Hi there! My name is Melissa. As of today September 1st 2015, I have 105 days sober. This is the second time, since I started drinking over 20 years ago, for me to reach 105 days sober. The first time was in 2014. I am a single mom of 2 beautiful children age 7 and 5. I recently relapsed and got my children taken away from me and am working towards bringing them back home. They are with my friends who are amazing people and also have 2 amazing children. They are very involved with life church and recently my son made the decision to give his life over to Christ and be baptized. It was a joy to watch him be baptized. He seemed so at peace. My son is 7 and struggles with adhd, sensory issues and ptsd. Before my relapse he spent 2 months in a behavioral health hospital and was put on an IEP when he went back to school, but only after multiple times in the office and many more of his meltdowns was I finally able to get an IEP into action.
I realize now that I must take care of myself first before I can take care of my kids. If I’m not putting myself first then there’s no hope in taking care of all their needs. I thought that I was selfish if I didn’t always put them first, but as a recovering alcoholic and someone finally learning to live life on life’s terms, I absolutely have to take care of myself before I can take care of my two children. It’s like the saying “when the plane is going down you put the oxygen mask on yourself before your children, because you can’t save your kids if you’re dead” it goes something like that, and I totally understand that saying now. Unfortunately I always learn things the hard way. Always have always will. So while I don’t have my children I’m taking this time to get myself back together, be proactive, really work on myself. So I’m starting a family-to-family NAMI (national alliance mental illness) 12 week course in September. It’s for families, partners and friends of individuals with mental illness taught by trained NAMI family members and caregivers of individuals with mental illness. NAMI supports education, research, advocacy and other efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with a mental illness and their families. Which will finally lead to understanding and acceptance for this common health disorder. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for a very long time, which I believe is part of the reason I started self medicating with alcohol. I think this program will be a huge help for me and my son. I also recently enrolled in the local community college and few weeks ago helped with a presentation at the local police department to educate the officers on alcoholism and what AA is and what it isn’t . I am working with a drug and alcohol counselor along with a mental health counselor, who previous to the relapse was doing parent child interaction therapy.
I started drinking very early on and have had lots of run ins with the law, I never wanted to stop drinking but I knew I didn’t drink like other people. I have never been able to control the amount of alcohol I consume once I start drinking. I do things that are so ridiculous, dangerous and embarrassing and most of the time I don’t remember what I do. I can’t remember a time when I drank that I didn’t black out. I’ve totaled cars, lost jobs, lost friends, lost boyfriends, lost my self esteem, lost my self worth, lost my license and worst of all lost my kids, all because of my drinking. I never felt comfortable in my own skin, I never wanted to feel emotions, I could never deal with life without my alcohol. I celebrated a year sober on February 10th, 2015. Shortly after I drank on March 14th while my son was in the hospital. I tried keeping it a secret but it weighed on me, so I came clean. But by May 18th I had spiraled down so far into a depression and feeling so hopeless that I didn’t see a way out. I thought about suicide, but I didn’t want to hurt my family. I just needed help and I wasn’t brave enough to ask. I hated admitting that I couldn’t do it all by myself, take care of me, my sobriety, my 2 jobs, my 2 kids, my sons mental issues, my boyfriend, the school calling me every other day to pick my son up, the missing work, my own mental issues, my AA commitments and just trying to lead of somewhat normal life (whatever that means lol) so I basically shut down, I hit a wall and I broke. I lost all I had worked so hard for, so I thought. I’m starting to see that there is a blessing hiding underneath all this heartache and sadness, I’m really finding my true self this time. I’m finding a way of recovery and sponsorship that works for me. I’m finding confidence that I didn’t know I had, I’m facing my fears and it feels amazing.
Telling my story is something I feel I must do, I know there are other women that can benefit from hearing my struggles and how I’m picking myself up and moving forward. I admire women who have fallen and got right back and moved forward. I love hearing their stories of recovery and hope. If I can make a difference in just 1 persons life with my story then it’s all worth it. There are so many ways to recover but I find that support from others who have been there before is what helps me the most. Truly grateful for everyday I wake up without a hangover. I never want to take my sobriety for granted again, because now I realize it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.