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Honesty – Her Story Begins on 11/24/13

As I sit here it’s Saturday night, well early sunday morning now, and I can’t believe it. I am sober. The TV isn’t spinning as I watch it. I’m not vomiting. My mind is clear. This is the first Saturday night in six years that I haven’t been completely smashed out of my mind.

Hi everyone, my name is Amelia and I’m an alcoholic. It wasn’t until Thursday night that I actually said those words out loud to a group of people. I never thought that day would come. I never thought I would be the one standing in an AA meeting admitting to people I barely know that I’m an alcoholic.

Surrender – Step One

I think that Step One must be the hardest step. It has been for me.

drinking story

all photos courtsey of the author unless otherwise noted. This isn’t one of hers

Now, my story doesn’t start with me having a horrible upbringing and coming from alcoholic parents. I think a lot of people have that misconception about addicts. I had the best childhood a girl could ask for. I had the most amazing parents who loved me dearly. I was so happy.

I believed in my religion with all my heart and never wavered. The only time I was ever around alcohol was when I would visit my grandpa on Sundays. He was always sipping on a double vodka cranberry. I have always been a curious type, so naturally I wondered what it felt like to be drunk. Still I never wavered in my beliefs.

When I turned eighteen I moved down to Cedar City for school and had the best roommates ever. I absolutely loved my first year of college. I met the love of my life, or I thought so at the time anyway. We got engaged after a year of dating. I was preparing to get married in the SL temple as an avid Mormon. Life was going just as I had planned and dreamed as a little girl.

The wedding date was set for June 18, 2004. I remember going through the temple on June 15th and having so much love and support from family and friends. I was making everyone so proud and I felt proud of myself. The night before the wedding my world came crashing down. My fiancé called the wedding off.

It was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever faced. To this day it seems weird that it actually happened to me and I’m sitting here writing about it. I made it through. I made it. At the time I didn’t think I was going to. It seems like life was a constant “I made it through” moment. At least it was for me.

After my wedding I didn’t know what to do. I was now nineteen wearing garments with no real idea what that meant. All I knew was that I couldn’t take them off simply because I didn’t get married. I always had to wear them. To me it didn’t seem fair, but because of what I was taught I wore them religiously for two years.

An Alcoholic is Born

About six months before my twenty-first birthday, I started having second thoughts about everything. I didn’t understand a lot about the Mormon church and I felt like I was stuck in something that I couldn’t get out of. I was living in fear of everything. What would happen if I slept without my garments on? What if I missed church? I knew that this was not how God wanted me to feel.

God is not fear based. God is love. No one should feel fearful of what happens to you when you take your garments off. So I did it, I took them off. I walked out into the world without my garments. It felt good to not have to put on a perfect face anymore. I could be me.

On my twenty-first birthday I got invited to go out with a few friends to the bar. I was skeptical because my parents were already hurting that I took my garments off and was not going to church. It took a minute to decide what to do. I lied that night about going out drinking and little did I know that eight years later I would still be lying not only to them, but to myself. Until today. I will not lie anymore. I am going to be 100% honest and real.

The second alcohol touched my lips I was hooked. I’ve been taught this week that alcoholism’s actually a disease. It’s something you’re born with. It’s like cancer or diabetes. It needs to be treated or you will die.

active alcoholism

me while drinking

At first I didn’t think I was hooked. I just knew I liked going out and I liked to party. When I was twenty-two I got into a relationship with a really awesome guy. He drank, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. I thought it was cool that I was able to go home and make myself a cocktail and relax. I was told that it was normal to go home and have a cocktail. If you aren’t an alcoholic, it is normal. But if you have a brain like me, its not.

I remember everyday just really looking forward to going home to that drink. I would make myself a cocktail as soon as I walked through the door. At first it was one or two, but as the years went on it turned into three and four with a few shots in between. I still talked myself into thinking it was normal because I was home relaxing.

I found myself going to bed some nights and, as soon as my boyfriend fell asleep, I’d get up and take three or four more shots. Jason used to make the comment all the time like, “Wow, it seems like this vodka is running out fast. I swear we aren’t drinking this much.” I would always tell him that we were and try to talk him into thinking he had more than he did. Lies. I was lying again.

A few years into our relationship, Jason and I started fighting a lot. I’ve learned over the past few days that it’s hard for alcoholics to hold relationships unless they get help. I believe that to be true now and I blame alcohol for my breakup with Jason.

When we moved to MT it was kind of a last ditch effort to fix things. We had good days, but we also had a lot of bad. Most of those days I was drunk. I don’t think Jason knew how much I was drinking. A lot of times before he would come home from work, if I was home first, I’d take a few shots just to start the night. Sometimes it would be up to fifteen quick ones.

The problem with an alcoholic is when we drink it changes us. It turns us into a different person. I remember one night actually throwing my phone at the wall and breaking it. That is not Amelia. That is alcohol.

I remember calling the one I love the most horrible names. I remember just blacking out at night then getting up and starting it all over again. Waking up knowing there was a fight but not remembering what was said. I still didn’t think I had a problem. I just told myself I was dealing with a hard relationship. Excuses.

