Thursday, January 5, 2012

Anniversary of Renewal and Rejuvenation

I meant to write a post about part 2 of my Texas trip, but something important and disturbing has come up.

First let me tell you that I’ll be celebrating my fourth year anniversary of monumental proportions two weeks from today.  Back on January 18th of 2008 I made a declaration that I was going to live obediently to God’s plan and will for my life.  I didn’t want to live under a jaded false definition of a person who I didn’t want to be anymore.  I wanted a renewal, rejuvenation, a new life.   So I bravely checked myself into rehab to end my 10 year battle of alcoholism. 

With God’s heavenly intercession I was able to figure out a plan to save my life.  Back when I first started my lifestyle of binge drinking I never set out to become addicted.  I liked the way alcohol made me feel, the way I felt when I drank.  I felt strong, confident, beautiful, warm, loved, sassy, tough, invincible, but never in a million years did I think I would fall in-love with alcohol.  I started my love with alcohol shortly after I moved away from home with my fiancé, I was only 18 and he was 20.  We drank for fun, for boredom, for any reason.  I think it helped me to feel more at ease with who I was and what I was experiencing with my first relationship and all the feelings that go with that.  I started to use alcohol as more of a crutch to help get me through the tough times as well.

Eventually my life became a life of misery, despair, and dependency on alcohol.  I couldn’t fathom waking up and not drinking during the evening.  When my hubby tried to persuade me to cut back or sober up for a few days, I vehemently fought against his ideas.  I could come up with every excuse to continue drinking.  I’ve heard of people who smoke and when they do certain house work chores they rewarded themselves with a cigarette.  I guess I looked at my drinking the same way.  When I got done cleaning the kitchen I would have a drink, or if I completely a load of laundry I would take a shot.  I thought it was fun to get a little tipsy before I would go grocery shopping, like it was a fun adventure.  After the kids were born I tried to wait until after they were in bed before I’d start my ritual. 

I will say this; I never was in denial that I had a problem.  I would have many heart-to-heart talks with my hubby and close family that I knew I was in a state of addiction.  I wasn’t ready to quit or didn’t know how to quit.  I remember many mornings waking up and going to a secluded spot near an open body of water and crying out to God to save me.  To help me turn away from this ugly beast that had a hold of me.  Yet all the while I was trying to figure out how I could manage to drink again that evening.  It was a nasty situation that I don’t wish upon my worst enemy.  Feeling trapped and helpless but thinking that I should have the strength to just quit.  Feelings of worthlessness kept floating through my drunken haze, as my husband would ask questions and I would draw blanks on not knowing the answers.  I would frequently black out after a certain time at night or number of drinks in my system only to find out the following morning from my husband what we did during the previous evening. Shame filled every pore of my being. 

There came a moment when I decided that I needed to change my life, probably the moment when I realized I was becoming a problem to my kids.  I knew I needed to get sober but I wasn’t sure how.  I knew the hospital in my town had a unit that helped patients through recovery so I called and made an appointment to see my primary doctor.  I felt the first amount of weight lift from my shoulders when I admitted my problem to my doc.  She was straight up with me and honestly asked what I wanted to do.  I openly told her that I didn’t have the ability to quit cold turkey, but that I wanted to go the route of rehab.  She was pleased and eager to set up the referral. 

Prior to my admittance in the hospital I had heard of miracles of God working in peoples’ lives in many ways but nothing I could say had ever happened to me before. The days leading up to my being admitted I was wishy-washy on my decision not knowing if I should really go through with it.  God had shown me the way, first I was given an autographed copy of the book Raised from The Dead by Frank Turner (must read).  I also seemed to be flooded by advertisements regarding getting help from addictions, or watching commercials on television from Jack and Rexella Van Empee about breaking addictions.  It seemed every time I had a thought not to go through with rehab one of these examples would keep reinforcing me to continue with getting help.

After I was admitted on a Friday and explained to the doctor that I needed to be back to work by Monday, he told me my success rate would be next to zero if I didn’t stay in a longer recovery program.  I knew I was ready to quit and that this step of going through rehab was enough for me.  I had no desire to go back to a life of destruction or disobedience to the Lord. 

So here I am nearly four years sober and loving myself and my life 100 times more than I ever did.  Six months after I was sober I enrolled in college to become a nurse.  I wanted to help others in the world who was suffering like me.  My husband was leery at first with the new me and there were times I didn’t think we’d make it.  Eventually we built trust in one another again and learned to grow together as a couple free from an alcohol base.  Life had new meaning to me and I felt like I could conquer the world. 

I’m not going to lie that I don’t sometimes think of those days of tipping back a few cold ones especially on the warm summer days.  However knowing that the Lord saved my life and transformed me into something new is more rewarding than the temporary fix of alcohol. 

Earlier this week a distant family member died from a drug overdose.  He was only 26 years old and was going to enter rehab shortly after the New Year.  Unfortunately he didn’t make it to the New Year.  I know that feeling of dread knowing that the end of the addiction is near and wanting to have one last binge.  For me this has brought to surface a wave of sadness for his family. He was so young, full of life and possibilities that could have lain ahead of him if he would have gotten clean and sober sooner.  Actually my family was able to see him just days before he died.  While he seemed quiet and kept to himself he seemed loving and kind around us.  I used this situation to teach my kids that people who suffer from addictions to drugs/alcohol come in many shapes and forms.  They don’t always look like the fall down, tripping over themselves, high individuals portrayed on television.

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to continue the road of sobriety one day at a time. 

On a lighter note, a girlfriend of mine who knows my past regarding rehab and getting help took me out to lunch yesterday only to hand me a Christmas gift of a bottle of wine.  She must have forgotten that I don't drink anymore.  I graciously accepted the gift and will probably give it to my sister and her hubby, but it did give me a little chuckle in the car ride home.


  1. Love you girl! So proud of you for all of what you did back then and are doing today! What a wonderful testimony. I am sorry to hear about that family member, that is so sad. I'm sure Dj will be excited to get a bottle of wine. he he

  2. Good for you! Amazing. I love to hear of these success stories....especially when it seems that it is always a losing battle on the nursing end of it with what I do now. Thank you for your story and being brave enough to tell it!
    Take care!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I often think that we just never know what the person in front of us is facing or has faced in their life. We need to learn to be more tender with people, because everyone is going through something in their lives. I am so happy that you are sober and have remained that way and I know with God's grace you will continue on the right path. One day you will use that empathy in your nursing career and someone will be better off for the demons you have battled. What a great anniversary to share. Thanks.

  4. Oh & btw, I love the new blog design. And one more thing, is you name really Zazzy?

  5. Haha, I just noticed that I said "Is you name" instead of "Is your name", I am such a goob. BTW, you didn't answer :)

  6. Dominique-thanks for your support over all the years! You’re a great friend and sister even on the multiple nights I called you and talked your ear off only to call you the next day asking you to remind me what I said. You were there for my highs and lows and held my hand through it all. I love you too girl!

    CC-It's funny I was thinking of concentrating my nursing focus on alcohol and drug recovery, but decided against it after being an aide for a day on that unit. It seemed more people in that area didn't want help they were just serving their requirements. I was nearly ready to take this posting down (and might still) because I don't want it to hurt my chances of employment in the future if my anonymity is compromised. Thank you for your compliments.

    Candi-I try to be very careful on what I say to whom I say it. You make a great point on not knowing what people have gone through or are going through. Thank you for your kind words. I liked this blog design because it totally rocks and looks rustic but beautiful. PS, no my name isn't Zazzy but the word Zazzy defines me pretty well, according to the Urban Dictionary: "to create an adjective suggesting that something is too great to be confined to one word".