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It’s been a few years, eh?
2020 was a doozy for everyone, and I was no exception. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m ok. Unfortunately, I don’t have the same sobriety date anymore, and I’m not sure how to address that in the “right” way except just as honestly as I can. Recovery is hard. I’ve been through a lot of things and stayed sober, and I made it to 5.5 years of sobriety before I relapsed. While I rarely drink now, and my relationship with alcohol has changed a ton, I can’t say I have a new sobriety date yet. At least, not comfortably. I’m not there yet, and that’s kept me from writing here. But that’s not fair, or honest, and this is still an outlet I can use. So, here I am.
Content warning – talk of suicide, suicidal ideation, extreme depression, etc.
I don’t want my story to be discouraging to anybody working on recovery. I don’t know if I’ll ever get into any details, but the details don’t matter as much (to me) as the overall journey and where I am right now, which is much better than I was. 2021 started out pretty rough, I was a wreck and I had been white-knuckling and ignoring recovery for probably a year by the time I relapsed. I had many chances to get help, reach out, etc. I just…didn’t.
Surprising nobody, alcohol was still a huge problem and I experienced so much pain, heartache, and trauma that I know for a fact I could have avoided if I hadn’t picked up a drink. So why can’t I say that I’m sober now, 2 years post-relapse? Good question. I don’t know.
I’ve spent time in a psych ward now. Not for substance abuse. I experienced a few deeply traumatizing events in 2021 not long after I relapsed, and to this day it still feels like my brain broke. Everything turned upside down and inside out, and I couldn’t function very well anymore. I had to take time off work, couldn’t get out of bed, could barely leave home, it was rough. I’m just being real – I do not advise picking up a drink, ever, no matter what is going on. It did nothing for me except make everything so much worse.
When I heard about Heather Armstrong’s suicide, and how it had happened after a recent relapse, my heart sank. I hadn’t kept up with her for years, but she was one of my favorite blogs “back in the day”, not to mention extremely relatable, and the news was a hit to the gut. I’d never experienced true suicidal ideation, or anything even that close to it, until 2021. But when I did, it was the scariest experience I’d ever had in my life. I’ll never downplay suicide, not that I ever did, but especially not now. Something about your own brain trying to talk you into checking out of life is just terrifying. I could never escape it, and I was practically screaming for help while refusing any help that anybody offered. It finally got to the point where I (voluntarily) checked in to a hospital. Nothing groundbreaking happened at the hospital, and I was only there for a few days, but it was the beginning of getting better.
That’s where I’ll leave it, for now. There’s so much more to talk about, after all. It’s been 2.5 years since I relapsed, and my relationship with alcohol has been turned on its head. I’d like to be able to say that I don’t drink anymore, but right now that’s not something I can say. I can say that I rarely drink, maybe once or twice a month, and I get “drunk” even less than that. Maybe once every few months. I don’t know how, or why, but I’m glad that I don’t have cravings for it, or for more of it. It’s not as safe for me as avoiding alcohol altogether, but it’s a big improvement and I’ll take it for now.
I went through a huge storm, and I’m still rebuilding, but most of the primary emotional and relationship damage has been cleaned up and rebuilt at this point. I mean, I’m keeping plants alive and actually enjoying it, for one thing. 🙂 We have chickens and puppies that keep me busy, and my children are starting to find their own places in this world. My marriage almost didn’t survive, but we’ve been working together in therapy (and I’ve been in therapy individually as well) for almost 2 years now. It’s been a huge part of rebuilding for us both.
We’ll see where this takes me, I guess. Hopefully, I’ll have more to say now that I’ve kind of broken the ice about my current situation. Til next time! <3
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Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around. Read my story...
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