Meet Recovery Rockstar, Wendy

My name is Wendy and I am a recovering alcoholic/addict. For the first half of my life, I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and the second half in Chicago, Illinois. I grew up around alcoholism as the norm in my family; I remember countless events where alcohol was always included in excess. Growing up, I was also bullied by family members and peers in school. I always felt as if I never fit in anywhere, I felt as if everyone around me had this guide to life and I somehow missed this guide. I remember always having to prove my worth to myself and others by acting out in certain ways or participating in certain events whether it was good or bad.  

I did not start drinking until I was 17 years old, I watched a specific family member fall down the deep dark hole of alcoholism and I was determined to never end up like that. When I finally had my first drunk at 17, my eyes opened, I realized that there was a solution; alcohol. If I could just find a way to get drunk enough when I was tired of dealing with all of life’s problems, then maybe I could go on for another day. However, access to alcohol was not that easy and I did not always drink. It was not until I turned 21 years old that it started to take a turn for the worst. A few months into being 21, I did not drink much as I was dedicated to the gym and staying fit. I honestly do not remember when my drinking took a turn for the worst but it did, fast and hard.  

For the next 2 years, my drinking had progressed from only drinking on the weekends to only drinking on nights that I had the day off of work the next day, to eventually drinking every single night. For almost 2 years straight, I had to get drunk at least 5 nights a week to be able to stand what I was dealing with on the inside. My parents were going through a nasty divorce; my boyfriend at the time lived with me and lost his job, so I felt as if all the pressure was on me to keep it together.  My mother and a few people in my life flat out told me that I was an alcoholic yet I refused to believe it while downing the next bottle of wine or whatever I could get my hands on. 

It was not until I went on vacation with a bunch of friends for New Year’s 2014 that I saw that I had a serious problem. Without getting into too much detail, I became so drunk that I truly was not aware of anything for a couple of days. I ended up with scars, scratches, and cuts that I could not explain. I was continuously told about how horrible my behavior was that weekend and although, I was still in denial, it was in the back of my mind that maybe I do have a problem. I continued to drink in January 2014 until I got so drunk one night and had to go to work the next morning that I ended up having a horrifying anxiety attack and almost lost my job. I called a friend and I immediately told her, “I am an alcoholic.”  

Now I wish I could say that it ended at that and I decided to get sober, because that did not happen. I thought that alcohol was my problem, not me. Now that I was not drinking, I knew I needed something to deal with life. I ended up moving on to my prescribed Xanax medication and marijuana.  With marijuana, I ended up in the same boat as I did with the alcohol but worse, my disease had progressed. For the next 2 years after that, I was in a deep dark hole of depression, addiction and hopelessness.  

The moment I realized I needed help was in February 2016, I had tried to get off of Xanax with no tapering process or medical help and I ended up putting myself through hell and extreme danger for 3 days. I knew something had to give, I took action, I called my doctor and we started the tapering process. I thought, ok, problem solved… Right? Wrong! I was still smoking marijuana thinking that my problems will go away if I could just get off this medication.  I hit my point of desperation when I realized I had to consider getting completely sober. I knew that if I tried on my own, I would fail as I had so many times before. I made the decision on March 7, 2016 to finally get sober through a program. I had some issues with accepting the fact that I am alcoholic and need help which lead to a brief relapse in June 2016.   

My sobriety date is, June 18, 2016. I work a program closely with a sponsor and do my best to take action because that is what keeps me sober. Taking positive actions for recovery is essential for me to continue on this path. I get to meetings, I talk with my sponsor, I get out there and try to help others to get out of my own head. I call others in recovery to see how they are doing and I make sure if I commit to something, I do it. Whenever I am having a bad day or a good day, I pray because that works for me. I also have tried to find hobbies that spark my interest because for so long, drinking and drugging were my hobbies.  Today, I am on the path to finding myself in sobriety. It has not been easy by any means but it has truly been rewarding so far. I am coming up on 4 months of sobriety so I know I have a long way to go on this journey. I take comfort in knowing that I do not need to ever drink or drug again to solve a problem, no matter how huge the problem may seem.  

For anybody out there struggling with addiction, I will say this, you ARE worth it. Self-worth is often destroyed by our addictions and it can be hard to feel that you are worth any type of recovery. Do not question that, you are worth the best possible life you can have, you deserve to be happy, and most of all you deserve recovery. There will most definitely be difficult times, but that is how we grow in this process. To know that you made it through difficult times without that drink or drug, will be one of the most rewarding feelings ever. Getting sober was the best decision I have made for my life and though times may be tough for the moment, they do not last forever. Today, I know that I do not have anything good in life if I do not have sobriety.