My husband, Tod, has made a new facebook page called Alcohol free me. He was inspired today to help motive people to live a healthier lifestyle through sobriety. Since it is January 2nd many people are trying their hardest to follow their resolution of staying sober. I want to help inspire people, and since I haven't touched booze in years I want to share my story:
I'd say.... from the age of 17 on was when my life became very social and I got into the drinking and partying crowd. Beer had been bonged, and drugs had been tripped and I was having the time of my life (so I thought). I always wanted to dance. I through house parties while my parents where gone camping, and a couple times I even had house parties when they were home. My 19th Birthday was like an indoor rave. My friend was the DJ, I had bouncers at the door charging cover, my friends were bartenders in the kitchen, I had a smoke machine, glow sticks everywhere and most of my friends were either drunk or high as a kite. The living room dance floor was pact and I was just starting to get into the typical lifestyle of a 19 year old girl.
I had met a boy around that time and we started dating. He wasn't into drugs so I stopped and we drank on weekends. We decided to move to Ontario for college but things didn't work out so I came back home. I started hanging out with the same crowd as I did a year ago, became a smoker and got back into the same old lifestyle...and got pregnant. Seth was born in May of 2006. (He is now 8). I had 2 serious boyfriends but they didn't work out. Every time I drank I would get emotional, blame my problems on others and I became toxic. I wasn't happy with the way they were around Seth so usually when I was in a bad drunken mood, I would let them know I was unhappy and I would always break someone’s heart. I was so mean....
That was pretty much my life. It was just Seth and I. I had a couple real good friends that hung out with me when I was sober. We would take Seth to the park or play board games and cook dinner together. But there were no other little kids to play with outside of day care and preschool. I worked 40 hours a week in the Bakery and lived the life of a single mom, which I loved but I was always looking forward to the weekend, when I could drink and forget about all my problems. I was sick often. All my drinking, smoking and crappy eating lowered my immune system drastically. I called in sick every 2 weeks, I swear. I'm surprised they didn't fire me. When I was at work I worked hard and my boss complimented me on that numerous times. I came into work hung over more often than not. I even drank wine alone some evenings. I was unhappy and felt a bit sorry for myself. I didn't know what I wanted out of life. I put on a fake smile around friends and tried to be there for Seth but I know I could have done better.
I decided I wanted to get a career in design making blue prints for houses so I went to college and took a drafting course. One year later I was handed my drafting certificate. I was set on moving down island to find a drafting job. And once I arrived....nothing. Everyone said I needed experience so I never got hired (or they could see how I was in rough shape). So I called a local bakery and got hired that day. My old boss had put in a good word for me. I got lucky. I lived in Victoria for almost 2 years. Lived in 3 houses and partied my butt off. Seth's dad also lived in Victoria at the time and would watch Seth OCCASIONALLY so I could go out. I also hired a baby sitter just so I could have a bit of me time. The whole time I lived in Victoria I was bummed out and very disappointed. I had a huge student loan to pay off and I was a single parent. I need a change. So I quit work and decided to go back to my family.
(During my years in Vic I had so many embarrassing drunk nights, getting kicked out of bars, throwing up, driving drunk, getting mad at people and ruining friendships, calling in sick for work and thinking all of that was just...normal (I’m so sad for the past me).
It was winter of 2011 and I had just moved back to my hometown. Seth was now 4 years old and I had just turned 25. I smoked 2 packs of smokes a week, drank too much too often, and was a single, unemployed mom, now living in her parents 5th wheel (which was like a mansion of a trailer but still, I was going nowhere).
I kept driving back to Victoria every chance I got to go party with friends. My parents offered to watch Seth so I left him at home with them. I was drinking, partying, smoking, and getting a taxi to the bar where I'd dance until I didn't remember the rest of the night, somehow wound back at my friend's place, woke up around noon and drove back home. I felt god-awful, and I thought I was having the time of my life (while I was intoxicated). I was desperate to feel loved and was looking for happiness in all the wrong places.
Soon after my savings were slim to none and I had to look for work. I applied at a kitchen store, an engineering company for a drafting position and I applied at a hotel to work the front desk. I typed up the best resume I could and dropped them off, with a cover letter and a big friendly smile.
