I am sending in the paperwork to (hopefully) get my license back next Friday. I have been hounding my friends for letters to send with my packet and what they have wrote has made me cry and my heart swell. My son even is writing me a letter 😭I'm not sure if it's allowed but I wrote my own damn letter. Writing and reading this has made me realize just how darn crazy myjourney has been.
I got my first job in a restaurant fresh out of high school. Looking back I can say with complete certainty that is when my drinking problems started. While not full-blown alcoholism it was an issue that caused numerous problems in my life. We would regularly drink during the week, and I would often black out. Binge drinking was considered normal.
After having my son in 2008 and moving to Chicago in 2009, my drinking seemed to be under control. I was able to hold a great job, and life was finally manageable. Upon moving back to Michigan in 2013, my drinking picked up right where it had left off. I was regularly drinking and blacking out more nights than not. My OWI in 2013 wasn't the wake-up call I needed; neither was driving my son to school so hungover I could barely function or getting fired for more than one job. I was drinking 5-6 times a week and managing my hangovers with copious amounts of Adderall. I was slowly killing myself. That lifestyle landed me in the hospital with kidney and liver pain, and a doctor told me if I didn't get my drinking under control I would be dead in 5 years.
It wasn't until 2017 when I made a decision that would rock my world and change my whole life that I realized just how bad my drinking problem had gotten. I chose to get behind the wheel after closing the bar down and drive home. I got hit by a semi, fled the scene, and my son watched me get arrested. I realized my life had spun so far out of control and was completely unmanageable. I did not know who I had become and realized I had lost myself in a haze of alcohol and Adderall. I was an alcoholic.
Sobriety Court brought me to AA and I found myself at the North Club. When opening up about working in a bar and the unique situations in recovery that arose from that I was reprimanded and shunned, told the token “clean people, clean places” and that I didn't stand a chance at recovery unless I quit my job. Met with similar reactions in Life Ring and Smart Recovery I learned to go to meetings, get my slip signed, and never talk about my career choice. It was hard to open up and be honest about my recovery, and I felt I was missing a huge part of the healing process.
I started searching for a group of people in the food/beverage/service industry (FBSI) near me, but sadly none existed. There are less than 20 worldwide. For an industry consistently in the top two fields suffering from addiction, I found this insane. After reaching out to friends in the industry I knew were sober and those who mentioned they had similar issues with traditional recovery groups it became clear Grand Rapids needed a group like this. Beer City Recovery was born. A grassroots movement to help workers in the FBSI suffering from addiction by offering a safe judgment-free zone to talk about the issues they face working in an environment surrounded by their vices.
In 2017 we had our first meeting and continued weekly meetings held in whatever spaces we could get for free. Local bars and restaurants were so supportive donating back rooms, event spaces, and offices to our cause. I quickly realized this was my passion. I was helping people and in turn, supporting myself and my recovery. I continued with AA, but BCR was the driving force behind my recovery. Unfortunately, Sobriety Court would not recognize the meetings as a valid recovery group.
During my time in Sobriety Court, I trained for and obtained my recovery coach certification to further my career path in the recovery community. BCR meetings continued, and I graduated Sobriety Court on March 28, 2018, early and without a single violation. Sobriety Court was one of the hardest things I have ever completed but it changed my life.
I am not the same person I was 2+ years ago. I have changed mentally, physically, and spiritually. I lost 50lbs and gained some serious coping mechanisms, and with therapy and doctors have gotten my mental health under control. I went from having my name used a measurement of drunkness (“Nanc drunk”) to the person who people come to when they think they need help to get into recovery or help them navigate the court system. Most importantly I have become the present parent that my child deserves. On 2/12/19 I submitted paperwork to make BCR a nonprofit. We have big dreams of helping support members of the FBSI and their families through addiction and recovery and create a safe supportive environment for the community at large. In can in all honestly say that making that choice to drive and getting hit by a semi, while was an absolute idiotic choice, was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don't think that without the rigidity of Sobriety Court and the not so gentle shove into recovery that I could have gotten to where I am today. I have no intentions of throwing away the magnificent life I have created in the last two years to drinking or drugs.
BCR was working with a local recovery powerhouse to have our meetings there, giving us some stability and significantly expanded our exposure. I found out today it did not work out. While I am pretty bummed and feel like I am back to square one, I know things will work out. There are other venues, other opportunities.
I am passionate about this group and our mission and will not be deterred by one NO. If I had let the first NO stop me, I would not be where I am now, and I know I can't allow this one slow me down.
BCR will continue pushing forward. With the new chairs who are helping out tremendously, we have some new ideas in mind. All scheduled meetings will go ahead as planned, and we will work on finding permanent housing. Keep a lookout; we have big plans on the horizon.
Guys, I am so excited. The recovery cards I designed came in the mail today! They look so good!
I am stoked to be able to offer you guys a way to say "hey thanks for helping me on my recovery journey" and/or "hey, you are doing a great job". Right now quantities and designs are limited, but look for more in the near future.
Let me know if you have any suggestions, comments, request
love you/be safe
In the last two weeks I have dropped my phone in water 3, THREE! times. Spent 3 days stress eating culminating in me eating an entire package of triple stuffed oreos. Went mildly crazy due to almost 2 complete weeks of snow days for the kiddo and bf. And bungled my taxes.
