While that might not be a huge deal for some, it's a really big deal for me.
I started out partying like everyone else. I even handled it well for quite a few years. It was social, or used for the occasional stress relief. Until that stress became fear, then it became heartbreak. If the stress, fear, and heartbreak stopped there, I would've probably still be fine.
My best friend died suddenly in a car accident, my first real relationship crumbled after a cancer diagnosis, and I moved with my young Son across the country. I found a new set of friends that liked to numb their pain as well, and it fit like a glove.
Fast forward, another failed relationship and two more Children I struggled to find footing as a single Mom and reeling from divorce I started working at bars to pay the bills. It wasn't a great idea looking back. It was a lot of fun, it paid the bills, I met the love of my life, but it was taking over.
I'm not sure what the final straw was that pushed me over the edge, but I checked out and really leaned on alcohol somewhere between my Son's mental health struggles and my Dad's death. It had a choke hold on me.
In 2014 I got ANOTHER DUI. This would be my second. My family wouldn't take my calls, my boyfriend had enough and I had to ask my sister to get my car out of impound. This was Easter Weekend.
You would think that was enough...nope!
I moved out of Montana. My home, the place I had spend 15 years trying so hard to get back to, just to ruin it. I had to leave.
I moved to Williston, ND with my boyfriend. We'd never lived together before, and when I came over here, I started new. I stopped drinking for a while, but it slowly creeped back in. Williston would prove to be no different. Possibly worse!
My life in Williston wasn't sad, it wasn't gloomy, the sun shines a lot here, and it kind of made me happier. I started to realize I had some big problems, I just didn't know where to start. I didn't know how to quit, and I was really an alcoholic.
It was another fight, another tense morning because I'd been out all night drinking. But, this time it was really different. He wanted me out. I had hurt him so bad, frustrated him to the point he didn't want me anymore. I wasn't worth the constant worry. He loved me so much he couldn't watch me kill myself.
I had to stare at myself, really look deep. I hated myself. I went to the store I bought a six pack of pints and drank them one by one, no tears, no drama. I just drank.
I didn't wake up with a clear head and the ambition to quit drinking. I made the decision that I couldn't do this anymore, but it didn't settle that easy. It was hands down the hardest thing I've ever done. There's absolutely no way I could EVER do it again. That's what keeps me sober.
I wanted to die. The withdrawals were so bad, I couldn't sleep. My head felt like it would cave in. I wanted to rip every piece of me apart.
The drive home from work was interesting sometimes.
Slowly I began to see daylight again.
I learned to ride a motorcycle.
I had really deep conversations and told my boyfriend things I've never told another soul.
He watched me barely able to get out of bed, and when I couldn't he laid there with me.
He loved me for both of us for so long, and I knew it.
I didn't trust him. We had been dating for 5 or 6 years by this point and I was just getting to know him.
I didn't trust him or get to know him, because I didn't trust or know myself.
The days passed, and so did the months.
I didn't think about alcohol as much and the fog started to lift. I saw things I missed. Started to feel emotions again (whether I liked it or not) but now was realizing the years of abuse I had put myself through had consequences.
I felt bad!
I felt like I was dying.
My body screamed in pain, my mind....same! I felt like I was on fire from the inside.
Three doctors later, still no diagnosis, but for some reason I got a hysterectomy.
It's a bit of a blur, but I didn't know how to take care of myself and wanted a Doctor to tell me what was wrong. They couldn't find anything, so they started ripping things out.
After little relief and now down a uterus, I needed a change!
When you quit drinking and go through the toughest thing you can imagine, and come out the other side, you get this superiority complex and a curiosity about life that's a bit insatiable.
So, I started studying and experimenting with my diet. I started feeling a bit better. I started walking my dogs everyday for MILES! I'd cry and listen to music I'd never heard before, and podcasts from holistic doctors and neuroscientists...and of course all those crazy Seals and badass guys on Rogan. For the first time in I don't know how long, I felt good, better than good, great! My mind was clear, I could actually control my thoughts and feelings. WHAT? That's possible????
Good Lord! What else have I missed?
Then the world shut down.
I found out who I was.
Now I know why I felt like a person who had no control. I didn't know who I was, I didn't know what I wanted. I had been living in panic mode for 20 years!
I had taken care of every single person in my life except me.
I didn't even know how.
Well, now I had nothing but time. I learned during 2020 that I love being home. I love being outside, I love gardening, and plants. My indoor plant collection started and is still growing, I've got 42 indoor plants now, and working on my urban homestead!
I love art! I always have! I went to college in New York for Advertising and Commercial Art. I was once very good. My skills are coming back quickly, and I've branched out into different mediums that I love.
I learned so much about my body and how to nourish it, I went back to school. I am a certified Integrated Nutrition Health Coach and I couldn't imagine helping in any other way.
Now, I know I'm not a super hero, or anyone to look up to, but I've been through a lot in this life. This story doesn't even scratch the surface.
Even if you know me, you probably still don't.
I'm very introverted but I love to connect and communicate. I like to say I'm the most extroverted introvert ever.
While I'm still learning about myself, and I hope that never changes, I'm very secure in who I am. My core values have never changed, even in my lowest times.
Guilt and Shame are killers of the soul. They have no place in my day to day life. While these guys are markers that keep me humble, I don't hang with them for too long. I let them have their moment, but let them go about their day quickly.
It kept me in a really bad downward spiral for so long, it's taken years to stop the vertigo.
Telling my story isn't easy, but every time I do, those monsters get smaller.
If you have a monster that takes up too much space and you'd like to talk about it, I am here on this rock to help. I was put through hell to help others, I just know it.
If you've stuck around this long, Thank you!
If you're stuck, don't know where to start....start with me. Start a conversation. Fear is a signal that something needs to change. Let it change!