Four years ago, I was a stay-home mom to two beautiful children. Despite being in an unfulfilling marriage and feeling like a desperate housewife, my children gave me purpose. Over time, the demands of motherhood and beginning a new career to get out of the home and find myself again, proved too much, too overwhelming. Riddled with anxiety and battling feelings of guilt, not measuring up and always on the brink of sinking, I sought comfort in an old friend, wine. It started after work, while I was cooking. Uncorking the bottle always gave me relief and though I would finish the bottle quickly and the rest of the night would be a blur, it did the job of numbing the pain of an empty, lonely marriage and dulled the feelings of anxiety. Soon enough, I was drinking earlier and earlier in the day, just waiting for the morning kiddo drop off so I could get home and drink, then sober up enough to pick them up from school. Then I'd do it all over again that night and the next day, day after day after day. Eventually, the drinking became my sole focus. It's all I wanted to do and one night after a day long drinking binge, I decided to drive to the store. You can guess what happened next. I was pulled over, slapped in a pair of handcuffs and arrested for a DUI. I had to pay thousands of dollars in court costs, was placed on a three year probation and served a week of house arrest. As if that weren't enough to scare me straight, I kept right on drinking. Eventually, my marriage fell apart and I filed for divorce from my husband of thirteen years and found an apartment. Now I didn't have any accountability and no one to stop me from drinking. Luckily, I began dating a God- fearing man who, despite my shenanigans, loved me for me, the sober me, the REAL me. He saw to my heart. I knew I needed to stop drinking but didn't want to yet, and I hadn't reached my bottom. I was drinking at every opportunity and looking back, can't understand why God spared my life and my kid's lives so many times. No occasion was immune to my drinking and no event too sacred to b.y.o.b. I drank while driving, while supervising my children at the pool, at their soccer games, in parking lots, before church, before work...any time. My boyfriend became used to me being drunk most nights and passing out shortly after dinner. He had grown close to my children and loved them like his own so though he wanted to leave me and my drinking behind, he couldn't leave them. After one too many fights, I flew into a rage and he almost left for good. I lied through my teeth, straight to his face that I hadn't drank, but he knew better. Who was I kidding?? The bottom for me was seeing how much destruction I had caused. I had destroyed one marriage already, the trust of most of my family, and now I was ready to lose the one person who had held on for so long. I couldn't do that to my kids again. I couldn't fathom losing this man, and myself in the process. I was one blackout, one DUI, one risky decision away from killing myself or someone else. I was tired of checking for damage on my car the morning after, and googling "hit and runs" in my area just to make sure I wasn't a wanted criminal. I was tired of numbing my feelings and not facing my past. I had seen the look of fear in my little girl's blue eyes and the words "Mommy, you're scaring me. You're acting weird" haunt me to this day. I knew I had to change. I had the will, and I knew God would get me there if I only surrendered. I began to attend local support meetings and found camaraderie in others who were struggling. I got real. I made apologies, mended relationships and cried out to the Lord in earnest for the first time ever. The Lord saved me. Let me say that again. He. Saved. Me. There's no other way to explain it. No other way to explain a marriage proposal from the man of my dreams, having custody of my kids today, my parental rights totally unscathed, a beautiful home, right back to being a stay home mom, full of happiness. My life has come full circle and this time around, I have an unspeakable joy that only comes from my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I am a NEW person today. I beat the odds. I got a second chance on this life here on earth. I get to see clearly every day. I don't have to look over my shoulder and I'm not hungover or too tired from the night before to enjoy the right here, right now. My kids make me laugh and my husband spoils me for reasons I'll never understand. I have everything I need. Recovery is a bear. It is painful. I still have cravings and some nights I just want to escape. But. It will never be worth it for me. I have almost one year sober, next month. The other day, my now ten year old daughter said, "Hey mommy, know what next month is? July 12th?" My heart started beating fast. She knew. She remembered and she saw me all along. If nothing else, I owe it to my family and to the Lord to prove to others that it's possible. My second chance has come and I'm taking it. I'm not waiting to see if there's a third. Life is sweet. Hang in there and grit your teeth if you're going through recovery. It WILL be hard and you will doubt yourself but you will NEVER regret it.
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