Never before was I happy. Never before was I satisfied with what I had. I now have a wonderful, beautiful life.

My name is Victoria and I am an addict. First and foremost I am an alcoholic, but since I began this journey of recovery I’ve learned a few things about myself. Like the fact that even now, three months in, I stay up and eat candy and or ice cream alcoholically. Or the fact that if I start watching a TV show I watch every episode until the whole show is over, and I ignore my life to do it. Like the fact that I started drinking, smoking and anything and everything else when I was a kid was not just kids being kids, it was me looking to dull the pain I was trying to escape from. That is where it began and ended; attempting to escape the pain.

I did not know that I was an addict. Sure, there would be the Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Tuesday when I would wake up and think to myself why do I drink like this? Why am I so crazy? Maybe I should just drink once a month, or just on the weekends, or just take a break. When I tried to take the “breaks” things always got in the way. I would have a really bad Monday, or my kids would be so overwhelming, or I was cooking a turkey and you need to drink some wine when you’re cooking all day, right? Wrong. I am here to tell you that turkeys CAN be cooked sober.

I spent much of my life high. I honestly thought it was normal. Looking back I can see that needing a pill, or a bowl, or a drink to feel better is not normal. It is really too bad. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that I should just try to be sober. I remember thinking one time when I was 15 that sober fun is impossible. How do those kids do it? What do they DO? High school was such a whirlwind of drugs and emotional pain that I eventually dropped out. I got my GED and then my associate’s degree working all the while.  If I can do that then where is the problem right? But the pain was there. When I became a mother alcohol became my drug of choice. It’s legal. Its Mommy’s little helper. I found that I could play peek a boo and hide and seek without wanting to pull my hair out as long as I had a buzz. It worked great until it didn’t. I always had to have drinks to just breathe again. I was not calm. I was not happy. The pain was always there.

I needed the pain to stop. The pain was always there. I have always been depressed. Its where this all started. I am not an alcoholic or addict I am self-medicated and I know what I need to make the pain go away. That is what I told myself so many times. What I had to learn the hard way was that when you try to escape the pain in your life by drinking or drugging you are only pushing the pain away for a minute. It always comes back. After years and years, I had buried the pain so deep that I am still trying to sort through some of it. This is something that I can only do with a clear mind. Only sober can I begin to sort through the reasons why I feel the way I feel.

It worked great until it didn’t. It’s not easy. People don’t understand.

Things got desperate. One day when the pain was surrounding me in suicidal thoughts I let a friend convince me to try detox. I had been actively trying to quit for almost a year. I still didn’t think I needed detox, and I suppose I didn’t PHYSICALLY. I was desperate mentally and I needed to take a concrete step in my recovery. I had to leave my kids for a week. I missed Halloween. I never want to leave my kids again. Holding on to that thought has kept me sober since. It has not been all that long, and it is so rough at times. I hate being an “alcoholic.” It really pisses me off that some people can just have a glass of wine after a long day and then stop. You mean to tell me that I can’t have a glass of wine with my dinner? What do people DO when they “go out?” How do people calm down..? I really can never have ONE drink or drug ever?  If I didn’t ask these questions I suppose I wouldn’t be an addict. A family member once said “you know you have a drinking problem if you have a problem not drinking.” Well, that rang true.  It’s time to start learning how to live all over again.

It’s not easy. People don’t understand. I have been told to push through the pain. I have been told that I have no willpower. People have called me weak. People seem to shy away from the words addict and alcoholic. It makes people nervous. People sometimes think you need special treatment so they just avoid you entirely. I’ve lost friends over this bull. How fair is that? I’m depressed and I’m an addict and now you’re telling me that I have to struggle even harder? I have to work harder than most every day, every minute just to exist calmly. I have to learn to be comfortable with myself. That’s the point though I think. I am learning, I am striving, and I am moving forward. No longer will I be stuck in my world of pain going nowhere. I take steps in the right direction. Today I am working on it actively through recovery, and I know that it is getting better. The strongest people in the world are the people that need to overcome.

Being in recovery is amazing. I am learning so many new things about myself and just in general. Never before was I happy. Never before was I satisfied with what I had. I have a wonderful, beautiful life. I am the mother of two great little girls, and I am married to my best friend. I live in a small quiet town on a beautiful little pond. Each day I can look out my window at a gorgeous view of water and sky. Who wouldn’t be happy with that kind of life? Well, I wasn’t, and I didn’t know why. That was the worst part. I didn’t know why I wasn’t happy even though I had a happy life. Now that I have a couple months sober I am calmer. I am grateful. I am learning how to be happy. Things are getting better. Every day is a gift and I am looking for what I should do with it. The possibilities are endless.