This week’s Recovery Rocks is a dear a friend of mine. I’ve known her since she first got sober and I am in awe of her tenacity and courage. She has faced challenges in her recovery that would have capsized other people. But she is one of the strongest and most determined people I have ever met. She just keeps going, no matter what. She’s been an incredible support to me as a mother and I cherish her friendship dearly. She is celebrating 10 years of sobriety so there is no better way to celebrate than telling the world her incredible story.
Victoria you rock!
1. Describe your rock bottom
This is really hard. My drinking rock bottom, as in, my worst drinking behaviour and the most serious consequences of drinking, didn’t get me sober. When I drank I would be fine up to a point… then would absolutely lose it, screaming at my husband, frequently leaving or threatening to leave, always crawling back with my tail between my legs. I had no knowledge or warning of when this would happen; it didn’t happen every time I drank. The event that sticks in my memory most was locking my husband out of our house, lining up all the pills we had in the house and threatening to take them all, before throwing a cast iron cooking pot at the door, with him locked out on the other side of the glass. Luckily the pot was too heavy to throw far, and when it hit the floor I was shocked out of my rage. There were lots of threats and many times he or someone else had to bail me out.
I tried various means of cutting down, controlling and stopping for about 2 years, before I got to the point where I was sick of feeling suicidal, on the same old merry go round every day of remorse, self hatred, self denial and then giving in to drink and starting all over again. Somehow I found 12 step recovery and was able to stop. After 5 weeks I chose to drink again, for one night, and the events of that evening and the hangover the next morning convinced me and my husband I needed recovery and sobriety.
2. What were your first thirty days of recovery like?
Before I relapsed, it was really, really hard. We still hung out with the same people and even stored a case of booze in the garage for a friend who was trying to stop! After I relapsed it was easier because both me and my husband saw I really had a problem and I needed help.
3. What are best things that have happened since you got sober?
Me and my husband have stayed together and grown so much in our relationship, and now have two amazing children. I’ve been able to support them and also had my own business until last year. None of that would not have happened if I’d kept on drinking.
4. If you could go back in time to when you were drinking/using, what would you tell yourself?
To wake up and admit to myself I wasn’t having fun, and do something about it. I’ve always known I am strong but I always needed permission to do things, I’d give myself that permission. (I wouldn’t have listened though!)
5. What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned about yourself since you got clean/sober?
I don’t need other people to tell me how to live. I am stronger and more resilient than I ever think. I can trust my instincts and make my own decisions. I can take responsibility for my life and it will be ok.
6. Tell me about something wonderful that happened recently that would never have happened if you’d been drinking?
I recently went to a recovery convention in the Canary Islands. I was surrounded by 600 other people all in recovery, and met in person a wonderful woman who I’d gotten to know through facebook. At the final meeting there was a sobriety count down, from the longest sobriety (49 years) to the shortest (4 days). The sum of everyone’s sobriety was more than 6000 years! The atmosphere was amazing and something I’ll never forget.
7. What are your favourite recovery slogans?
Live and let live
Life on life’s terms
Give time time
8. And finally, why does recovery rock?
I am a part of a world-wide organisation which reaches so many people who are so desperate and have had terrible, tragic lives, and enables them to become good men and women who can live sane, happy, sober lives. I know I can go anywhere in the world and walk into a room of those people and feel instantly at home, and have an identification and a connection with those people which I cant get anywhere else. My best friends are those I’ve met in recovery and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.