Reading other people’s stories helped me immensely in my recovery.
Stories continue to inspire me.
If my story can help one person, than that will be enough.
It will be worth it, to have written down the truth of rock bottom.
I am so scared to share, but if just one person in this whole world gets a nudge from my words and decides to start the process of recovering from their pain, then I don’t give a shit about my insecurities or what the rest of you will think of me.
I am writing this for that one person.
It helps me too.
Here it is.
Here are all the cards that I hold closest to my chest.
I am laying them down face up on the table for all of you to see.
I am crying my eyes out to write it, and I am crying my eyes out to read it.
Please be gentle with your judgement.
The Rock Bottom is the part of my story that is the hardest to share.
I don’t really want to talk about it.
I want to talk about The Rising.
I want to preach about the turnaround, the change, the transformation, the reinvention.
I want to talk about all the beautiful things that I learned and did, once I decided to rise.
However, there would be no rising, if I was already flying at the top.
I had to rise from somewhere.
I had to reach a bottom, to decide up and out, was the only way to go.
The bottom, my bottom, the surrender, the enough/no more, the painful, dark, ugly, worst hole I could be in, was where I was, when I decided it was not working, and I needed to turn around and head in a new direction.
I was in a place I had been in, for too long. It was a place I would die, if I stayed much longer. It was place that pulled me in bit by bit, like quicksand. It was a tricky and gradual pull down.
So sneaky that I didn’t even know it was happening. It happened over a period of time, and not all at once. I was getting sucked in, but I didn’t know it, as it was happening to me.
I was killing myself slowly, as I slipped farther and farther down into the hole.
Parts of me had fallen off and many parts were being chipped away. I needed to remove a lot of pieces so I could fit into this little dark space that I had created.
My self esteem fell off a long time ago, along with my faith. There was not room for those things in this hole. I had to leave them at the top of the slide. Self hatred was slippery and it fit best on the way down. It helped me to slide faster and faster toward the bottom. I started to wear my armor of self hatred everyday.
I had been laid off from 3 sales jobs in a row. Some of which was my fault, most of which was not. I hated all of them anyway. A great reason to drink. Maybe this was a good start to my spiral down.
I was also presented with the honor of my life.
I was asked to do three eulogies in three years.
I will always and forever be grateful for this opportunity.
I used every bit of strength I had to stand in front of large audiences and say words about people I loved and lost.
Two of them were dear friends, my age. They both died from shocking, tragic deaths.
One was my high school prom date and the most beautiful man on earth.
One left my best friend a widow with 4 kids, no job, no life insurance, and no hope.
I will never make sense of this.
The last one was for my Dad, which also came without warning.
My parents were divorced by the time I was two years old. My relationship with my Dad was always complicated, which complicated my relationship with men my whole life.
Daddy issues much? Yes.
My husband had a hard time understanding my grief for a man that wasn’t there for me, in a way he believes, a father should be.
I loved my Dad beyond all reason.
I loved him despite all his faults, and failures.
I loved him despite his shitty and aloof parenting skills.
I know that this not fair to my Mom or my husband who had to pick up so many pieces for my Dad, who couldn’t do his job at parenting me, but it's true.
I had so much pain and I needed to share it. No one wanted to hear it.
If there are two words to describe me, they would be “too much”.
If I am too much when things are going well, can you imagine how much I am when suffering?
I express too much, feel too much, need too much, and talk too much.
I felt the pain of loss too much, even by my own standards.
It is perhaps a consequence for loving too much.
I loved my Dad and my friends with my whole heart.
It stung so bad to lose them. I will always live with that pain.
I isolated myself from almost everyone. I had a lot of anger. I didn’t know what to do with my intense, too much, feelings. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, so I self destructed. I sat on the couch and I drank my pain and my anger. I tried to drown it out by stuffing it down. I tried burying it along with my lost loved ones.
I just drank and drank while trying to get through everyday with a smile on my face for my kids.
Hating my job, disconnecting from my husband, and feeling too much heartbreaking grief, I would look forward to my glass of wine at the end of the day.
It immediately took the edge off of me, being me.
Wine worked like a charm. So I kept doing it.
What became looking forward to a glass of wine every day turned into, holy shit there’s not enough wine. I needed wine and I needed enough. Pro tip: there was never enough. I am too much, need too much.
