Little did I know what 2019 had in store for me… (Insert Eye Roll Here)
I have been holding out on all of you. In an effort to be as transparent as I choose to be, I have decided to share something not many people know about me. Last year, on January 16, 2019, I was arrested for drunk driving. I was involved in an accident after having been out with friends and taken to jail. I thought it was definitely going down as my worst day in 2019 and I had hit rock bottom.
I was an idiot. I made a series of horrible decisions that day that led to me being taken to jail. I am in no way proud of this which is why many people had no idea until now this happened to me. While I do not like to advertise my stupidity, it is part of my story. A large part of my recent story, actually, and so I am sharing it publicly. To say I have wondered and worried about writing about this is a gross understatement.
I could tell you why I did the things I did, I guess, but it wouldn’t make up for the fact that I was a total moron and not making the best decisions I should have been making for my life. I was going through a divorce and grieving my broken relationship. I am an alcoholic. Drinking excessively was the only way I had ever dealt with anything that had happened to me for 15 years. These are all of the reasons I look back and think of although it was so much more and not at the same time. I was stuck in a place where I thought that was it. That was my life. I was a good mom, a good worker and this is what my life is. I drank to “deal” but not really deal with all of the stressors in my life. Whatever the reason is anyone drinks excessively is good enough for them, I’m sure. For me now, those are simply excuses and horrible ones at that, but I get it.
Becoming sober in 2019 was really, really, really hard. Getting sober is hard for anyone at any time. I believe it saved my life. I may not have died had I not gotten sober, but my life would be a horrific mess. I was forced to become sober. I never would have done it had I not been court ordered to do so, but I am SO VERY THANKFUL I had to and would not have it any other way (except to have done it without getting in trouble first). I didn’t know it at the time of the arrest, but a month after, I would need to step up and be sober. For the remainder of 2019 (and forever) I would need to be sober, present and fully clear for my children. There would be no one else.
A few things I have learned after being clear headed for the longest amount of time since I was 12…
I was Full of Shame: I was embarrassed about how I lived my life. I drank all the time and hid it from a lot of people, but when I was living that life, I never once realized I was ashamed. After I got sober, I got a lot more bold because I had nothing to hide. I realized a lot of my feelings of shame and self doubt I had felt in the past were not because I was insecure about who I am or what I stand for, but because I was afraid if I stood up and said something too bold or too loud, people might see my hidden life. I have embraced who I am to the fullest now and am never afraid to speak my mind.
I wasted So Much Time: I drank every single day. Sometimes before I left work until I went to sleep. Most days I drank from the time I got home until I went to bed. I did somehow manage to keep a decently clean house and get things done, but I drank the entire time I was doing all of those things. I also used to opt to drink and hang out on my phone or in front of the television instead of working on something I aspired to do. Eventually, the night would get away from me and I would go to bed without accomplishing anything. When I did spend time with friends, we were always drinking and never going to do fun adventures or activities because we were drinking. I did have my version of fun at that time, but there is so much more to life than drinking in my kitchen or at the same bar every week. I wouldn’t say that all of the people I hung out with and drank with were only drinking buddies. I have kept a small fraction of people in my life this past year and I am happy to say a couple of my old “drinking buddies” made the cut. They are incredibly great people with awesome hearts and souls that I am fortunate enough to know and who also respect me not drinking and hang out with me anyways.
My kids knew I was a drunk: This one breaks my heart. My littles did not know exactly that I was drunk, but they did know that I drank alcohol and they couldn’t. They knew when certain friends were over or shot glasses were on the kitchen counter that they would probably get away with a little more and maybe get to stay up late. Jack, on the other hand, was old enough to know exactly what was going on. He remembers many conversations with me that I do not remember. He remembers all of the things I said and stupidly did. This is the worst for me. I know I caused it and it is totally my fault, but it is like getting stabbed every time this subject comes up. Thankfully, Jack has stated several times he has chosen never to drink alcohol because he knows how stupid it can make you and he “knows the effects it will have on my children.” It is just unfortunate he has to know this because of me and my poor decisions.
Getting Sober is A Lot Easier with Help: When you get a new hobby, you find others with that interest and start hanging out with them more. Getting sober is like a hobby, consuming most of your time in the beginning especially. I do not believe I could have done so well getting sober without a weekly class I went to for 5 months at Park Center. It was called a “class” but was more of a group therapy session every week. My therapist was amazing and the people were all great too. A bunch of misfits trying to do better with our lives. It was helpful anytime I was going through something and needed guidance. We also got to help each other work through whatever we were going through which was great. Most people go to AA meetings when they are getting sober. I went to some too. I liked those meetings and wouldn’t mind going to more. They don’t make you talk either, so if you just want to go and be there, you can do that. I normally did that. You can find a schedule of AA meetings in Fort Wayne here.
Getting Sober is like Being ReBorn: I had been self medicating since I was 12 years old. Twelve Years Old. I had never learned how to deal with life without substances and surrounded myself with others who did the same. I thought this was a thing everyone did. This was how to get through life. I learned this is completely untrue! A LOT of people self medicate with substances, but you can get through life without them and I believe life is So Much Better without them. You get to know who YOU are when you are sober. You get to feel all of the feelings you shut out with substances. It’s not always fun, but once you get through it, whatever situation you get through sober, it is AmAzInG. You realize you did it. It was hard, but totally doable and if you can do that thing sober, then you can probably do a lot more things sober. Not only do you get through life things, but most of the time, you actually enjoy the things still! I was the worst at doing everything a little tipsy at least. Parent-Teacher conferences, school plays, trick-or-treating, any holiday, any get together, anything really. I’m not proud of that, but I am so proud that I have done all of those things sober in the past year and I enjoyed them more.
If you drink at all, even if you do not believe you have a problem with drinking, I challenge you to quit drinking alcohol for 60 days. See what it’s like. Do an adult science experiment on yourself. You may find you enjoy the sober life as much as I do and if you don’t, you can always go back to drinking again.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!
I cannot promise you I will always be available to pick you up, but someone you know is. Uber is a great tool to use. Trust me, an Uber ride, no matter how expensive it is, is WAY LESS EXPENSIVE than a lawyer and court costs. Going to retrieve your car from a parking lot in the morning is WAY MORE CONVENIENT than going to retrieve your car from a tow yard or losing your license for a period of time.
FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS DRIVE DRUNK!!!
If you think your friend is too drunk to drive, then Don’t Let Them Drive! I have heard all of the excuses and things people say about this subject and I am here to tell you…they aren’t good enough! People DIE drunk driving. People KILL OTHERS drunk driving. TACKLE YOUR FRIEND IF YOU HAVE TO. I wish someone had tackled me. Other ways people have gotten me not to drive drunk are: telling me we are riding together to another bar and then taking me home, telling me to not drive home right now and come back inside for one more drink and telling me to walk or taking me on a walk somewhere. Seriously, help your friends. Let’s all help each other please.
I do not have a perfect life by any means, but I am happy. I am fulfilled. My boys have a sober mom who is always there for them and loves them more than anything. I have rediscovered myself, met myself for the very first time as an adult. Turns out, I’m fun to be around, funny, smart and an all around awesome person. I feel comfortable saying that I have found things that make me happy and help me deal with life. Things that are healthy and may even help others too. If you think I am full of myself by admitting how awesome I am, you’re right. It took me an awfully long time to get here and I am taking full advantage of this now. Most importantly, my cup runneth over with fullness of life.
MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
~Love & Light, Sarah