This is 1 of a 5 part series. Some have been password protected.
I was moving up the ranks in my drinking career when my besties started having babies. While they navigated through raising little humans, I was raising hell on my path of self-destruction. When they complained about the woes of motherhood and nursing babies to sleep, I was nursing hangovers and complained about who wasn’t living up to my expectations.
One time my friend told me she fantasized walking into her backyard, hopping the fence and running away to start a new life because hers as a working mother (and wife too!) was just too hard. I didn’t get it.
Like, at all.
Then, I got sober and had children of my own; and then I got it.
I got it so hard.
2 years ago, I hit another bottom and it was way worse than my last when I was drinking. My daughters were 5 and 3. My life, as I knew it, did not look like I thought it would almost 6 years in recovery. I was unhappy with every single aspect of my life and was desperate for change. I remember driving to work one day and screaming at the top of my lungs to God “HELP MEEEEEEE!! I CAN’T DO THIS!!!!”
I cried a lot. Every. Single. Day. I lost my temper with my daughters constantly and took it out on my husband too. Our marriage was falling apart right before my eyes and he was oblivious. Which made me feel even more crazy. How could he not see, I wondered? I was picking fights left and right, with him and my coworker.
It felt so strangely familiar to how I felt when I was drinking so I didn’t understand – how could I feel this way again and I’m still dry AF? It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was not in recovery at all because had I been doing the things I was taught to do when I first got sober, I wouldn’t feel so helpless, alone and out of control.
Instead, I was going at it alone. I was without a sponsor and had a very small circle of sober friends. I wasn’t going to meetings and I wasn’t being of service in any way, shape or form. As you already know, I also had gotten myself addicted to Adderall but that’s neither here nor there; that only made my bottom worse. Most importantly though, I wasn’t praying.
I knew right then and there that if I didn’t take charge of my situation, I was going to drink. I didn’t believe it when my peers talked about the “relapse before the relapse” but I still listened to what they said to do when that happens and I started praying. I went back to meetings and I started reaching out.
Next thing I knew, I had a sponsor who accepted me and my choices in recovery (that was a miracle!) and was discovering new recovery communities I didn’t know existed outside of the little AA bubble I had put myself in. I seamlessly quit Adderall without any help and managed to close out 2018 with a new lease on life.
At 8 years AF, my emotional rock bottom taught me that I still have a lot of growth to do and it has nothing to do with staying sober and everything to do with me and how I show up as a human being. It became abundantly clear that as long as I remain aware of the following 5 lessons I learned from my emotional rock bottom, I’ll never have to go through one again:
- I’m not just an alcoholic, I’m also an addict and I still have some addictions to overcome. As long as they aren’t booze and Adderall, I’m going to be just fine.
- I am not alone and there are always people out there suffering way more than me. The more I give a shit about other people, the less I focus on myself, the better I feel. Selfless acts of service do a soul good.
- Recovery is so much more than just not drinking or using; I need a program of action to stay somewhat sane. I’ve been taught the tools and it’s my responsibility whether I choose to use them or not.
- I need a community of like-minded people in my corner – and I have chosen the Fellowship of AA. But I’m not here to promote AA, just sharing what works for me.
- I need a Higher Power – and mine is God. The Creator of the Universe, the Master of All Things, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – as long as I turn my will over to Him every day to the best of my ability, I’m good. It’s when I let up on my spiritual connection when things start to go sideways.
I’m grateful for my bottom because it brought me back to the path I never wanted and now never want to get off. It’s been a very transformative 2 years and I’m in a much better place today. But I’m not done. No way – I’ll never be done. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. There’s still work to be done on myself and people to help along the way. I cannot wait to see what the next decade brings.