Hannah is rockin' 3 years in recovery
The first part:
So, there really isn’t a great starting point of a recovery story, in my opinion. Because first I want to start at the beginning with the trauma in my childhood that caused me to use, or the descent to the bottom, or the strong pull of familial use that taught me to lean on the numbness. But really, it’s about the numbness and inability to want to be conscious in the world I lived in. The numbness ensued every night after tucking in my little boy, until I blacked out, and yet I was somehow able to function skillfully enough to carry on with a full time job, as a mother to my favorite (and only) son, and mostly disguised to many people in my life.
There is not one thing that singlehandedly brought me down. It was an accumulation of things. It was a combination of seeing my best friend’s cold body in an open casket at a horribly young age (suicide) and not understanding why he left me (and missing the phone call he made to me minutes before he died), and then it was my own attempt at suicide, it was from being told I was too overweight to be loved and accepted, it was getting pregnant in high school and the death of the baby, it was the overall feeling of not being good enough. My background does not define me now, but it did create me and shape my addiction to alcohol (and other substances).
The second part:
On the morning of November 23rd, 2015 – I called my sister (Jenna, who went to treatment at age 15 & had been sober for several years). The night before, I had drunk myself until oblivion as usual, and I had to call in sick to my new job in the operating room because I was too incapacitated at 530am (despite the fact that I gave myself a liter of IV fluids). I remember that phone call to my sister, even though I was so foggy. I remember it so clearly. I remember being so broken that I couldn’t go on one more day in my skin. I knew I needed help or I was going to die a slow and painful death. That statement may sound dramatic, but that’s what alcohol was doing to me; my vibrant spirit and my body were slowly being infected and I would eventually die from this thing. She made a phone call and found me a reputable chemical addiction treatment center – and the following Monday I admitted myself.
From the moment I entered those doors, I felt safe and accepted. I was terrified, but I knew my life would be forever changed. From there I learned about being with myself, how to meditate, how to have a community of people who live consciously and with clear minds, how to love myself again, and how to bring myself out of darkness (and so many other countless things). From that day forward, I never stopped chasing after a teetotal life. I had to go through many learning experiences and trials before I was able to continuously stay sober but that is exactly how my story needed to go, mistakes or roadblocks help us to learn what’s working and what’s not. I don’t use the word relapse or setback, because when a person accumulates sober time you do not go back to the starting point. You can never lose the time you’ve been sober or what you’ve learned from it.
The third part:
So here I am, three (3) solid years of sobriety. I am grateful every day that I’m clear minded and free from feeling stuck. I don’t struggle every day or feel like I must do a certain thing in order to stay sober (besides exercise!), because I’ve created a new life that I don’t want to escape from. I may not have achieved my sobriety like everyone else – but I believe that’s the beauty of this. There’s not one way or any perfect way to do it. It has taken quite some time to build a life I love. To get to where I am, I’ve used an accumulation of books (This Naked Mind by Annie Grace, The Easy Way to Control Alcohol by Allen Carr), teachers (Holly Whitaker, Laura McKowen, SheRecovers, Elena Brower, Gabrielle Bernstein…the list is endless), gone to counseling, I’ve connected with a teetotal community, learned Kundalini, replaced drinking with exercise and nutrition, painted ugly pictures on canvas, and I’ve followed the direction of people who live amazing, sober lives.
So here is a photo [from the photoshoot] my husband did for me, the big three (3). I’m very proud of this. And I’m proud that I created a life that I love. I am a mother to two beautiful children (Julian 11 and Olive 1), married to an amazing husband who supports me tremendously, I’m an RN, a health and wellness coach, and I blog about all of the above alongside my sobriety journey.
If I can share a few quotes for anyone to keep close to their heart while trudging through the darkness, it would be these:
“If you could see even a fraction of what’s possible for you, you would fall to your knees and cry.” - Laura McKowen
“Addiction is an experience, not an identity” - Holly Whitaker
“This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you”. - Hafiz