‘My son was taken away from me and placed with his grandparents while his father sat in jail. I would come face to face with the devil himself’: Mom recounts struggles with alcoholism, ‘It’s not an easy road’

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“Growing up, I wanted to be everything under the sun. From dreaming of becoming an award-winning neurosurgeon on Monday to becoming a nationally recognized meteorologist that same Sunday, I never in a million years could have dreamed of becoming addicted. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It does not care who your parents are, the price tag on your clothes, or the color of your skin. So, what exactly is there left to do when it comes knocking at your door, taking your ambitions and dreams with it, leaving your loved ones with the only option of praying, and leaving you to look into the eyes of a demon whose only goal in life is to bring you down?

This is a small glimpse of my story of how I defied the odds and refused to become another statistic. This is my past, raw and uncensored of the trials and tribulations I was met with every day I chose not to put the bottle down. This is when I finally fell to my knees and began to pray, giving it all to God. I let Him finally take the reins and lead me off the dangerous detour I had decided to take, and get back on track to follow in His footsteps. This is me becoming bigger than the bottle.

Looking back, I could sit here and blame every person or situation for my alcoholism, from the parties my parents used to throw growing up, to the abuse and ridicule I suffered from in high school, to the death of my Grammy from cancer — the one person who fueled my dreams of becoming whatever I wanted to be — to the physically and mentally abusive relationship I would succumb to with the father of my first-born for nearly 6 years, but in the end, they were still not the ones putting the bottle to my lips. Were they the reason I was drinking? I thought so.

But in my years of sobriety, I have learned that if I was really going to let go and let God in, I had to be willing to forgive the same people and move forward from the same situations I felt made me drink in the first place. And by doing so, I realized it wasn’t even the people or the situations making me drink, but a much deeper underlying void I felt I filled every time I put the bottle to my lips.

The fact of the matter was I drank to get drunk and to become totally numb, to not feel my feet underneath me, and to not see the world around me other than it spinning from the little bit of time I was conscious between being passed out from days of binging. I drank it by the liters and then, by the half-gallons. What started as a shot burning down my throat as I sat on a tailgate at a bonfire party in high school, quickly escalated into becoming the liquid substance that consumed my every waking thought, one I was able to drink like a glass of water.

I was a cheerleader and an overachiever in high school. A book worm or nerd, as some would call me. I had a lot of friends and loved life. That was, until the day I was introduced to the reality of just how mean people can be. Rumors began to spread, and within the first months of my freshman year of high school, I allowed those rumors to become my reality. I began going to parties, where I would find a substance to fill the void and made all of it disappear. When I was drinking, I had self-confidence even if the girl looking back at me in the mirror was wasted. When I was drinking, everyone liked me and laughed at my jokes, even though I didn’t realize the joke was on me.

Over the next few years, my drinking and partying would increase as my lack of respect for my parents, myself, my grades, and my goals decreased. I managed to graduate high school with honors and was actually in the process of applying to the University of Arkansas and LSU, but before my applications were sent, my Grammy would find out she had cancer, and in six short months, two weeks after my 19th birthday, she would be gone.

I began partying with a different crowd, mixing Xanax and vodka to help me cope. It was during this time I met the father of my first-born. Our romance was just short of a complete whirlwind. What it basically boiled down to was we were young and in a lot of ways, too much alike to ever be able to work out our differences which we were both dealing with. I welcomed a healthy baby boy on March 21st, 2009 at the age of 20, and I could not have been happier.

However, that happiness was short-lived. Eventually, I let my drinking get the best of me, and I would wind up right back where I was. I then climbed aboard a roller coaster of sobriety and binges for the next three years. I knew this was not the life that God intended for me to live. This was not what I wanted, and this, by far, was not who I wanted to be. What I wanted most was to be a woman of God and a good mother to my son, but the grip I had on the bottle of vodka and the grip alcoholism had on my life were unbreakable and unchangeable at that point.

By September of 2013, over the short course of a year and a half, I would enter treatment centers for alcohol and drug abuse three times, attempt and quit the outpatient programs twice, and put my body through debilitating detoxes a total of five times if not more. I would burn bridges and tear down walls within my own family and among my best friends that would take years to rebuild if they were to ever be rebuilt again. I would have my son taken away from me and placed with his grandparents while his father sat in jail with a domestic battery charge against him for beating me. I would stop at nothing to get my alcohol which would lead to me nearly using my own body to pay for it. During that short year and a half, I would turn to other men as a way out and an answer to my prayers for someone to finally take care of me and my son, only to be faced with the fact that no man here on earth was going to save me. I would come face to face with the devil himself and cheers to him while I nearly drank myself to death.

In September of 2013, I would be taken by ambulance where I would have a blood alcohol level of .325, weighing in at only 110 pounds. I would have every doctor looking bewildered as to not only how I was still alive, but how I was able to sit up and look them in their eyes and tell them I was killing myself.  The alcohol was killing me. That would be enough for them to admit me to the psychiatric floor. I would rip out my IV and pull off all the wires from my body and flee from the hospital and have half the Shreveport Police Department looking for me.

The next day, I reluctantly returned to the hospital after realizing the effects of my withdrawals could kill me and I had nowhere else to go. I would enter a detox where I would literally look the devil in the face again as I felt his suffocating hand on top of me. However, within weeks of that night I would enter my third and last rehabilitation center where I would give it all to God and be delivered from my addiction. I often have people ask me what was it about the third time that made me ‘get it.’ I love seeing the look on their faces when I give them my one-word answer… God.

However, that one-word answer was not near as easy to get to as it sounds. In fact, giving it all to God was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make in my life, but the one decision that in fact ended up saving me. While rehab gave me sobriety time, provided meetings and counselors who delivered extremely important information and guidance as to how to begin my recovery, it was GOD who first opened my heart, my eyes, my ears, and my mind to stay in treatment, to accept help, to listen to others, and to choose the path in which He paved for me to further my recovery and share my story with others with a humble and grateful heart. I survived because God said He wasn’t done with me yet!

In November of 2014, I would marry my former counselor at the same rehab at which I was delivered from my addiction, another story in its entirety, but a confirmed plan of God’s. After realizing what would be the best for my first born, my husband was able to adopt my son, and in September of 2015, we would welcome our second son at the same hospital I nearly died at. I would have never believed God would give me back everything I had before my addiction plus so much more!

I thank God every day for my sobriety, for my husband who is my best friend and better half, and my two amazing boys and biggest blessings. Who I am today is nowhere near perfect, nor will it ever be, I am no better or worse than anyone still struggling or anyone who fortunately never had to go through some of the trials and tribulations I had to go through. I remain a child of God who still makes mistakes, but strives to be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, and friend than I was yesterday. But by the grace of God I am sober, and He is, in fact, who saved me and led me to become bigger than the bottle.

Today, I dream of becoming an advocate for those thinking they are alone in their addiction or domestic abuse. Today, I dream of sharing my story all around the world so that others may have hope and be able to live a life led by Christ after becoming bigger than their bottle. It is not an easy road, but oh, how much easier it is than the life I lived before. I am living proof that it can be a good and beautiful life with God in control.”

Courtesy of Taylor Carr

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Taylor Carr. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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