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Share this SMART Recovery Success Story!
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default One year soberversary!

    Today I gratefully celebrate one year sober.

    I joined SMART six years ago, on Cinco de Mayo, 2008. I wasn't sure I was ready to quit drinking, so I decided I would try it for six months. Back then we had a 180-day thread, so I joined there. I stopped drinking and dutifully checked in every day, and made some friends. But I did not use the tools or do anything to actively work on my sobriety. After six months it was football season, and I started drinking again. First just on football Sundays, but it wasn't long before I was back to daily drinking.

    My second attempt at sobriety was June of 2011. The year proceeding that quit attempt was extraordinarily stressful, and my daily drinking grew worse and worse. I was severely depressed and barely functioning. I went to a therapist and started taking medication for depression, and admitted to my then-husband that I needed help, which was very difficult for me. I picked a quit date of June 13, 2011. A week before my quit date, I fell while drunk and cracked my humerus in half. One week later, the day before my quit date, I decided to have a last hurrah and began drinking at 9 in the morning. My then-husband and my two kids when to my neighbors' to swim. I don't remember any of this, but I blacked out in their swimming pool and would have died if my then-5-year old had not alerted his dad that something was wrong with me. I still cannot think of the impact this had on my son without crying. He suffered PTSD from it for several months. Luckily my then-husband was able to revive me and the paramedics came. I had a 0.34 BAC and oxygen sats in the 20s. I detoxed in the hospital for two days and went home. I stayed sober until November 2011, when we went to a wedding in Mexico at one of those all-inclusive resorts, and I drank. But that trip really reinforced that I wanted to be sober, so when we got home I resumed not drinking.

    I made it somewhere around 9-10 months and relapsed again. During my time sober I realized how miserable my marriage was, and divorced. I have thought a lot about why I relapsed, and I think it was a small part over-confidence, thinking I could drink like a "normal" person, and a large part self-sabotage, because I did not believe that I deserved to be happy. I think this relapse needed to happen. I hated myself every single day that I was drinking, and knew that my life was much better without alcohol.

    I quit again on July 9, 2013. I grew severely depressed, wondering if I would ever be able to stay sober, and decided to check into inpatient rehab. I spent 7 weeks at the St. Gregory Retreat Center, which is a non-12 step, CBT-based program. It was life changing. The most important thing I learned there was how to recognize and dispute cognitive distortions. We did a lot of work on recognizing our core values and how using had taken us away from those values. I highly, highly recommend St Gs to anyone who can go. It's a holistic approach to healing, so they do detox, feed you healthy food, and have mandatory exercise, plus community service. You spend hours in group therapy every day and have individual counseling once a week. I did drink on the flight on the way to rehab, but that was a calculated slip that was not intended to be a relapse, so I choose to stick with my July 9th sobriety date.

    I now sleep well, eat well, exercise regularly, co-facilitate a SMART F2F, and live a happy and well-balanced life. I have taken up running, and knitting and reading have helped greatly with my anxiety. I no longer think of alcohol first when faced with a stressful situation. I rarely have cravings or urges and if I do, can easily dispute them.

    If you have read this far, thank you. I will wrap up with a few things I have learned as a sober person.

    1. Sheer willpower is not sufficient to maintain sobriety. You have to work on it.
    2. All my years of insomnia were caused by alcohol, and I now sleep well.
    3. Changing your thinking is necessary.
    4. Mindfulness meditation is a great alternative for managing stress/anxiety. I took an 8-week course and that was the second most important thing I did besides St Gs.
    5. I now believe that I am a good person and that I want to be happy.
    6. Problems that seemed huge when drinking are actually pretty small and manageable when sober. I was most guilty of "awfulizing" and jumping to conclusions when drinking.
    7. Life is just plain better sober. I am a better mom, perform better at work, and my overall happiness is amazing. I love being sober.
    8. The thought of getting sober again sends me to tears, so I am planning on sticking with third time is the charm.

    I want to thank all of my friends at SMART, particularly admin Richard, folks from the defunct Sandbox, the Yellow Phoenixes, and the one-year check-in thread. You have contributed greatly to my success here.

    If you wish, share a milkshake with me today.



    Mel =)
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,196

    Default

    Mellie, Congratulations on your hard work! Patience, practice, persistence sure paid off for you. Thanks for sharing your inspiring personal account! Nice nails too!

    Now, go here to collect your milkshake!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF2vqAQwiVk

    Reminder to all SMARTies, up until 7/21/2014, go here to be a SMART Hero like mellie! http://www.smartrecovery.org/freedom/

    Warmest wishes,
    Gentoo <( ')
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you so much, Mellie for sharing. I honestly have tears running down my face. I'm only day 35, and I'm still in the anxious phase. Reading these stories makes me know that truly better is truly possible. Love to you and your kids.

  4. #4

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    Mellie, huge congratulations once again. I hadn't realized that your journey had been so difficult and it's inspiring and encouraging to know that with changed thinking and a lot of hard work this can be done.

