Never in a million years did I think that I'd ever be writing about my sobriety. I've had several friends and as many strangers message me about their struggles, asking for advice and sometimes just needing to type out their thoughts so they don't go crazy. I share what I know, what's worked for me. It's not the traditional AA/NA story, which is why I think a lot of people can connect with my story. It seems like there are more and more people that want to get sober, but aren't looking to sit in meetings where they tell war stories and feel pressured to find Jesus. Alcoholics Anonymous works for some people, and we have to do whatever works for us to get and stay clean. But that isn't my story.
They say that marijuana is the gateway drug, but for me it all started with cigarettes. I remember stealing a smoke from my aunt's pack when I was a kid during visitation at my Part Time Dad's house, every other weekend and sometimes dinner on Wednesday's. I thought she looked so cool, her sophisticated New 100's dangling from her hand. Those were popular back then. She looked very glamorous, like a movie star, and what little girl doesn't want to be a movie star? By sixth grade I was buying packs and sneaking smokes every chance I could get.
There was alcohol in my Dad's house, and sometimes I'd even make drinks during dinner parties for everyone. Gin and tonic with a lime? No problem. Except the problem was that I was nine.
In my Full Time house, there was no booze (that's what my mom always called it, boooooze), no drugs, no cigarettes. It just wasn't part of our lives. I've never, to this day, seen my parents drink any alcohol. Ever. So when I was expelled for possession of marijuana my freshman year of high school, to say that shit hit the fan is a severe understatement. It was one of the times that I was legitimately scared for my life. (Skydiving was one of the other times.) I thought when my mom drove me to the back parking lot of the Safeway that she was going to beat the living shit out of me and nobody was going to hear me scream. Seriously. I had one hand on the door handle and was praying to God that I'd be able to outrun her. Little did I know that she was gathering boxes to pack up EVERYTHING that I owned, clothes, CD's, pictures, papers, trophies, anything that was in a drawer or my closet, and put into storage. I'm surprised I had sheets left on my bed. Calls to boarding schools were made and plans to ship me off to school were underway. Thank you baby Jesus we were poor and they couldn't afford it. (However, this is one of the many times that I look back on my life and think, I wonder how different my life would have been had this gone a different way?)
My mom might read this someday, so I don't need to go into detail about how it all happened, (that'll be in my book in a few years), but my life basically spiraled out of control after that. Even though I'd been caught with pot, I'd never even smoked it. In fact, that was the weed we were going to smoke for my first time, and I was such an idiot non-drug user that I got caught before I even had a chance to smoke it!! Talk about a rookie!! But when you hear from the adults and kids around you that you're a loser, a stoner, a fuck up, you really do start to believe them. And I figured they already thought I was druggie, I may as well see what they were all talking about. I was fourteen.
You name it, I probably tried it. Again, details aren't important. I don't want to get into war stories of smoking this or that, taking acid at school, passing out at parties, or at bus stops, or on the bus, or in my car. The scars on my body from having a seizure when I took too much nitruos at a party when I was 17. The thousands of dollars (and brain cells) I spent on drugs and alcohol. The close calls with parents, cops and probably even death. I don't need to go into every detail to let you know that I was fucked up. My drug of choice was whatever you had, and call your dealer because we're going to need more of whatever you can get.
Like most people who can hold down jobs, have a nice car, live on my own, quit using for a while (but NOT in recovery, there's a difference) and maintain a successful career, I didn't think I had a problem. I wasn't on the streets, begging for money, cracked out or sucking dick for one more hit. I was fine. I even went to school to be a Drug and Alcohol Counselor when I wasn't using anymore!! (I know, holy shit!!) I taught classes, counseled teens and women, developed Alcohol and Drug School curriculum for the school districts. But I wasn't done using yet. So at 25 I left my career as a counselor, started working at a nightclub and spiraled back out of control for another nine years. And I was only fired from one job in that whole time!! See, not a loser!
And then the day came, when I was 34 (ughhh) that I literally just fucking GOT IT. I was drunk, looking at all of the other drunk people who weren't talking to me, feeling like a fucking loser. At that moment I realized that I'd spent more than half of my life, surrounding myself with people that I didn't even like, taking things that made me feel like complete shit about myself, so that these stupid people would like me. So I could be 'more of myself', let loose, have fun, be the life of the party. Woo hooooo!!! Who wants to see my tits???!!
I wish I could say that I packed my shit up that day and left the bar and that was that, but it actually took me a few more times of getting black out drunk before I decided enough was enough. I mean come on. How am I supposed to call myself an adult when I'm passed out at the bus stop on a Sunday night when the buses don't even run on Sunday's?
My sober birthday is October 7, 2013. The day I decided that I was done. As they say in AA, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I started with a 30 day 'break'. That's what alcoholics like to do just to prove to ourselves and family that we're not alcoholics. " I can quit for 30 days, watch!! I'll show you!" The difference between this break and all of the others is that I never had the intention of going back out this time. I knew that if I was ever going to reach my goals, plan for my future, and have a successful relationship, that my drug and alcohol use had to stop RIGHT NOW. October 7, 2013 is the day that I took control and got my life back.