early sobriety fog, recovery, women in recovery, rising from ashes, getting sober, quit drinking

The Fog Is Gone

When I quit drinking, I crawled out of the fog and found myself waiting. Now I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. Keep scrolling to read my story below.

If you're still in the fog, or you can still see it, I hope you find hope here. We've all been there. Keep walking, or crawling, reaching out, whatever you have to do. Somewhere, you are waiting, too.

From Broken to Blooming: My Story

It’s funny how we start out thinking we’re going to do life one way, and then we turn into adults and things just don’t go at all how we planned.

If you had told me when I was younger that grown-up me would be writing about alcohol and drug addiction on the internet, I’m really not sure what I would think. I wanted to be an author, or a journalist, or maybe an artist. Alcoholic, addict, and divorcee didn’t really come to mind. Yet here we are.

2 years sober, recovery, sobriety before and after, alcoholism, women in recovery, sober women
Left: August 2010 at the beach, out all night dancing in a blackout. Right: August 2017, 2 years sober at the beach. Out all night dancing sober until 3am. We do recover.

Hi, I'm Ashley, and I'm an alcoholic.

I crashed and burned in a spectacular fashion.

My childhood wasn't full of trauma or even innocently sneaking liquor from my parents' cabinets. I was your average middle-class suburban white girl. My parents were married until I was an adult. We went to church as a family 2-3x a week, and I was a devout Christian teenager.

The day before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, a positive pregnancy test rocked my world. One month later, I was a 19 year old pregnant newlywed to my first and only boyfriend. "When it was good, it was very very good, but when it was bad, it was horrid." is a pretty decent summary of our marriage. God blessed us with three beautiful children. A, my oldest daughter, was born in 2006. C, my middle daughter, was born in 2008. J, my baby boy, was born in 2011.

We owned a business together, and as our income increased so did our spending, partying, and drinking. Red flags were everywhere, but I plowed right through them. Depression and anxiety consumed me most of the time, and I drank to escape emotions that I didn't know I had. My drinking and self-loathing took me to places I never want to go again. Blackout drinking was the norm, and I left a lot of damage behind when that happened.

Not long after our 8 year anniversary, our marriage ended in a blazing fire of trauma on both sides. It took a year to finalize our divorce, and he got primary physical custody, the house, our business, and all vehicles in our final agreement. For 4 months after our divorce, I only saw my children every other Thurs-Mon. I wrote a post about some of my experience in my post 8 Harsh Truths You Need to Know During Your Divorce, primarily to keep others from making the same mistakes I did. Not every mistake is obvious.

getting sober the first 30 days sober selfie recoveryI prayed. I cried. I begged God to keep pushing me forward. I had stubbornly abandoned Him over the years, and the state of my life reflected that abandonment. He heard my prayers.

In May 2015, I quit drinking.  I write more about getting to that point in this post (Why I Quit Drinking).

I had to unexpectedly file for emergency sole custody just weeks after I got sober, and I was terrified. To help me stay sober through that kind of stress, I started attending AA meetings. I continue those meetings to this day, although not always as frequently as I did in the beginning. AA and the 12 Step program have worked for me. I have an incredible amount of respect for the program and how it has managed to grow and survive for so many years.

Bloomin’ Ash means rebirth.

The name Ashley means “from the ash tree” or “ash tree grove”. I feel like I have been completely reborn through the process of recovery. There are multiple symbols for rebirth, but since my name means ash tree, I picture a tree growing roots and sprouting through ashes. The phoenix is another symbol of rebirth that means a lot to me.

Today, I am not a broken woman. By the grace of God, today I am whole.

I've been continuously sober since I quit drinking back in May 2015. Today, I still have sole physical and legal custody. I'm happily remarried, and I discovered a love for website design and development. That's not to say that life is sunshine and rainbows. I still struggle with anxiety and the tendency to isolate myself, among other things. My blog is full of those struggles. Writing helps me process, and I hope my words help somebody else move forward one day at a time.

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More About Me

I’m a thirty-something sober mom. I’m also a freelance website developer/consultant (Serenity Web Solutions). My husband and I have a pretty large blended family together that keeps us on our toes. Between us, we have 4 children still under our roof that range from ages 5 to 15.

Other tidbits:

  • I have one tattoo on my ankle (a mama bird on a branch, watching 3 baby birds flying away).
  • I was homeschooled from the age of 13.
  • When I read fiction, it's usually fantasy/sci-fi. The Wheel of Time and Mistborn are my favorite series.
  • I won first place in the 4th grade spelling bee. Aww yeah.

1 Comment

  1. Darci Mays on December 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    This is great! You do a wonderful job of connecting with your reader in such a relatable way. It blessed me today. ?

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