I started to drink to relieve stress

I started to dabble in alcohol a few years ago when stress became overpowering. Alcohol became a “go to” vice for me.

The first time I took a shot of hard liquor it was delicious and it did the job. It relaxed me enough to be able to have a good time. Something that hadn’t happened for a while.

I was on a cruise and it was my birthday. I had had mixed drinks before but never shots! I had no idea what I was really in for!

The servers on the ship offered me a free shot in a glass that I got to keep! Wow! Now that was worth it right there.

After the first one, they just kept bringing me more. It was my birthday after all!

I stopped them at 3…maybe 4. Needless to say, it was a lot! I had never felt so relaxed and so giddy; I was completely drunk!

Life up to this point had been ok. Some happiness and peace with an extra dose of struggle. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be “perfect”, especially after my failed marriage.

I felt like I had let a lot of people down; the guilt all too consuming sometimes.

Ironically one of the reasons my marriage ended, was because of my husband’s drug and alcohol abuse. (which is a completely different post for later!)

As I continued to enjoy my vacation on the ship, I kept the drinking to a minimum. I did not want to pay for it, but I was on a mission to find that delicious beverage they served me when I got back home!

What’s the problem with having a drink to relax once in a while?

Well, it wasn’t a problem, until it was.

It certainly didn’t happen daily, until it did.

The poison snuck up on me.

I stopped drinking what I liked in the beginning because in reality it was very low in alcohol content. I began to resort to bottom shelf, nasty, high alcohol content liquor, while “treating myself” to the top shelf, “better tasting” stuff on payday!

Before I knew it I was using alcohol every night when I got home from work.

Even most nights, going to bed was not a conscious choice.

I’d either pass out in bed or my boyfriend, who lived with me at the time, put me to bed.

I would wake up feeling groggy but rarely sick. I didn’t “learn” from hangovers because they didn’t really happen.

The mornings felt guilt ridden. After coffee and a few hours of “getting going” though, I was great! (Well, that may be overstating it), because after reading “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace, I learned that people who drink daily, never get totally sober. Alcohol takes time to totally leave the system. https://thisnakedmind.com/

That was a very harsh reality pill to swallow. I had basically been intoxicated for two years! Whoa!

Some of the guilty thoughts that would consume my mind would be, how in the world do you show up and help people or lecture self care when you don’t even do it yourself; who do you think you are, or your going to screw everything up and let everyone down. Your kids have already gone through enough with their dad, now your going to do it too? and so on…

I was NOWHERE I wanted to be except when I was hitting the bottle and everyday I thought I had a handle on it, I didn’t and I found myself right back where I left off the day before. Justification and rationalization became two very big go to methods for me.

I felt hugely ashamed and worthless. I was rigid and short tempered and all I wanted to do was check out again as soon as the work was done.

I found myself making pitiful excuses that my ex used to use with me and I genuinely believed they were working.

I used to say, I am not nearly as bad as he is/was, or compare myself to other drunks and think, I’ve so got a handle on this! (uh, ya, I didn’t) and I even had a few loved ones in my corner to support me in this demented concept; even though they meant well, the fact is, I was losing control.

The thought about all the important things I missed in my relationship with my daughter who was struggling at the time, my own relationship with my boyfriend who was doing his best to pick up the pieces, and half assing it at both jobs, makes me quite literally sick to my stomach.

My guilt and shame would usually wear off by 3:00 Pm when I would start thinking about the friend I got to see and consume at 5:15/5:30 upon my arrival home from a typical work day.

And so the story goes…

Thankfully, by the grace of God and the divine source, knowing my path better than me, it was not going to be a forever thing for my life.

I was carried and helped more than I can comprehend. Somehow I still functioned pretty darn good considering and I owe it all to God and my guides for literally carrying me through that time.

This whole year has been about sobriety and becoming healthy! I am feeling empowered and feeling at peace; physically and emotionally.

The first few months were tough and I didn’t know if I could do it. I did a lot of prayer and meditation and I relied on friends and family that would hold me accountable and not put up with my excuses.

Finally My perfect scenario presented where I was asked to commit to 10 days of complete sobriety, in a workshop I was attending. Prior to my arrival I had no intentions of being completely sober as I was mapping out the nearest liquor store when I got there.

I hold my word with others very seriously. If I tell someone I am going to do something and they are counting on me to follow through, I do it, and this was very important to me.

Not only did I stay sober for the workshop, but on the last day of my trip, my hosts for my air bnb invited me to the main house for drinks, I declined. In that moment, I realized that I was now doing it for myself, which is more important than my original reason for abstaining for the workshop.

I have also maintained my status since and I couldn’t be more clear, proud, driven and hopeful!

The past two months I have also up-leveled yet again; cleaning up my diet and getting very clear on what health looks like for me. (You can read about my journey about this more in depth here: https://lightswitchkim.com/cancer/ )

I have dropped quite a bit of weight, which for me was not the goal, but I will take it!

My mission is health and vitality. I am and have continue to evaluate what I put into my body and why.

I view food as a substance that fuels, feeds, and nourishes.

Today I am clear! I truly practice what I teach. I do not regret anything about the past. I know the experience has taught me more than I could have learned otherwise!

I also know what it feels like to be held captive by a substance and how, bit by bit, it crept up and overtook me and all the shame and fear that goes along with it.

I know what it feels like to crave and withdrawal and get through day succumbing to the overwhelming power and better yet, feeling triumphant because I made one more day sober!!!

I have been on boths sides of this madness, first the wife and master codependent to someone abusing, and then on to the abuser myself. The rollercoaster ride of this hugely impaired lifestyle is dangerous, serious and so necessary to change!

I can have true empathy for family, friends and clients in addiction and in recovery! I understand more than I did without this experience, so I am grateful for the knew knowledge I have gained.

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