My tolerance increased and it started to scare me. I started drinking so much that I was blacking out. I was clumsily stumbling up the stairs to bed and becoming a danger to myself. Every day I felt like shit from the poison I had consumed the night before, I thought I was a second away from a dreaded diagnosis that would kill me and would have everything to do with my drinking.
I saw myself in a hospital bed dying, apologizing to my husband and my daughters’ that it was all my fault and I was so sorry. I lived with this fear every second of every day.
I had turned my life into shit and this was it.
This was my whole fucking story.
This is what I would be remembered for.
The only relief from this worry came in a glass of wine, so I took it.
I took this relief.
The cure, unfortunately, was also the poison.
I tried to help myself by going to a therapist. I told her everything. She put me on anti anxiety meds and relieved me when she said I didn’t have to stop drinking. The warnings on the pills said I shouldn’t drink on the meds. She assured me I wasn’t harming much, since I didn’t drive or abuse anyone or anything like that. Surely, she was used to seeing people worse off than me, so she basically she gave me a green light to keep drinking, but also gave me meds for anxiety, that warned don’t take when drinking.
The anxiety was a direct result from drinking. Taking the meds and continuing to drink amplified my problem. I could no longer manage the predictable effects from drinking a specific amount, because strange reactions started to occur.
The meds and the alcohol really did not mix because it fucked with my brain. I was blacking out, sometimes from drinking just a little. I was with my mom one time and I went to the bathroom. When I came out, I didn’t know who she was.
I was with friends, casually day drinking, on a long Memorial Day Weekend. After just a few drinks, I passed out midday in front of friends and family. This was incredibly embarrassing, but when I came to, I wanted more wine. When I woke up the next day, Darin and my Mom pleaded with me to go to rehab. I was really hungover and I didn’t want to deal with this. I didn’t give a shit about what they were saying. I was certain the problem wasn’t my drinking. The problem was obviously them.
That was probably my rock bottom. That should have been my bottom, but it would be 9 more months of self destruction before I would quit.
One time my youngest daughter asked me not to drink so much, so I wouldn’t fall down, after a concert at Red Rocks. I wasn’t drinking that night because I was so fucking hungover from the night before anyway, but it absolutely breaks my heart that she had to worry about this.
This stays in my mind as my rock bottom.
I disappointed my first born over and over again by saying I will just have a few drinks and then accidentally having too much. I will never know the damage I did to the people I love most, and mostly to my precious girl. This is my lowest of lows.
I had done some sobriety stints in the past few years. 70 days sober, then 100 days sober, then 5 months sober (ended in Cabo by an accidental taste of tequila).
The moment I actually quit, I was on a date with my husband.
I was jobless again, and wondering what to do with my life.
He was sick of me.
I was mad at him.
I knew I was losing everything.
I didn’t want this to be my story.
I didn’t want to be in that hospital bed with regret.
So I stopped right in that moment. I left my wine at the table for the first time in my whole life.
I went to bed and I woke up and I knew this was it and it was for good and it was forever.
It was not a sober experiment.
It was me saving myself.
It was me saying whatever happens I never have to feel like this again.
I will die someday and I will die proud of myself until my final breath.
I will die in love with me and my choices.
I will die with so much compassion for myself.
This chapter is done. I turn the page.
This load has been too heavy for me.
I will leave all the drinks and self hatred right here, to rot in this hole.
I will step up and out.
I will stop focusing on how I will die and I will put my energy towards living instead.
Changed behavior is the best apology. These words lit my path out of the hole.
Only my inner circle knew how much I was drinking.
I saved it from most. I didn’t drink and drive.
I didn’t show up at my kids events drunk.
I limited it to being safe at home, alone, or with my best friends and family.
I didn’t exactly lose jobs because of it.
I was never hospitalized. I didn’t do anything illegal. I didn’t physically hurt anyone but me.
This might define me as a gray area drinker.
I did blackout.
I fell down.
I went back on my word.
I disappointed my kids and I tried to hide from my husband.
Is that rock bottom?
It was bad enough for me. I never want to get any lower than that.
You decide your bottom.
You decide when it is bad enough.
You decide when you want to change, and then you surrender.
You admit and you put one shaky foot in front of the other.
You take one step towards changed behavior, it is the best apology.
For your family and mostly for yourself.
Along the way you learn to forgive yourself.
If you want a guide to coach you through it, I’m your girl.
If you think I will feel judgement you gotta be fucking kidding me.
I only feel compassion, because I have been through my own bottom and I live to tell.