My friends came to town that night and there was a huge DJ night at our local bar in town. So I decided to be the DD and drive. We all piled into my car and were off to the bar. As I walked in I heard some people talk about how DUGAS was there. Dugas? Tod Dugas? I think I know him!!! So I walked into the bar, spotted Tod and walked straight towards him. Now if you know me....you know I would NEVER do something like that. I have always waited for a guy to talk to me, being shy and all. But it was like Tod cast his fishing line and reeled me in.
“Hey!” I said. “Hey!” He said.....and we wound up talking all night. He knew I was the DD which was very impressive because he quit drinking a year ago. He bought me a bottled water and we danced. Haha that's the very first thing my husband ever bought me, water (lol)! Tod asked me for my number and I said sure. We went to a movie 3 nights later and I gave him a kiss bye. It was nice.
I knew Tod had asked me out on a date because I was DDing, and because I was a mom and we instantly bonded. “He was very straight and narrow” said all my friends...”and he run a lot and ate tons of fish...” “OKAY????” I replied.
I decided to drive to Victoria that weekend and go party with my girl-friends. I came back to town, hung over and depressed. It snowed a lot when I got home. I got a call from all three places for job interviews. All in the same day! But there was no way I was able to drive in the snow. So I called Tod for a ride and he drove me to all my interviews and I got the one I wanted most. The drafting position, designing bridges. Tod was my good luck charm. I felt so drawn to him. He had such an amazing glow. He was so positive and happy. I got to meet his daughter Chloe after dance that day. She was the cutest little 9 year old girl I had ever seen. I was shy but she was so fun that we both became really good friends. We made bracelets together and she braided my hair. We got along great.
Tod wanted to take me a concert three weeks later. I got in the car with a mickey of vodka, chugged it back and Tod just looked at me like I was a crazy idiot. He was wide eyed, with an open mouth and I could tell he was thinking ‘What am I getting myself into?’I just thought that was the normal way to have fun. So we went to concert and I sang and sang and danced and had fun. After....not so much. I left my purse at home and was out of smokes and was a grumpy-gus all night. I got Tod to take me home and he wasn't impressed. He lipped me off a bit, more of a YOU BETTER SMARTEN UP type deal and I cried.... I was seriously addicted to smoking and drinking. I just didn't know how bad the problem was.
I drank on probably 5 more occasions while Tod and I were dating. Every evening ended in me getting mad at Tod for something, which never would have happened if I didn't drink. Tod would take me home and not talk to me for days. I would blame him. I was too immature to understand that my behaviour was being seriously being effected by my drinking. I would apologise for my actions but always thought Tod was too strict. It wasn't until we were dating for 3 months when I really pissed him off, coming to his house at midnight, piss drunk, wreaking like cigarette smoke, talk talk talk, and I don't remember exactly what I said but I made Tod mad and he said “THAT'S IT, LET'S GO!” And he took me home, didn't answer my calls all morning until finally he met up with me. He got in my car and took a deep breath and then turned to me and said that he loved me and could see me as more than just a girlfriend but I would need to change a lot in order for that to happen. No more bull shit anymore. No more smoking, drinking, partying, I had to quit that life style and get my act together or it was only going to get worse.
I thought ‘How dare you tell me to change WHO I am in order to be with you.’ But I was just quiet and cried. I drove home and balled my eyes out. I thought about how drinking and smoking were a part of my life. I had fun when I was drunk and didn't want to give that part of my life up. I couldn't picture my life any other way. I cried about this issue until I had no more tears left to cry.
I know some of you may be thinking that I shouldn’t have had to change for anyone but that wasn’t the case at all. Tod had made a decision not to drink and he gave me the option to be with him and live a healthy wonderful life or to keep drinking – alone.
I knew my drinking was one of the main reasons all of my past relationships failed. And I knew that if I kept drinking my relationship with Tod would end up the same way.
This was my GET-OUT-OF-YOUR-SHITTY-DRINKING-LIFE-FREE card. God (The Universe or whatever you like to say) handed it to me and I have been holding on to it ever since.
It’s funny how at the time I felt like my life was crashing down on me and now I look back and realize it was just another life lesson and I know I chose the right path.
After selfishly crying I wrote myself a letter about why I needed to quit and what benefits would happen if I did. I knew if I quit my life would be better, I just didn't know HOW much better. I sat down at the computer, opened word, and typed out a long list. I wrote things like
Stop drinking now and be a better parent.
Stop smoking now and rebuild your lungs and get active.
