My name is Brittany and I’m 25 years old. My sobriety date is August 10th, 2014. I grew up in an alcoholic household. I remember my dad drinking almost every day. When he would get drunk, my siblings and I would watch him verbally abuse my mom. So my brother, sister, and I spent a lot of our days nervous for when he would come home from work, reeking of beer, and ready to take out his bad day on us. Both of my parents worked, but we still had money problems due to my dad’s drug and alcohol abuse. In 1995, we moved up to Washington state to start a new life. This was supposed to be the new beginning that we all needed. My dad vowed to stop using, but like all alcoholics, he didn’t. From the age of five until I was twelve, I didn’t understand how a drink could change my dad so drastically. But, I would find out a few years later.
I took my first drink in the 8th grade. I can’t remember if I was 12 or 13. But I remember that it I split a bottle of vodka between myself and two other friends. Then, I got it. I liked the feeling alcohol gave me. It made me funny, it made me cool, and it made me beautiful. I loved it instantly. I got to school the next day and confided in a girl as to what I had done the day before and she told the school. I was called into the counselor’s office and I lied to them about the drinking. I said that she was a liar, and they believed me.
I finished 8th grade and started high school in 2004. I didn’t have many friends and was very shy. But, I made friends with some older people. I got drunk for the first time when I was 15. A friend invited myself and another girl over to his house where his parents bought us alcohol. Their motto about us drinking at their house was “If you drink here then stay here.” I remember countless times when 30 high school kids would pile into the room upstairs and drank until they threw up or passed out and the parents sat on the couch downstairs watching TV. Throughout my junior and senior years in high school, I continued to drink whenever I could, as much as I could. This led to me using weed and ecstasy as well. But, I always turned back to alcohol. It made me feel so powerful and in control. But, I maintained my grades and graduated on time. I was actually sorely hung over during graduation since I stayed up all night the day before taking pills and drinking.
In 2009, I got pregnant by my long term boyfriend. I decided to keep my baby and I stayed sober during my entire pregnancy. But, as soon as my son was born, I picked up right where I left off. I remember making bottles for him drunk at 3am while I took swigs from a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. I took him to parties with me. He slept in the host’s bedroom most times. Now, I look back at this and feel truly ashamed. My boyfriend supported us for a while then I got a job in retail and we moved into our own 1 bedroom apartment.
2012 to 2013 were my hardest drinking days. My son would leave Friday night and spend the weekend with his grandparents. I took this as the time to drink until I threw up or blacked out. And I blacked out every single time I drank. When I was blacked out, I would fight friends, throw up on myself, and pee myself as well. I would be fine, drinking with my friends, then blackness. Then the next day started and I would pick up where I left off.
In 2012, I started a job in a deli, but lost it due to my drinking. On the day I was fired I showed up wasted and when they told me to go, I stole a bottle of vodka on my way out. Alcohol had turned me into a thief and a liar. I stole more alcohol than I paid for. When I did stop drinking, I would go through terrible alcohol withdrawl. I shook. I threw up. I was angry, irritable, and anxious and that led me back to drinking. The hardest part of 2012 was when a good friend of mine passed away at the age of 26 from heart failure. I was drunk at his funeral. I went to his grandmother’s house afterwards and hugged his mom as everyone cried around me.
In 2013, my boyfriend, myself and my son could no longer afford our apartment so we moved in with his mom. She made it clear that we needed to stop drinking. He drank right a long with me. But, we never stopped. We drank when my son was gone, when he was here, and when he was asleep. It didn’t matter. We drank before going out, during, and after we got home. After one 3-day binge on alcohol, I woke up and saw things that didn’t exist and heard things that weren’t there. I was taken to the hospital to detox and I did. But I was so deep into my disease that I didn’t ease up on my drinking.
Then, in early 2014; my boyfriend got a DUI with our son in the car. The sheriff called me, waking me up from a dead drunk sleep at noon, and told me that I needed to get my son and that my boyfriend was going to jail. I called his mom and she picked my son up. CPS opened a case against us and we were deeply looked at. My boyfriend took a differed prosecution and entered treatment. He got clean in April of 2014. Eventually, CPS closed our case and we still have custody of our son.
But, I couldn’t stop drinking. I would drink when he left for work at night and I tried to hide it when he came home in the morning. I was deeply depressed and I tried to commit suicide but I was taken to the hospital and put on a 24 hour suicide watch. Then, I was diagnosed with bipolar depression and put on medication.
In the summer of 2014, my boyfriend gave me an ultimatum; either I stop drinking or he would take my son and I could leave. This was my rock bottom. I woke up on August 10, 2014 and went to a treatment center for an intake appointment. The next week, I started outpatient treatment. Treatment saved my life. My boyfriend and I go to AA meetings together to this day and I met my sponsor at a speaker’s meeting.
My life now isn’t comparable to the life that I had been living as a drunk. I’m happier, healthier, and a better mom. People enjoy being around me. And my mom has peace knowing that she can call and I will answer the phone sober. There’s a quote by Sade Andria Zabala I found just three days into my sobriety that hit me like a ton of bricks. It says, “I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was.”
To anyone out there struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, just know that you are not alone. And that help is out there where ever you turn. You just can’t be afraid to ask for it. And life is so much more beautiful than the darkness in which you have been living.
I’m grateful for my sobriety. And now, I’m grateful for my life because it’s one that’s worth living. -Brittany