When you pull yourself out of the trenches

Not too long ago, I spent my days drinking and looking up rehabs.

How’s that for a great first line to a post?

It’s true though. I was at the point where I had gotten myself so physically addicted to alcohol that I thought, and I wasn’t wrong, that I would actually die if I stopped drinking.

I was starting to go through withdrawals after 2-3 hours of not having a drink. Alcohol is one of the more dangerous things to detox from, and if done incorrectly, can absolutely kill you.

This was probably 1 year to 18 months ago at its worst. And it went on for a while.

But, I did the work, and after being stuck in this dark, horrible place for years…I pulled myself out of it. My therapist didn’t give up on me, my husband stayed with me and didn’t abandon me, and slowly but surely…I got to a place where I got through the daytime withdrawals. With a ton of support (and honestly, not NEARLY enough support), I was able to take my drinking from starting at 7am to a much more “reasonable” hour of 7pm.

I was in such a miserable place. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t really drinking if it was just a leftover drink from last night (that I very intentionally made myself the night before). Or, that if it wasn’t hard liquor, if it was just spiked coffee, if it was just a seltzer…those things didn’t really count.

At my worst, I would start drinking before 7am. Finish my drink from the night before, make a spiked coffee before 8, have some vodka by 10, noon at the latest…and then some seltzers here and there when I “needed” them.

When I say I was in an ugly place, I mean it. This phase lasted for a while. Longer than I’d like to admit. Probably a good 2 years or so.

Drinking has always been a problem for me, since I was like 15. But those few years, where drinking was just…an all day event…they were, by far, the worst.

I was going through a large bottle of very high proof alcohol in 5-6 days. We’d buy 3 bottles every week just so we didn’t have to always go back to the liquor store to keep getting more.

I kept all of this hidden and a secret for as long as I could. I didn’t want anyone to know. My husband was in the dark, and my therapist slowly became aware of how bad it was when I was already in too deep.

I went to therapy not sober too. At first, she didn’t know about it. But then she did. I would never, ever drive drunk, and I planned it out strategically. Again, to justify it. Get there early, drink in the parking lot, sit in therapy for 2 hours, then go home and drink more.

It was a brutal, vicious cycle.

I was numbing the pain from so many things. This time period encompassed last summer, when I had just gotten raped and sexually assaulted a significant number of times by a person who was very close to me. My drinking was already bad enough, and that made it so much worse.

I had to drink to survive. Physically and emotionally, I was bound. And alcohol wouldn’t let me go so easily.

When I would talk about getting sober, I would talk about it as something that I wanted to want. “I want to want to get sober”. But I didn’t want to stop drinking. I didn’t want to let go.

I knew I didn’t have the willpower to stop on my own. But I got myself to the point where I could say that I wanted to be sober, instead of wanting to want to be. If that makes sense.

I wanted to get sober, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to unless something changed. I also knew that I desperately wanted to get pregnant again, my heart didn’t feel done growing my family. So, we planned it out. And I did the work to get myself to a point of success, so that if and when I did get pregnant, I’d be able to stop immediately. Which is exactly what ended up happening.

You might be reading this and think that I’m a horrible, awful person…and you know what? Sometimes I agree with you. Sometimes I feel that way about myself.

But I’ve also overcome so much, and gotten myself to a much better place, to where I’ve stayed sober for the past 27ish weeks. I did that on my own, with nothing but pure willpower and grit.

I don’t know what my life looks like in another few months. When I got sober, I did it because I wanted this baby. I knew I could do it, and I knew I would do it.

But I didn’t do it with the intention of “goodbye, forever”. I more like said “see you later, we’ll see how this goes”.

The wounds that drove the drinking are still there, and still bleeding. The trauma is still there. This pain hasn’t stopped, it hasn’t gone anywhere. And truthfully, to an extent…drinking works to stop the pain. Yes, it causes it’s own pain very clearly, but it also drowns some out.

I didn’t get sober for me. I did it for my baby, because I loved him even more than I loved myself from before he was even here. And once our systems are no longer attached, once he’s no longer physically dependent on me like he is now…it is something that I worry about.

I still have a lot of work to do is sobriety is something that I want to actually maintain. And that work is scary and hard to do, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do it.

But I’m going to try. I want to do better, and I never want to go back to that place again.

That place was scary and terrible, and that isn’t the life I want for myself.

If I never go there again, it’ll be too soon.

7 thoughts on “When you pull yourself out of the trenches”

  1. Sobriety takes courage. And work. I used to start my day, at 5 am, drinking too. I am 7 years sober and it hasn’t been the best seven years but it’s paid off. It tookmw time to even get sober. I began in 2012 and have a sobriety date in 2015. To stay sober you have to do it for yourself. I believe in you!!

    1. You definitely have to do it for yourself. I don’t even really consider myself “sober” now, because I didn’t do it for myself. I did it because I wanted to get pregnant, and now I’m doing it because I have to. I think it will be different once the choice is actually mine, not something I feel I HAVE to do.
      Congrats on your 7 years! I know it takes a lot to get there. Even to get to this point, it took me a loooong time.

  2. Your voice gets stronger each and every time you write about what you want for your life. (There is also a quiet calm in this post that I think you should be extremely proud of.) It takes a lot of self-reflection — and quite a few missteps here and there — to obtain physical sobriety; and then even more of the same to obtain emotional sobriety… but you have what it take, Ms. Alana. Of that, I have no doubt. 💜

    1. I’m definitely trying. I’ll keep trying for as long as I can. I think it just scares me to think of where I was and how everything got so bad. Even if I fail, I hope it doesn’t ever get to be that bad again.

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