If you are reading this, I am celebrating 30 days of sobriety today. January 31st, 2018.
My relationship with alcohol, like many others have experienced, is very rocky. But, after the most emotionally painful year of my life, I finally found that I had the strength to break up with something so harmful to my life.
My relationship with alcohol is not healthy. Alcohol has been there for birthdays, weddings, holidays, college frat parties, girls nights out and work events. Alcohol was also there when I was raped, when a stranger tried to grope me in a bar last year and for every big fight in my life. I grew up with it, watching adults around me stumble, fight, fall or worse.
Alcohol has been holding my hand when I met every emotionally abusive boyfriend in a bar or club and it’s been a crutch of “false happiness” when I convince myself that this is the right relationship for me. It’s driven me home tipsy in a beat up black car when my drinking friends said “it’s fine”. It's been a shadow over my life for as long as I can remember.
The worst partnership I’ve ever had is alcohol married with my depression. As many know, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. Alcohol began as an easy fix for a sad day when the Universe told me to “just be happy." It started subtly and socially: Margarita happy hour, a bottle of wine and Netflix, brunch with bottles and bottles of prosecco, champagne to cheer you up and celebrate milestones...Every excuse was available because we live in a drinking culture.
I had my first emotional breakdown at 21 after burying sexual assault PTSD for two years. At the time I had been drinking a double bottle of wine every couple of nights and crying myself to sleep. I was locked away, avoiding people and constantly considering how much better the world would be without me in it. I was, in my opinion, a complete waste of space. Of course, I cracked and finally got help. After I finally got on my feet, I felt empowered so what did I do? I got dressed up and hit the bars.
Do you see a trend here?
Speed through a montage of this "twenty something behavior" (I cringe looking back on this now) and cut to the part where I started a relationship with hard liquor. Drinking gin, tequila and bourbon for me was quick and easy - the faster I could numb the self hatred and suicidal thoughts, the better. At one point in my life, I was in a relationship where a handle of vodka, beer and wine was on our weekly grocery list. A couple of drinks per night was nothing to me.
I didn’t ever think of this as a problem because everyone around me was doing it but I had a deeper secret. When things got too sad in my depression, when I felt totally alone and hopeless I would find myself alone in a a dark bar. Nothing comforted my crippling sadness more than dark liquor in a glass but I never stopped at one. I just wanted to always forget the pain around me. Especially last year, when every single part of my life fell apart.
When I finally realized and admitted that I had a problem (which I’ll be honest, this blog is a big deal because I’ve never really admitted it out loud) I tried to get sober a couple of times only to be met with “okay Hollie...let’s see how long this lasts” and scoffs from my closest friends. I have never felt so alone in something, I fell off saying “well, what’s just one?" For me, one is too many. Right now, I am asking if you are my friend - support me. I’d rather be happy and alive than the party girl you are used to and you should want that for me too.
A big shout out goes to Sarah Ordo. When I hit my breaking point in December, when the last part of my life finally cracked, I had been on a sobriety kick and that night, when I got kicked down harder than I ever have been, I thought to myself... “what’s the point in me being on this planet anymore” -and I reached for vodka. Just because the pain was so bad and I didn’t want to feel. I wanted to drown in liquor and never wake up. Sarah saw a post I made in my revered Cara Alwill Leyba’s Slay Baby Collective group (where over 400 empowering women picked up a very broken emotional me, pieced her back together and inspired her to be a better, bolder woman - I think I’ll always thank these women for helping save me) Sarah reached out to me and sent me her book, Sober as F**k and when I finally took a breath and read it - it was like reading my own life story.
This bible was the final piece in helping me face my reality. I am truly blessed that Sarah reached out to me and I truly recommend that everyone reads it. Sarah, I cannot begin to find the words to thank you.
I’ve found my support system in my family and close friends. The last thirty days or so have not been a walk in the park - alcohol is everywhere. I walk past 6 liquor stores on the way to my office, there’s a bar every few feet, I think about numbing my hardships all the time but I want to have power over this. I have never felt stronger than I do right now and I want to continue on this path.
I know I’m not exactly an expert on this but if you are struggling with alcohol or depression - I promise there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, it gets better, you are loved, you are worthy.