I also incorporated Beer City Recovery and filed papers to become a nonprofit 😳🤯
Sometimes this seems insane to me. Twoish years ago I was spending two days a week in jail for a month, going insane trying to make it to all my court ordered recovery, probation, and therapy meetings, and barley holding my head above water. The thing that kept me going were BCR meetings (and my babes). I was holding them weekly at that time, and days that people came to meetings made my week. Sometimes no one came to meetings and I would get pretty depressed. But I still showed up becasue I had, and still do have, an overwhelming desire to help people in an industry I grew up in and have grown to love.
I have so many huge dreams for this group and members of the FBSI. A lot of them scare and terrify me. How am I going to raise funds to have set aside to cover the cost of detox, rehab, and therapy sessions for members? How am I going to cover the cost of meeting spaces and printing of new materials? But I have such a strong support group and have plans to meet many more people in the recovery community. The opportunity to apply for grants, score donations from local business and organizations, and always the awesome donations from individuals. I just have to keep my head up, keep grinding, and believe the people in my life when they tell me I can do this.
In 2-4 weeks I will know the fate of BCR. EEK.
My high school boyfriend, the only guy I had every loved, the guy I wanted to marry had just called and told me he slept with my best friends little sister the week prior at his going away party. My roommate suggested we drink about it.
That’s what we did.
We drank about things.
Good nights at work.
Bad nights at work.
You get the picture. Our house was the one that was never locked, always had beer in the fridge, tequila in the freezer, and if you showed up at any time, we were ready to party.
My housemates and I decided to use my misery as an excuse to throw a party, like we needed an excuse. This adorable couple that worked with us stopped by, she had to leave early but he decided to say. I should note I couldn’t remember his name if you put a gun to my head, but I will forever remember her name is Brittany. There was beer. A lot of beer. And tequila. Even more tequila. I remember coming out of my black out sitting on the couch in my room, my roommate saying “I can’t believe you fucked him!”. After noting my look of utter confusion she had to explain to me that I had screwed my friend Brittany's boyfriend with the door open for the whole party to see. I was hysterical. I didn’t remember a thing. How do you have sex! with someone and not remember. I later found the underpants I was wearing stuck between the wall and my bed and burned them like destroying the evidence would somehow make the ordeal less real.
Sadly that was not the first time I wouldn’t remember a sexual encounter. I once came out of a black out mid sex with a bouncer from the club I frequented. I was so disoriented that I just laid there crying until it was over. This was not an individual I would have soberly pursued let alone jumped in the sack with. I have woken up in strangers beds (guys and girls) with not a shred of an idea of what took place the night before. Sometimes fully dressed, more times not.
This all transpired before I was 21. Before I was even legally allowed to consume alcohol.
Binge drinking and blacking out is not part of the college experience. Waking up next to a stranger without your panties and having to go to planned parenthood for a std test and the morning after pill is not part of the college experience. Looking back at sexual encounters and wondering if that might have been date rape is not part of the college experience.
You will never get those memories back. You will never figure out what happened unless the other parties involved give you a play by play. When you are blackout drunk your brain straight up loses the ability to turn short term memories into long term memories.
My story is not unique by any means. 1 in 6 women have been a victim of sexual assault and every 98 SECONDS someone in America will be raped. Half of sexual assaults occur after consumption of alcohol, either by the victim or the perpetrator. Being intoxicated lowers your inhibitions we all know that, but do you realize just how many unsafe situations you put yourself in? You don't think twice about following that strange man and his friends out to the parking lot for a cigarette, joint, or fix. Or letting a stranger help you home becasue you are too intoxicated to get there by yourself.
Events like these didn't end after college for me. They would continue right into my early 30s until I eventually got sober. Ruining relationships and friendships regularly becasue I had no boundaries. I had so much self loathing that if anyone showed me the slightest attention I would throw myself at them. Coming to terms with these events was a huge part of my recovery journey. I cried, got mad, and eventually found peace. They shaped who I was to become after recovery.
If you or someone you know has experienced a sexual assault and need help please call 800-656-HOPE(4673) or visit RAINN for a live online chat.
I have been dreaming big lately about what I want the future of BCR to be. My big, huge, scary dream is to open a small recovery center. Pairing with other groups in the recovery community to create a safe haven for those in recovery and their families. We would feature classes in yoga, art, and writing for adults and kids. If you are in recovery and have a skill you would like to share you would be welcome to hold a class. A place for people to bring their kids and families to hang out and be in a substance free environment.
Keep dreaming those big dreams!
Two night ago I was struck with a dreaded relapse dream. The first few months of my recovery journey that were pretty prevalent. I would say a few a week. I would wake up in a cold sweat, panicked, pissed, and on the verge of tears. At one point I woke up and B had to convince me that I was not currently drunk. I was so convinced by the dream. Once I reached a year I was convinced they would stop. They didn't. They did get less and less frequent. Again at two years I thought they would stop. Well guess what, I guess they didn't. It was just like every relapse dream. I drank, I felt guilty, I was angry. I woke up and wondered why I kept getting these dreams. I got sober, I did the meetings, I did the supporting other people. I DID IT ALL! I also spent 15 years binge drinking and diving head first into a full blown alcohol addiction.
My subconscious has so many memories and experiences of drinking and drugging to draw on. The scary, embarrassing, terrible, and sad things I have done. I don't know if they will ever stop. I do hope that in 15 years I will have made enough sober memories to out number the drunk ones.
How I combat my relapse dreams: