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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reflecting- 1 Year Later.

Hello, there! It's been exactly one year to the day since my last post, and I thought it would be cool to sit down, reflect and update everyone about how in the world we're all doing. Even if no one reads this, I want to have this for myself. I just read the last post I wrote with knots in my stomach recalling everything, and I just cannot believe how far we've come in a year.

So let's begin...

Whew. 2014 was a whirlwind. Looking back at this past year, my head just spins when I think about everything that happened. I vowed to make 2014 the year of "New Beginnings". And, well, while the first half of 2014 was rocky, we certainly made up for it the second half of the year. From January-late May/June, things were rough. Not nearly as bad as they had been, when I hit my all time low, but they was still really rough.

I continued with my bi-weekly counseling sessions, and even began attending meetings through a group my counselor started. While they were so very good for me, I was still feeling a huge void in my life. I tried to brush it off and act like it wasn't there, but it was literally a little demon, always following me around saying "you cannot live life to the fullest without alcohol! You are never going to be happy, now that you can't drink!" I listened to that little voice everyday. It brought me down, I felt so heavy and sad 95% of the time. Here I was with an amazing life, but I couldn't see the reality of it or even enjoy it because of that stupid voice in my head. I honestly never, ever realized how much my life revolved around alcohol until I quit. And unfortunately, because of this, I fell back into my old ways a few times in attempt to fill said hole. Just for the record, it never worked. Even when I did slip up and drink, it made absolutely nothing better. Only worse.

The first half of the year was for sure my learning period. I made lots of mistakes and stupid decisions during that time, thinking no one would notice. But I was only fooling myself. I was making things so much more difficult and learning the hard way. Looking back though, as much as I didn't realize it, I was learning & making progress everyday, and bettering my life. Albeit in teeny, tiny baby steps, but still. It was progress.

I had my "aha moment" in what I believe was late June, after one of my counseling sessions. My counselor said to me "Lauren, I want you to make a video journal entry on your phone. In it, I want you to talk to alcohol like it was a person, and tell it how you feel about it." I think I rolled my eyes at the thought of the assignment, but I agreed and left that appointment feeling annoyed.

A week passed and while I was sitting at work one day, I wrote down the word "CONTENT" randomly in my notebook. Something came over me, and just told me to write it down. For the first time since my miscarriages and all the shit we've gone through, I felt content, and at peace with where my life was sitting. I wasn't waiting for the next big thing to happen. I didn't feel anxious or worried.

So, with that, I picked up my phone and recorded a raw 5 minute video of me telling myself how I felt in that moment. I described my relationship with alcohol as "the other man" in my life. I was having an affair with it and pushing my own husband out. At times, it took priority above all else, and I was DONE. Though my tears and choked up voice, I told myself this this is where it stops. I told myself to watch this video when I feel the need to take a drink. I talked to my husband in the video and told him how sorry I was, how much I love him, and how lucky I am to have him by my side unconditionally.

I told my counselor about the video in my next session, and he asked if I'd be willing to let him see it. He watched it through teary eyes, and when it was done, he was speechless. He could not believe what he just saw. He said it was nothing he did, or said, but everything to do with me. I had to decide when enough was enough, that was it. My husband happened to be at the appointment, waiting in the hall. My counselor told him to join us and asked if I would show him the video. I of course said yes. I cried at my husband tearing up watching my video. When it was over, he couldn't believe was he just saw. It solidified everything for him. That I really was ready to move on and make our life better, for real this time.

I will keep that video forever and ever. And watch it no less than 300 times, I'm sure.

That, my friends, was the turning point in my life. Things have only gone up from there. In August, on our 6th wedding anniversary, we put our house up for sale. So romantic, right? We needed a fresh start, and wipe the slate clean. There were too many dark memories in that house. I lost 2 pregnancies in that house, I spent too much time in my closet hiding & drinking, the living room was the place where too many arguments were held and tears were shed. We needed to move. The house was too big for us anyway, and we never really loved it to begin with.

While the actual process of selling and buying a house can be quite a pain in the ass, it was the BEST DECISION WE HAVE EVER MADE. On October 22nd, we moved into an adorable ranch style home to the city north of us. And I'm telling you, if you could marry a house, I so would. We are in love with it. It's cozy, cute, full of character, and most importantly, it's a fresh start.

Life is oh so amazing and sweet these days. My husband and I have never been more happy, or closer. Work is great for both of us. Claire is flourishing into the most incredible little human, and I am so (excuse my language) fucking thankful I am sober to witness it. Even my mom said the other day how extra happy and in love my husband & I seem. Our families can all see it. And that makes it even more worth it.

I truly never thought I could be this happy and fulfilled WITHOUT alcohol. I am just amazed how far I've come in a year. I never thought it could happen. 

If you have made it this far, BLESS YOU. I didn't expect this post to be so long, but I needed to go into detail about this journey. To look back at where I started, and where I am. And I am so excited to see where things will go from here.

2015, LET'S DO THIS.