“Hi, I’m Mesha, and I’m an alcoholic.
Someone asked me why I call myself that when I don’t drink anymore. The truth is the disease of alcoholism will be in me whether I drink or not. It’s in my DNA.
I was a product of generations of suffering drinkers on both sides of my family. The closest person in my life, my nana, owned the main bar in our town. She lived upstairs. Growing up, it was normal for my tiny little body to sit and drink a Pepsi, in a smoke-filled room of regulars, trying to find themselves in the bottom of a beer can. It was my favorite place to be. That bar made me feel like I was special and the people there treated me as such.
You may think I had a rough childhood, but I didn’t. I wasn’t abused, neglected, or raped and my parents were not divorced. My mom and dad made it to my sporting events, school plays, and piano recitals. I had birthday parties and sleepovers like every other ‘normal’ little girl. So how in the world did I end up an alcoholic?
Alcohol was a coping skill, a mood enhancer, a party buffer. It was present at every family get together I’ve been a part of. It was normal to BYOB to first holy communion lunches, summertime fires, and every Sunday after 8:30 a.m. mass. We were a drinking family and always have been.
As a result of too much to drink, I witnessed countless fights, divorce threats, crocodile tears, and a bunch of adults acting like children. From an early age, my subconscious screamed this substance caused a lot of problems for and in the people I loved so much. I never really blamed alcohol, but rather the people. I knew I didn’t want any part of what they were doing. Until I became old enough to have my first drink.
At 14 years old, I never felt like I fit in. I was not an athlete, cheerleader, or straight A student. I didn’t like horses and couldn’t sing. My boobs were huge and my butt was flat. At the time, my hair consisted of frizzy curls I had no idea how to make look nice. In essence, I really didn’t like myself and had no idea where I belonged. Hello vodka, Captain Morgan, Bacardi razz, Yuengling lager – anything that resulted in me escaping the darkness I had created in my own mind. You are exactly what I had been missing.
My first drink embraced me like the hug I had been craving for so long. It wrapped me up in a tingly sensation, gave me a sense of confidence I so desperately craved, and took me down through the depths of hell in a slow, strong sweep. I didn’t start out drinking everyday like you might think. It began with going to a party on the weekend here and there, to drinking every weekend, to drinking just about an entire summer, to every single day from sun up to sun down.
By the time I hit 21, I could down a 5th of liquor without even flinching, and still walk upright to tell the horrible drunken story of what I called my life. Depressed was an understatement of what I felt inside. What a lot of people don’t understand is when you drink alcohol the way I did, it wipes out the ability to feel happy without it. The problem was I didn’t feel happy with it, either.
I could give you a ton of war stories I lived throughout my drinking career, but I won’t horrify you with those. I’ll sum it up with what resulted. Because of the ungodly amounts of alcohol consumed over the course of 11 years, I was left with broken friendships, a long list of sexual partners, fist fights with my dad, sister, ex-boyfriends, and a nasty reputation. Alcohol was a liar who promised me happiness, but left me numb. Numb to true joy, the ability to work through simple problems, or face life at all. What was the freaking point?
I attempted suicide and landed my ass in a psych ward where I was the only one being treated for withdrawal and major depression. The normal stay for someone with depression was 5-7 days, but because I was having DT’s, I was monitored closely for 11. I was sent home with a high dose of Zoloft and anxiety meds because my tolerance for substances was so high. I was also connected with a therapist who had a great radar for bulls–t. My toolbox of tricks didn’t work on him and it showed when he refused to do a session with me when I showed up drunk. That day it hit me: Maybe I should try to quit drinking. I did it for 2 months.
Even though I removed alcohol, my old patterns and tendencies I acquired in order to survive the turbulence over the years were still there. I was incapable of standing on my own two feet and I needed men to validate my worth. My mirror was reflected in a man, who lived the lifestyle I felt the most comfortable, and I quickly began drinking again.
Suicidal thoughts returned and he threatened to leave me. I was too much to handle. I quit drinking and found weed. Even though I was never a pot smoker throughout my drinking career, it allowed me to escape the same way alcohol did. The huge bonus: I didn’t wake up with a hangover! It took no time at all for me to smoke around the clock and I freaking loved it.
No one knew my secret, except my boyfriend, who had the connections to keep my stash filled up. He was now dating a pothead who smoked weed faster than he could refill it. I was again left with the choice to stop or move out. Ironically during that time, I noticed my not so fun friend Flo was 9 days late. My mom ordered me to get a pregnancy test, which ended up being positive. Shock filled me for way more than 24 hours and I decided to get high one last time. With the precious little boy now living inside me, I guiltily took my last drags of freedom.
Once the initial shock of the huge life change I was about to go through wore off, I actually became excited to be pregnant. I now had a reason to live and it was a good one. The problem was, I had no idea how to do it. For the entire pregnancy, other than the night I discovered the news, I remained sober. I was able to set aside my selfishness and focus on the baby I was about to bring into this world. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard for me to remain sober, because I loved this baby already, way more than I could ever love myself.