Stop smoking and drinking and you will be able to pay off your dept and save money.
Stop smoking and drinking and be the amazing person you need to be. For Seth, for Tod and for yourself!
I cut out all the motivational statements and taped them on the mirror, in my car and even on my desk at work. I also placed one in my wallet just in case if I had a craving I would see it and think ‘My goals mean more to me than any spur-of-the-moment craving.’
It was so hard. Tod listened to all my bitching and complaining about craving smokes and wanting to go buy booze but he helped me through it. He was so strong and good to me. He was very supportive and would often tell me he was so happy that I choose this life.
I read the Conscious Health by Ron Garner, which honestly changed my life and helped me quit smoking and drinking. It helped me understand the negative effects it had on my body and I did not want wrinkles, bad lungs, and then cancer. No way, not me. Plus liver disease and so much more. Scary stuff!
The very last time I ever drank alcohol was on my stagette in March of 2012. I didn’t' drink enough to get a hangover and I did have a good night dancing with my girlfriends, nothing crazy happened. It was a good last memory of having a drink and I will forever leave it at that.
Over the past couple years I will admit that I thought about drinking while I've been out with friends but for some reason I knew I didn't have too. I had already made up my mind out drinking. It was not for me. I felt mature and I did NOT see the point of getting wasted. I didn’t feel 100% comfortable about being in that type of environment and I still don’t. I would prefer to be around sober people.
And now it’s been almost three years. No hungover Saturday and Sunday mornings. No being short tempered with my kid. No barfing. No regrets! No stomach aches and headaches. No drained bank account. No sleepless nights. No making an absolute fool of myself. No acidic body. AND I was proud.
I’m not going to lie Kicking booze was difficult. I thought it was a part of my life. I thought it was part of every one’s life. I never thought about it not being a part of my life. I thought the problems I had were... people effecting me. Not me. But looking back I was naive and selfish.
Running on the seawalk with my cutesy - Summer 2014
My advice to anyone who has had any thoughts about quitting drinking - Put the drink down and discover who you really are. You will benefit your life in every aspect.
Things I've discovered about myself since I quit drinking:
- I don't need to feel tipsy to get out the dance floor
- I enjoy my friends company much more when we are all sober
- I am a better lover, friend and spouse to my husband
- I am a morning person!
- I really am creative and have constant ideas flowing through my mind AND I put them to use
- I have so much energy that gets used on productive projects, family time and responsibilities.
- I love spending my weekends having sober nights with my hubby and family, having fun other ways like playing board games, going in the sauna, going for bike rides and cuddling on the couch watching a movie
- I have discovered what I want in life. I have set goals and dreams for my future and I am always working towards them
- I am able to work on having a strong alkaline body to make more babies and to keep my breast milk pure and full of nutrients
- Since I am not always knocking myself down with booze my spirits are always up
- More people have respect for me, like my boss, because I wasn't calling in sick and hung over like I would at my old job
- I finally feel mature, like I'm doing my part for this family
- I'm contributing more because of my sobriety
- I can save money and pay off old depts. I payed off my large student loan and bought a family car, all in 2 years
- I have a much better relationship with my kids. I feel like I have bonded with my daughter Kyri on a whole 'nother level then when Seth was small (so sad but true and I'm glad I realised this)
- My friends still think I'm funny and like my company
- I have more self esteem
- I have better control of my weight and skin condition
- I had a great pregnancy
- I have a much stronger relationship with my mom. Before I was always asking for money, a ride, for her to babysit so I could go out and party and then nurse my hang over but now we hang out and work out together, talk about real life and have movie nights together. I love her and really appreciate her for who she is and how she raised me to be strong willed, nurturing, motivated and creative
My first 10K run in 2012
I have Tod to thank for my dramatic life change. Tod pushed me in the right direction and helped me through it. I needed to know I was still loved and adored, even when I didn't have a drink in my hand. For some reason alcohol brought out a side of me who I liked more. But I needed to find that in myself being sober and I did, with Tod's help and unconditional love. I know that my friend and family also helped. They all know we don't drink alcohol and are very supportive. I even told everyone at my grad reunion that I don't drink. We are clean, happy people enjoying this sober life.
Everyone should be happy and proud if they kick drinking out of their life. Trust me! Your life will be a million times better without the booze. It's so acidic and harmful to the body, mind and soul. Taking baby steps towards sobriety is for winners!