Melissa is in recovery from a long insane addiction to alcohol

My name is Melissa, I'm in recovery from a long insane addiction to alcohol. I have been sober since May 19th, 2015 and I am extremely grateful for everyday I wake up with a clear mind. I lost everything, multiple times, due to my poor choices I made while lost in my addiction. Today life looks so much different than it did a year ago, five years ago, and 15 years ago when I was arrested for my first DUI. 

For as long as I can remember I have always felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I would obsess about my looks, I constantly felt people were staring at me and talking about me. I also thought I was sick all of the time. If someone on the tv had cancer, then I had cancer. I remember thinking that my heart was beating abnormally and I was sure I would die in my sleep. My step dad had to stay up with me one night to assure me I was not going to die in my sleep and that I was in perfect health. The voices in my head told me otherwise. 

I remember drinking a fuzzy navel with alcohol in it at my aunts wedding when I was in middle school. My dad ordered it for me and said that was all I could have. Once the alcohol hit my lips I had to have more. One has never been enough. I sweet talked the bartender into letting me have a few more and then switched to champagne, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin. I loved the feeling of it being completely present in the moment. Suddenly the voices in my head were gone. I could care less what people thought of me. I danced. I felt free. I would chase that feeling for many years lose everything that's important.

When I was 21 years old I was heading to a friends house and I went into a blackout. One second I see a green light and the next I wake to glass shattering. I had run a red light and hit someone. I tried to leave the scene of the accident. I was arrested, I was 3 times the legal limit. My car was totaled, and spent a couple weeks in jail due to previous warrants for driving illegally. I had no insurance at the time of the accident, I have no idea what happened to the people I hit that evening.

Three years later same scenario occurred, except that time I made it home after the crash. I ran home, with glass still in my face and my arm, and was arrested a few weeks later at my apartment.  I was charged with failure to leave ID at the scene of the accident. When the cops came to my door I had been up all night drinking and snorting lines of coke.

After that, I attended an AA meeting close to my apartment but I wasn't ready. I ran as fast as I could back to the bar. I still had many more years of self destruction. It was too painful to look at the hurt I was causing. It would be years before I would finally let myself think about the people I hit in those accidents and cry for the damage I caused them.

I would go on to be arrested for two more DUI's, a few more misdemeanors and eventually have my kids taken away twice. Everything was alcohol related. But although the alcohol caused me and my loved ones so much pain, it also relieved me from the craziness that goes on in my head. The fear of never being good enough haunted me daily and I needed relief. 

I got sober the first time in February of 2014 a few months after my kids were taken away the first time when my son ate a marijuana brownie and then told the teacher he ate a brownie with medicine in it. I got a sponsor, worked the steps, chaired meetings, got my kids back and life was good. Until it just wasn't anymore. Things didn't feel right. Life was hard. I assumed that life would be rainbows and unicorns when I got sober. It was anything but that. I drank on May 18th,2015. It takes ONE day for me to lose everything I had worked so hard for. One day!!! I stood on the sidewalk as my kids drove off in the back of a police car. I forgot my son was at the karate studio and drunkenly called 911 to report him missing. My kids would be gone for a year. May 11th 2016 they came back home. 

As I stood in the courtroom with the same judge, deciding where my kids would live, AGAIN, something hit me. This is how it is when I drink. Bad things happen when I drink. I hurt people when I drink. It gets worse and worse every time. 

God removed the voice that said to me "just one drink, this time will be different" and replaced it with "share your story to help others". I fought it, I absolutely did NOT want to share my story. It's messy, it's yucky, it's not shiny and pretty. What if I'm judged? What will people say? But, when you're called to do something, you do it. I've been sharing my story publicly since September 2015. I started a blog and a nonprofit. I tell my story to show others recovery is possible. My nonprofit is my way of spreading the message and being of service to other parents who have been through hell with addiction but come out the other side better than before. 

Today life definitely isn't easy. Life is hard. My kids are home but my son struggles and hates me most days. Regardless of what is going on in my life, I keep showing up. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. When I'm feeling down I reach out to one of the many women I've become friends with online, I listen to podcasts, I do yoga, I jog, I attend meetings. There is so much that goes into my recovery today. One of the biggest ways I find peace is when I share my story. When I share messy truth, it doesn't have so much control over me. I want to help others have hope. 

Connect and learn more about Melissa:

@mytruthstartshere on Instagram