I am no stranger to alcoholism. It runs in my family.
My father struggled with alcoholism for most of his life and, unfortunately, I saw the negative side effects of it as a young girl.
Even more unfortunate, it coarsed through my blood at full speed as I got older, feeding off of the negative events that were happening in my life. I suffered from depression and anxiety, but was not getting any treatment for it at the time.
When my grandmother, the woman who I credit for raising me, became ill with cancer, I turned to alcohol. We knew she wouldn't pull through as the cancer spread throughout her organs. We took her off hospice and I stayed with her every day until she passed away.
She was my heart. My rock. My mother. My fondest childhood memories were made with her, right here. This was my first snow day and we built my first snowman.
During the time that my grandmother was ill, I was in nursing school. I had to watch my grandmother and take care of her and then study to pass school. I was so stressed, so gut-wrenched from watching her slowly, but surely wither away, that I did not know how to deal sometimes.
Every day, I would watch her condition worsen. Then she began to fall out of bed and become combative towards me when I gave her medicine or tried to help her do things-as if she didn't even remember who I was. She would wake up around 3 or 4 am, thinking it was 7 or 8am. I had to wake up with her because she was highly disoriented near the end, knowing I had stayed up late studying the night before and had to be in class in just a few hours.
She would head to the kitchen and make weird concoctions or versions of foods she once could easily master. One morning, while I was caring for her, I saw her eating out of an empty bowl while in a daze. The next day or so, I watched her as she started eating her magazines. This woman-the woman who cared for me as a little girl and whom I was caring for now-was not the woman I knew. I was heartbroken. Cancer is such a vicious, shitty thing, for everyone involved.
It was too much for me to deal with, but I did it. Because I loved and owed it to this woman. But each night that I had to stay with her, I poured a glass or two of wine to help calm or ease me. I didn't feel as if I had a problem then-I was just simply having a glass of wine while studying to help me "focus."
This was her last snow day. And I got to spend it with her. I am so thankful that I got to take this photo of her.
She passed away almost two months later and went to meet God on March 25, 2010-just 4 days before my birthday.
To make matters worse, I was married to an emotionally abusive man and experienced neglect most of the time. I turned to alcohol and drank almost daily while I lived with him to escape the pain during our mere 3 year marriage. This is where my drinking took a turn for the worst.
I didn't care about myself. I didn't love myself. If I did, I would have treated myself with a little more respect to leave the whole situation. However, he always found a manipulative little way to make me take the blame for our fights or make me feel "at fault."
As soon as I would get home from work, anywhere from one glass of wine to a bottle it was! He saw what it was doing to me, but he didn't care and neither did I.
But inside, I felt hopeless and alone. I was screaming for him to help me, to love me enough to care that I was hurting myself.
I felt as if things would never get better-as long as I stayed with him. I literally had to numb myself in order to feel something.
So I left. I got out. I remarried a better man. But, the drinking had already become a habit and it slightly lingered with me. Until one day, I broke down to my current husband about it. I told him that I had a problem with it and that I was scared to death of it becoming something that got out of control. I was not there yet, but addictions such as alcohol, drugs, eating disorders-you name it-can easily escalate in a matter of time.
I don't think my battle with alcoholism was unstoppable, but it surely could have easily gotten there. In order to get better, I had to realize why I drank and set some limits. I had once drank to supress the negative events going on in my life, so I found other things to take the place of that.
Nowadays, I pray, I turn to my husband, and I blog. All of these things are much more therapeutic to me than alcohol ever could be.
Do I still drink nowadays? Yes-on occasion. I enjoy having a glass of wine or a beer or two with my husband.
He dedicated his time to helping me to overcome it because he truly cared. This was so refreshing since my ex-husband would blatantly call me an "alcoholic", keep alcohol in the home still, and not give much though as to why I drank-much less how I felt.
My husband poured all of the alcohol down the kitchen sink while I was at work one day, and when I got home, we decided to focus on overcoming this addiction.
And overcome it, we did!
But the amazing thing about it?
I don't need it.
I have a loving husband and the sweetest son and I honestly doubt that I could've hand picked a better duo to share my life with. Yes, this life is grand, but most of all, I love MYSELF this time around.
So why am I sharing this personal story with you all?
Health is much more than just about how much you weigh or how "fit" you look on the outside. You can be the fittest chick on the block, but be so screwed up inside that it causes you to actually be in terrible shape.
Health is much more than muscles, a toned butt, or 6 pack abs.. to truly become healthy, you must be happy and have a good mental state.
My grandmother's situation was out of control-I should have redirected my energy into something else other than a drink.
And as for my failed marriage that I was "stuck" in? I realized that I did have control over that. As soon as I realized that, I got away.
I thank my husband Grady for all of his help. From the time I met him that beautiful Sunday in April on the beach 3 years ago, he befriended me and made me feel like a human again. He knew my problems but he still loved me anyway.
He is actually the first person that I did not have to degrade myself to.
He is actually the first person who I did not have to change anything about myself for.
He is actually the first person who loved my flaws. Every single damn one of them.
He helped to make me stronger and he never once left me behind. In marriage, you are a two man team and I had never felt this type of connection or love before.
I credit him for helping me to become the best version of myself that I am today.
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