The Downward Spiral

When Jason and I broke up, he moved out and my drinking got really bad. I would go to school, stop at the liquor store, go home, and drink. The entire bottle. Now those ten shots weren’t working. I had to have a pint to feel it.

I remember waking up some mornings and my mom would call me and talk about things we spoke about the night before. I would have zero recollection of talking to her. I would play along as if I knew what she was talking about but could not remember. I had friends in MT that told me I drank a lot. A couple of my friends called me “cocktail girl” as a joke. I thought it was funny. I didn’t think it was a concern at all because I was dealing with a breakup and I was single. Again, excuses.

When I moved back to Utah is when it started to click that maybe I had a problem. I was so used to living by myself and doing whatever I wanted. Now, suddenly, I was back in a religious setting where nothing I would normally do was allowed. I remember panicking because I didn’t know where I was going to drink at night to “relax.” That didn’t stop me though. I started putting booze in my car and running out all night to drink vodka straight from the bottle.

recovered alcoholic

this photo isn’t of the author

By the time I went to bed, I was so drunk. No one could tell though. I was very good at playing it off. Alcohol was the only way I could sleep at this point. I couldn’t live without it. People would make comments to me about my drinking but I would always defend myself and say I was fine because I’d never had a DUI. Excuses. Excuses!!

Alcoholism doesn’t always mean that you’ve had a DUI. Alcoholism is a disease. You can’t just have a drink like a normal person and enjoy it. There is no controlled drinking and never will be. You will kill yourself trying to make yourself like other people.

Weekdays were horrible. I would get up every day hungover. Throwing up in the shower was a normal routine. There was one night in the week that I worked the graveyard shift and I always had my bottle in my car waiting for me when I got off Saturday morning. I would drink the entire pint before falling asleep, which would leave me waking up hungover at 2pm. Working for Hospice it was especially hard because I saw a lot of death. My patients and their families loved me, but I always wondered why. I hated myself. I always though “if only they knew the kind of person I really was.”

On the weekends I would go out with friends and my bar tab was always more than everyone else’s. I would get so drunk that sometimes my friends would have to pull over so I could get out of the car and vomit. By the time I got home I was so drunk that most of the time I couldn’t make it upstairs without holding on to everything in sight. My mom would come upstairs and ask me what I had been doing and I was so drunk I could barely hear the question.

There was one night I fell down eleven stairs. My mom found me at the bottom. I slightly remember that night and also some nights trying to smooth things over telling her I only had one drink, but she knew I hadn’t. Lying to her was the only thing I knew how to do when it came to alcohol. I couldn’t hurt her anymore than I knew I already had. I had to lie.

Most of the time I was still nursing the bottle in my purse that she couldn’t see. I know one day I am going to have to apologize to her. She deserves that. She never deserved waking up at 2am from me falling down a flight of stairs. I can’t imagine the worry I put her through. Maybe one day when I have my own child I’ll understand. I know that my mom is the only one in this world that could handle me and God knew this when he gave her to me. That is one thing that I am grateful for through all of this.

Rock Bottom

I drank every day but weekends I went all out. Saturday nights I’d go through a half gallon of vodka alone. Because of that, Sunday’s were never really the best days. The only word I’ve been able to associate with them are “hungover.” I have been hungover to the point where I throw up ’til I go to bed at night. This happened most Sundays.

mormon alcoholic

sober on the left, while drinking on the right

My mom would ask me why I would lay in bed all day and I would just say I was tired from the work week. Most of the time I would just lay there and cry because I wanted to change so bad and be like a normal person. I would look on Facebook and be so jealous of my friends who were out doing things. I wanted to be like that, but didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to be normal. I was a slave to the bottle. It was my friend but it was also my worst enemy.

It was a hate/love relationship. When it was around, it called to you and made you feel like the only way you’re going to feel good is if you drank or that you won’t be able to sleep unless you got drunk. It’s a never ending battle and it takes a wake up call to actually change.

My wake up call happened a few weeks ago. I remember waking up one Sunday morning and being completely soaked in my own urine. I had drank to the point where my brain was no longer connected to my body. I shouldn’t be alive. I shouldn’t be here typing this and if it weren’t for my dog, I wouldn’t be. I have never in my life felt like that. It was that moment of low that I can’t explain.

I knew that I had to do something, because if I didn’t I’d die. I can’t live like that anymore. I can’t and I won’t. So here I am. It took me a couple weeks to decide to quit after that incident, but here I am.

I’m not going to lie and say I enjoy being sober. My body feels better, but because of how my brain works I just naturally like being drunk. I won’t give in though. I won’t. I am going to overpower the one thing that has overpowered me. I’m going to take this challenge that God has given me and make it just a slight stepping stone to my next place.

I hope one day I can help other people that struggle with addiction. I’ve got this. Today, day seven. One week sober. Come with me on my journey to sobriety.

Thanks for reading my story 🙂
Today I celebrate day 103 🙂
I am a completely different person inside and out!

sober alcoholic

me at 90 days!

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