The last couple of weeks have been rough. Like real rough. I have been having some problems in my job, none of which I can or want to go into, thoughts of relapse, and a general feeling drowning and in completely over my head. This winter has been wreaking havoc on my mental health. I am sick of being cold, I don't want to run in the cold, I don't want to spend 45 minutes getting to the gym to run on a treadmill that I hate. So I sleep for days, eat everything I can get my hands on, and get further into my depression. I have been rapid cycling in my bi-polar. A couple days feeling like I am failing and can't get out of bed followed by a week of feeling like I can take on the world, nothing can touch me, and I can't fail at anything I try.
R asked me "why do you think you're at emotional rock bottom??? You're worse than you were when you were using?" and the answer was yes. When I was using, I didn't give a fuck. I would get stressed about not being able to pay my bills, how shitty of a parent I was, or the fact that my life was rapidly falling apart, but I would drink about it and not care. I flunked out of college, but I made the excuse, no one can work full time, go to school, and raise a kid, it's not possible. In reality, I chose to drink over going to school. When I was in the pit of my addiction, I would never attempt to start anything like Beer City Recovery so I would have never had this stress. So I really do feel like, yes this is my emotional rock bottom.
I have been taking my meds and practicing self-care as much as I can. Even if it is just brushing my teeth or changing out of my pajamas. It is a strange feeling when one part of your brain is telling you your thoughts are completely irrational and not real at all, but you just can NOT stop them from coming.
I have been looking for jobs in the recovery field and have come to a scary conclusion. I have to go back to school. A lot of the professions I want require the MCBAP certification I am working on getting AND a bachelors in social work. I just won't be able to advance in this field without it, I applied to a GVSU and FAFSA to get financial aid. The issue is, I hate school, or I think I do. The only two times I have given it the old' college try I was wasted, hungover, and didn't know how to study in those states. Hopefully, this time around I can have the clarity and desire to do this instead of bumbling around, dropping classes, or just straight flunking out.
I am leaning hard on my support system and letting them support me. My friend A has sent me two books that I am blowing through, my friend R has been giving me the tough love, B has been super supportive and giving me all the affirmation I need, and J has been snuggly, sweet, and understanding. I am beyond thankful for them and all my other friends. I want people to know that recovery is hard. 1, 2, 5 years down the road, you will still struggle. Life is a struggle. You have to focus and hold on for dear life to the genuine and positive things in your life. Let them be the life raft when you feel like you just can't make it sober another day. Let your support system love you. Let them do the things they want to show you they love you. Stop saying "I'm fine" when you all know your not. I'm just surviving is an acceptable answer when someone asks you how you are doing.
love you/stay safe
you dudes rock
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:
Russell Brand has been very open about his recovery. His take on the 12 steps is a breath of fresh air on an age old program that has helped millions.
Warning that there is strong language. Beware of the f-bombs.
I don’t have a problem.
So and so drinks WAY more than me.
I don’t drink every night.
I can quit whenever I want.
These are all the lies and half truths I told myself on a daily basis when I was drinking. I would go out and get “Nanc drunk” (yes my name was/is used as a measurement of drunkenness), probably drive home, not remember a good portion of the night, and wake up wretchedly hung over. I would then sleep all day, ignoring the mountain of adulting and my kid for a day or so while I recuperated. It was an endless cycle. Oh sure I didn’t drink every day, in fact I went 2-3 days a week and didn't drink. Those were my days off. Every shift I worked I would find myself posted up at the bar after for “just one drink”. Well, “just one drink” turned into 4 or 5 drinks, turned into a westside dive bar, turned into another blacked out night and more reckless behavior.
I had gone to a few AA meetings on the really hungover days. Days that I woke up still drunk and didn't know how I was going to make it to work at 4pm. Days that my son at cereal and crackers for dinner because I was too hungover or drunk or not home to make him food. And it worked, for awhile, I would stay sober for a week or so but I would always convince myself that I was “better”. That I could “handle my alcohol” this time. And I would, for a few days. But I would always slip back into the weekly binge drinking and endless hangovers. Even after I ended up in the hospital with liver pain and getting saline bags for severe dehydration I didn't quit.
In January after a night of work I ended up getting behind the wheel after closing down the bar. The powers that be saw fit that I didn't get too hurt that night, but I landed myself into some serious legal troubles. While being on “forced sobriety” I had to basically relearn how to live my life. It was a shock to see just how much of my life revolved around alcohol and drinking and being hungover.
Right now I am learning how to be social and stay sober at the same time. In the beginning I secluded myself, went to work and home and cut off a lot of people in my life. Now I am trying to live my life as normally as possible, or what my new normal is. I hang out with friends, have bonfires, go to concerts, and do everything I used to, just without alcohol.
Coming out of the alcohol cloud was a rude awakening for me. I took a long hard look at my own life and what was going on in the industry I had grown up in. The normalcy of binge drinking and reckless behavior was terrifying. It was like we didn’t know how to function without alcohol. Every activity that we did, the beach, disc golf, bonfires, EVERYTHING included alcohol. And the number of times I witnessed people I cared about get behind the wheel after having a few too many was terrifying. This realization was how Beer City Recovery was born. In an effort to find people in the industry who might be worried about their drinking/drug habits and bring them together in a safe place to talk about them and work through them to find a solution. Like minded people with like problems talking and brainstorming on how to solve them.
A lot of people have asked me if I will start drinking again when I am “legally” allowed to. When I first quit drinking he answer was a resounding YES! Now, the longer I go and the better I feel and the clearer my head gets makes me take stock in my life. I personally have proved time and time again to myself and others that I can not drink “normally”. I am an all or nothing kinda gal.
By being open about my problems and recovery I hope I can inspire people to get help if they have been thinking about it. Your life isn't over you can get help.