    Wishing you much love and continued happiness and success.

    Sosh

  5. #5

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    What an inspiring story! I love the lessons learned section!

    I'd heard bits an pieces, but not the arc of the journey, laid out. It's an honor to have been present during this period of your life, in a virtual presence sort of way.

    Your kids are very lucky. You set a wonderful example for them.

    gregr
    “Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." Epictetus

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default

    Gentoo, that milkshake made me LMAO. Thank you.

    lilpumpkin, the first 30 days are the hardest, and you have achieved that! Keep at it. I promise you it only gets better and better.

    Sosh, I'm not sure it's been harder than anyone else's journey to sobriety, but it was definitely hard for me. Especially that dark period 3 years ago when I lost it and went from "high functioning alcoholic" to "barely functioning drunk". Not a pretty time in my life.

    Greg, thank you. My boys are the #1 reason I want to be sober (besides for myself). Their dad is not a shining example of a human being, and I am all they have, really. They deserve a mom who is sober and present.

    ~~~
    I bought myself a necklace that says "thought creates things" in Hebrew as a reminder that HOW I think is so, so important. My thoughts used to create mountains out of molehills all the time. I also got one of the prints from Story People, and it says "Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life". I never had time for anything but drinking. No more.

    Mel =)
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    smack dab where Time begins
    Posts
    14,518

    Default

    "most important thing I learned there was how to recognize and dispute cognitive distortions"

    Excellent! I would have to agree it is way helpful for me as well. When I first quit I think it was about 6 weeks before I tried the ABC tool for real. It had looked to complex to try, boy was I wrong. I found the D phase, the DISPUTE of the beliefs was actually fun to do and it remains so this day.

    Congrats on the changes you have made and the life you reforged.
    Wherever you go, there you are

  8. #8

    Default

    Congrats Mel. Fantastic. . Keep using the tools and it will workout.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default

    Thanks, Fen and Billy.
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sober Paradise
    Posts
    9,863

    Default

    Mel, thank you for sharing so many of the dark details of your journey. Your success shows hopeless and despairing readers that their lives are not "worse than anyone could possibly imagine" and there are paths out of the hell that is addiction.
    Luke: "I don't believe it."
    Yoda: "That is why you fail."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default

    Thanks, Dolphin. I don't want to harp on past ugliness, but I think it's important for people to know that even when things are really dark, there is always a light to reach for.

    One thing that I forgot to mention was that I was holding down a high paying job, and adopted two children while drinking. I was very, very good at hiding it from the outside world. If you'd asked most people who knew me, even close friends, they would have been shocked to know I actually had a drinking problem.
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  12. #12

    Default

    Congratulations and thank you for the smart advice and inspiration!
    Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood- Helen Keller

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    832

    Default

    Thanks for sharing your story Mel, all I can say is WOW!
    "There is nobody on the planet...who doesn’t have what it takes to wake up" Pema Chödrön

  14. #14

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    Mel -- wanted to sign your guest registry here and give you a huge virtual hug on your awesome accomplishment this past year. Thank you for sharing the journey in same timeframe as me. I have watched with admiration as you have succeeded through many challenges and wish you nothing but further success with SMART.....All the best - Dirkz
    It is solved by walking.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7

    Default

    People like you are my motivation!!! CONGRATULATIONS !!!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I like how you're cheersing your success with a Starbucks

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default

    Thank you, CRomo and Ch2n.

    Dirk, I'm glad we have been sobriety buddies - we have both fought the good fight. I have a great deal of admiration for you as well.

    Taylor, thank you. It's a McDonald's mocha frappe. Totally addicted to them. Better than a booze addiction though!
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    766

    Default

    CONGRATULATIONS on your ONE YEAR, Mel! Happy for you! And thank you for the shout out on my one-year post this week. I wish you all the best in continuing on your healthier path. Thanks for your work here, and sharing your own journey. I really like your list of things you've learned, & can especially relate to #6!

    Raising a virtual mocha frappe to you. Meet you back here same time next year.
    ~mc
    Because we're worth it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default

    mctj, same time next year sounds like a great plan. I'm proud of both of us!

    Saw this and thought immediately of SMART:

    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    766

    Default

    Perfect! So true!
    Because we're worth it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Chicago Suburbs
    Posts
    816

    Default

    Congratulations Mel. I'm happy for you.

  21. #21

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    Congrats to you and thanks for sharing your inspiring story!!!

  22. #22

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    Thank you for inspiring me...........

  23. #23

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    Thank you for sharing your story. You become a true for other.
    mobile casinos

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default

    Thank you all so much. Love the gorilla!!
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Greater New Orleans Area
    Posts
    475

    Default

    Congrats, melliemoo! What a fighter you are! Never down for the count! You are such an inspiration.

    Ashley
    To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed. -Bill Watterson

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,110

    Default

    Thanks Ashley!
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

  27. #27

    Default

    i really hope that you will have a wealthy life in all aspects, health, wealth, love. i bid you a wonderful life and know you are loved, even by people you've never met.

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