Eleven years ago, today, I gave birth to a beautiful, little girl! I remember that day just like it was yesterday, as any first time mom does! I was filled with mixed emotions of excitement and anticipation. And fear. But I was full of hope! Yet, I had no idea that my life would change so dramatically after that day. It is a true miracle that I am still a part of my daughter’s life!
Back then, I was single and living with my daughter’s father, basically out of convenience, because he actually wanted to be a part of his child’s life, which was promising. Nevertheless, it was an uncertain time, and my future looked bleak since we didn’t really get along. I quit drinking and smoking on the day I found out that I was pregnant, and I stayed sober and smoke free during my entire pregnancy. To this day I don’t understand how that was even possible because I drank at least two bottles of wine a night and smoked a pack a day. By his time, I’ve already gone to detox several times and had several legal consequences. I couldn’t keep a job and I had no life outside of drinking. Yet I quit, cold turkey. So… maybe I was not an alcoholic after all!?
But motherhood was quite overwhelming! As a first time mom, and without any help from others, I was exhausted, depressed and lonely. Taking care of a baby was a huge amount of work that I did not expect, nor did I know how to manage. Eventually I decided that I could drink again. I told myself that since I was not an alcoholic, it would be different, I was going to manage it. I started out just drinking occasionally to help with the exhaustion, and depression. With a little alcohol in my system I felt energized, and more capable, and even a more fun mom! But within only about a month of moderating, I was starting to drink every day.
And there were many failed attempts at sobriety.
I truly believed that I was incapable of ever getting sober. I thought that life was horribly unfair and I had lost all hope. I was doomed. There was no way out. This was now my life forever.
Finlay… one morning in April, after a weekend in a blackout, I reached my personal bottom. I was in so much pain and despair. That day I surrendered. Alcohol was no longer working in my life, and there was no reason left for it. I did not want to live this way anymore! It was time to make a change and get sober.
Little by little my broken life was coming back together. I also remained sober despite all the circumstances, and tough times during the dragged out custody battle. And I stayed close and connected to my support network and continued to work to resolve the many issues that I have kept bottled up for many, many years.
Today I am overwhelmed with emotions. It’s been quite a journey! If you have told me then that this is the life that I would be living today, I would have said that you were absolutely crazy!! It’s hard to believe that I have now been sober more than a half of my daughter’s life, and that I get to see her every single day. I seriously have to pinch myself sometimes just to make sure that this is real. Sobriety is a true gift!
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