Recovery Spotlight: Emily S

My name is Emily and I’m an alcoholic.
If anyone would have told me that statement would come out of my mouth when I was a kid, I would have never believed it. I grew up on farm in the middle of the country. I had the best childhood. I was free. I played outside from sun up until sun down. My parents were, and still are, happily married. We didn’t have cable or internet until I was a teenager and even then…the cable consisted of maybe 40 channels that came via satellite that was as big as my dad’s Bronco and the internet was dial up that made it impossible to sneak onto because it made the worst noise possible when connecting. I had chores. Chores that consisted of mowing the grass, vacuuming the swimming pool and cleaning the entire house. At the end of the week, I made $20. Sometimes more if my older brother held up his end of the deal when he said he’d pay me to do his. Our family sat at the dining room table every night for dinner. Dinner that my mom or dad cooked because both had jobs, and both split the housework. I had a bedtime. I had a curfew. I got grounded. Looking back on it, my childhood was amazing. I was taught responsibility and consequences. My mother raised me to basically “do no harm, but take no shit”. She raised me to be strong. To stand my ground. To be anything I want to be and be the best I can be at it. With all that being said…here I am. Writing my story about being an alcoholic. There really isn’t any one particular event that occurred in my life that I can blame for my alcoholism. There’s several shitty things that happened to me and that I completely brought on myself that could have some effect on my addiction. What I do know, is that depression played a key role in my addiction. Why was I depressed? I don’t know. I played sports all growing up. I was really good at it. I was smart. I got good grades. I had two scholarships for college that I turned down. I got pregnant when I was 19. Looking back on it now…his father and I made that decision when we were drunk. We thought having a baby would make us work. And bam…I got pregnant. We eventually broke up. I turned 21. My 21st birthday, I was the designated driver. Drinking wasn’t that important to me. I had a son to raise and I just wasn’t into it. When I was 22, I bought my own home. It was 30 minutes away from my family and in a town where I knew no one. In my mind, it was my way of spreading my wings, with my son…far enough away where I was still close, but could still fuel my independence. So, as I was raising my son, working a good job and paying a mortgage, all of my friends were in college…partying…having fun…living a life I didn’t know. I felt alone. Bitter. Unwanted. Lost. Confused. I started going out more and more. I didn’t have a drinking problem. I could drink with all my friends and still be a mom and hold a job and pay my bills. A few months of that and I started missing work. Missing bills. Driving with one eye open. Blacking out. Making bad decisions. Fast forward a few years later and I ended up going through several jobs. All of which I just stopped going to because I was hungover. My house was foreclosed. I filed bankruptcy. I was failing…but my stubborn hard-headed attitude wouldn’t take a step back and see that it was me doing this to myself. I blamed everything and everyone but me. I drank more. I drank because I need a release. Everyone else was as doing it. I was fine. I drank because I was happy. I drank because I was sad. I drank because it’s what you do when you’re young. Fast forward a few more years later and I’m 29 years old. Pregnant with my daughter and about to open my own store. Living my dream. I was engaged. I had a family. On the outside… everything looked good. Behind closed doors, not so much. By this time, drinking was natural to me. It’s what I did. On any occasion. I would go out…have a good time…sometimes remember the night…sometimes not. It was normal. It’s what you did. The 9 months I was pregnant with my daughter had been the longest sober time I had since I was pregnant with my son 9 years prior. Was I concerned about my drinking? Nope. My daughter was born, my store was up and running and her father and I and our kids from previous relationships were one big happy family. Then came reality. The pressure of everything. Me trying to wear 10 different hats. Me trying to run my dream business, be a mom, be a partner, be a housewife and a working parent. It took its toll. I was sad. Inside I was broken. I was overwhelmed. I was lost. My relationship was in the dirt. The fighting and the abuse left me numb. Did I show it? No. I was raised to be strong. I was raised to deal with it. So instead of showing any normal, rational thinking and emotion at this point in life….my way of asking for help was going and buying a bottle of vodka. And that’s when it got bad. I had a bottle of vodka on me at all times. Hiding in arms reach. In my truck, in the bathroom closet, in my purse, in my soda can. It was fine. I had it under control. Drinking took the edge off. Drinking helped me manage everything I was doing. Drinking kept all my hats on my head. When it was all said and done, I was up to 2 bottles of vodka a day. Not the small ones. The big ones. The ones that fit in the console of your truck…the ones that were too big to stay in a brown paper bag. Fast forward a year later, I walked away from my dream, I walked away from my relationship, my home, my family. I was living in my truck. Still portraying an image of a girl who was tough. Strong. Knew what she was doing. I lost everything in my life and still couldn’t figure out that I was choosing alcohol over everything. It was my fault. It was this damn addiction. I was sick. I wanted to kill myself every day. I thought about different ways of doing it. I attempted twice. I justified it by saying that I obviously didn’t want to because I don’t half ass anything. I was tough. I was sick. I was gone.

Fast forward 2 years later. After becoming a soulless breathing corpse, I threw in the towel. I gave up. I knew I need to go somewhere and just stay there. Until I was better. Or I was going to leave my kids without a mom and I just couldn’t do that. As disgusting as I was about myself…I still had enough sense to know that my kids need me. I checked into rehab. First the psych ward…. then rehab. It saved my life. I embraced it. It took a few weeks, but something happened to me in there. I was able to let go of whatever was smothering my soul. I started to come back to life. Today I am 160 days sober. When I left rehab…I told myself that all I wanted to do was help people. I had lived in the dark for so long that I knew the power of a lending hand, an open mind and a loving heart. It was my turn to give back. To show others who are suffering that there is a way out. I got a job at a nursing home and I’ve never felt so much love for what I do for a job than I do working there. My soul has been reincarnated. The little farm girl who was happy and free is coming back out of me every day. My kids are with me. My kids are happy. I’m living with my childhood friend…back out in the country and on the road, I grew up on. I am happy. I am so annoyingly happy that I can’t help but smile and laugh every day. I’m coming back to life. I’ve been in the dark. I don’t ever want to go back there. And that’s what keeps me sober. That’s what drives me to help other. I can only keep my recovery if I give it away.