thank you for sharing, Dianne!! Sending you lots of hugs and love and respect!

  5. You are a very courageous woman. To be able to face so many trials and tribulations and to do it sober is such an amazing defeat!! Your strength shines in your story and I have such admiration in your bravery!! My second Mom is part of a very large prayer circle group and I will ask them to pray for you and your family!! The power of prayer is such a blessing and you so deserve it!! Lots of love!!

  6. Thank you for sharing this story of hope, strength, determination, and love. It opens up my heart and my mind that we don’t ever need to pick up again. That those hard times are making us stronger and an inspiration to others! I hope of in ever faced with even a quarter of what you’ve had to face that I can find the courage and strength you have!! Your a true inspiration Momma!! Hugs and love to you

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