My spunky, sweet, beautiful son Dax arrived healthy and pure. This gift from God forever changed my life and gave me a reason to live. However, the overwhelming feeling of unworthiness took over once the new mom hormones wore off. The pressure of raising a tiny human when I had no idea how to take care of myself was unbearable. I didn’t have the coping skills to deal with motherhood, either. A month after Dax was born, I again turned to drinking.
My alcoholism looked different now that I was a mom. It wasn’t drinking from morning to night, because raising my little boy was still very important to me. I wrestled with being a good mom and figuring out how to drown my pain on a daily basis. When my parents agreed to watch Dax for a few hours, my physically and emotionally drained body headed straight for a bar stool. I would drink as much as I could in the few hours I got alone and always pushed the limit on how long I stayed out. My mom would call the bar and I would beg for just 20 more minutes, being that my job as a mom was so much to handle. I always returned later than I said I would.
My family began to lose trust with me and my breaks became few and far between. I started drinking at home. For the majority of the day, I was able to remain sober. However, when it was getting closer to bath time, I would allow myself to have a drink. You better believe thinking about the alcohol sitting in my fridge and when I would be able to drink it consumed my thoughts. This made it hard to focus on anything else. My drinking became a whole lot worse, because this time it came with a different price: mom guilt.
The hangovers started to interfere with my ability to meet my son’s needs. In popped the bright idea to trade my alcohol for marijuana, that way I could smoke all day without anyone noticing. Problem solved! Or so I thought. The issue was I was confined to our house because I was too afraid to drive my son high. So, I came up with ways to entertain him at home, while taking bathroom breaks to smoke. Our house became a cage I built for ourselves. Hell slowly returned and I had no idea how to escape other than to get high.
I couldn’t live like this anymore and more importantly, I didn’t want my son to learn the coping skills I desperately relied on. He deserved so much better than what I was giving him and I hated myself for it. So, I did the only thing left to do. I begged God for help. Silently, I prayed that if he wanted me to quit drinking and doing drugs of any kind, to give me a DUI.
My boyfriend bought tickets to a Dierks Bentley concert so we could have a date night. It was the first time we were getting an entire night alone without Dax. With my marijuana pen in my purse and a cooler in the backseat, we were off for our much needed date 2 hours away. Since I only had a few drinks, and smoked a little while ago, I decided to drive home when it was all over, not realizing I had a burnt out tail light.
At 2 a.m., 5 miles from our home, flashing red and blue lights met my rearview mirror. The answer to my prayer was answered in less than 24 hours. I did the walk of shame in the parking lot of a church in my cowgirl boots, surprisingly passed the breathalyzer, but when the state trooper checked my eyes, he asked me how long ago I had smoked marijuana. Busted. I was cuffed and stuffed in the back of the police car and driven to the hospital for a blood draw. That horrific experience forever changed the course of my life. To this day I am beyond grateful for it.
A month shy of exactly 3 years later, I am sharing this with you. I am beyond blessed to say I haven’t had a drink or drug of any kind (besides caffeine), not even during the birth of my sweet baby girl. Today I am a sober mom and remain this way not only for me, but for my children as well. Sobriety has been beautiful, but it doesn’t come easy. I work to remain free from the chains of my diseased mind daily.
How, you might wonder? With a ton of resistance, I finally gave into the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Some find this program, however, the program found me. Eleven months into my sobriety, a girl from California asked me to attend an online zoom meeting. I honestly thought it was a bunch of crazy people in a cult, but decided to give it a try. This kind woman offered to walk me through the steps as well as keep me accountable. I had no idea why.
I worked the program up until step five, still not thinking I needed it to stay sober. Soon after half-assing my recovery, I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter. Life got life-y and I quit attending meetings. That kind lady checked in with me from time to time, but I decided to do my own thing. I gave birth to another healthy tiny human and my relationship fell apart 6 months later.
Being that I was a stay at home mom without a job, I was forced to move back with my parents. They welcomed me with open arms, but I was left with a broken heart. Since I could no longer turn to alcohol or drugs to fix me, I needed to try something different. I reached out to the lady who was willing to help me before and asked for help.
This miracle woman got to work with me and helped me unlearn everything I knew to be true. Not only did I start to feel better, but I began to feel a peace and freedom I had never known before. I was able to forgive and let go of the anger I had held onto for so long. My life changed drastically and I started blooming amidst the struggle.
I share my message with you to not only inspire, but hopefully show that life can indeed be beautiful no matter how hard the circumstances. Things didn’t get easier because I got sober. However, a life beyond my wildest dreams awaited when I decided to work through the pain I had always tried to escape.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mesha Brink. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and her blog. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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