Please tell us your story.
Most people who know me would never guess I struggle with alcohol. I’m 32 years old, a wife of an Air Force pilot, mom of three (5, 4, and 2), a professional school counselor, and health advocate. However, those who really know me know just how dark my struggle had become. Growing up, I lived the “American Dream.” I had everything I could have ever wanted materialistically and then some. But what I felt like I didn’t have was my parents’ attention- emotionally. Looking back, I understand, especially now that I am a mom. My parents were going through rough waters with their marriage, as well as tending to my older brother’s mental health (he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 15). They felt like they didn’t have to worry about me- I was a top student, had a solid network of close friends, and loved being active. What they didn’t know is that I always felt empty inside. I had a void that needed to be filled, and I eventually turned to alcohol, drugs, and boys to serve as that filler. Thankfully the drugs and boys dissipated once I married my husband. However, the alcohol tightened up its grip on me and progressively got worse as the years went. Then when I took on the title “Mommy,” the alcohol took over.
How long were you addicted & what? How did it change your life?
My alcohol addiction really rose to the surface for me about eight years ago, when I was 24. I was living in South Korea at the time and would find myself drinking alone in my apartment rather than exploring the country with friends. Something didn’t feel right about the decision, and I started to feel like I was trapped. The progression of my drinking had started as a “just on the weekends” and eventually turned into drinking almost every night. Then when the kids came, day drinking, especially when my husband was on the road, became a fairly regular occurrence. I justified that it “helped the time go by.” I’d drink every weekend, basically from the time I got home from work on Friday until Sunday night. If my husband was gone, I’d drink in the mornings, nap with the kids, and start drinking again. It was a viscous cycle, and I was having to hide all my evidence come Monday morning.
What was the breaking point for you to get clean?
There were a lot of wakeup calls prior to “The Day,” such as being too drunk to serve as a bridesmaid for one of my best friends and being unfaithful to my husband at another wedding. I’d done prior stints of sobriety- the first lasting 100 days and the next lasting eight months. But my true breaking point came this past January while my husband was gone. I had started my usual bender but had also come down with the flu. I thought I could just drink my way through it. On Tuesday, January 24th, day four of my bender, I woke up feeling worse than death but decided vodka and beer would fix it. I decided to keep my kids home from daycare, as I couldn’t drive. For whatever reason I was unable to nap that day with the kids, and realized once they awoke, I wasn’t going to make it through the day alone. I walked over to my neighbor’s door, knocked, and then immediately told her I needed help. I needed to go to detox. By the grace of God, we were able to make arrangements with my daycare provider to pickup my kids and keep them for the night, my husband was able to fly home from his mission, and I was able to spend 24 hours in detox. I was prescribed medication to help with the withdrawal, which I know would have brought about the worst tremors and DTs that I’d probably ever experienced. It was in that short walk to my neighbor’s house that something deep inside me clicked- I was completely ready to break up with the bottle. I was killing myself, putting my children at risk, and affecting all those closest to me. I hated myself, hated who I had become. I was dying in every sense, and on that day, I decided I wanted to start living.
How did you get clean and how long have you been sober for? What was the hardest part for you about recovery and how did you overcome it?
I’m almost seven months sober, and this go-around I’ve been doing it with the support of FB groups, literature, and connecting with amazing sober tribes on Instagram. I’ve also started my own blog as a way to share my story, hold myself accountable, and possibly help another mommy who is struggling. For me, the hardest part of recovery is not looking back. I believe it’s human nature to want to compare ourselves to who we used to be rather than look forward to who we want to be. For the longest time I was comparing myself to the 23-year-old girl who was wild and free rather than being content with the woman I’ve become. Letting go has been hard, but I’ve definitely made peace with myself and my new life.
What is your motivation to stay clean? And how did you do it?
My motivation comes from the simple feeling of how good I feel in the mornings. I love waking up without a hangover, being able to write on a piece of paper without my hand shaking, not seeing my reflection in toilet water, and being able to accomplish so much in a day’s time. Plus, I love how many more memories I’m making with both my children and husband. Drinking stole so many precious moments away because of blackouts or hangovers, but now I can be fully present and store amazing memories. For someone in the same situation as you who wants to get clean, what would you want to tell them? You are not alone! The more I open myself up to others, the more I’m comforted to know there are other women and moms like me. Also, it doesn’t take a rock bottom to know when it’s time to explore what is best for YOU. Sobriety starts out as a selfish venture, for all the right reasons. You are feeling all the feelings, and you’re reconnecting to the person you’ve repressed for so long. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. You, and only you, will know when it’s time to let that true self-love into your life.
What is your life’s moto?
Live authentically! I recently found a quote that supports that mission- “Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful and magical person that you are.” -Unknown I think so many of us feel like we have to mask ourselves- our fears, anxieties, imperfections, oddities, etc. with alcohol or other substances. If we can all just say, “Hey! This is me!” we’d probably all be able to lay off the booze. 🙂
Alison Evans is a military wife, mommy of three (5, 4, and 2), school counselor turned stay-at-home-mom, fitness advocate, blogger, and sober adventurer. You can follow her journey of sobriety, serenity, and much needed strength on her personal blog- www.FromWinetoFine.com, as well as follow her on Instagram @fromwine2fine.
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