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.
Hi, I'm Ashley.
Let's get straight to the point: 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. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it still felt pretty bad. 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.
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 12-step meetings. I continue those meetings to this day, although not always as frequently as I did in the beginning. The 12 Step program works 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.