In March 2013 my boyfriend suddenly passed away. He’d gotten healthier, lost weight, and his blood pressure was so much better. I’d been home for a week sick and he’d taken really great care of me. The Saturday of that week I was feeling better. We talked for a bit, and he set out food to thaw and make dinner. I went to take a nap, and the last thing we said to each other was “I love you.” I woke up less than 45 minutes later and he was on the floor. His heart had given out on him.

6 months later I started binge drinking several times a month. Sometimes every other day.

Bacardi is expensive when you keep buying in the 1.75 size.

Around 2015 I met a wonderful lady named Sarah. We became fast friends. She is the only person in my circle of friends that doesn’t drink, smoke, or tried drugs, and rarely swears.

We started hanging out. Since she doesn’t drink, that meant I didn’t drink. When I wanted to stay home and drink myself into oblivion, she’d call out of the blue and say “Let’s go out.” I was now drinking at work and I discovered that chocolate, a banana, and yogurt hide the smell of booze on your breath. Having a mixed drink in a travel mug makes no one question what beverage lies in that hidden container.

One day Sarah and I talked about my drinking. She said, “I won’t tell you to stop. I understand that has to be your decision, but I will help, and support you.”

I came to that very decision after the 3 year anniversary of my boyfriend’s death. I was drinking at work. 3 strong ones in the morning, and then I went across the street to a restaurant and had 2 more. By 3pm I was sick. I had to go home early where I passed out on my bed face down and slept like that until the next morning. I stayed home the next day because, you know, after drinking 32 oz of Bacardi Limon and diet coke, then having 2 strong Long Island Ice Teas – the headaches are mighty powerful. It was at that moment I decided to stop drinking cold turkey.

Let me tell you, (for me) doing that was harder than quitting meth, and giving up smoking. Drinking is socially acceptable. Just about everyone does it, and no one bats an eye. Doing meth, and smoking cigarettes is not so much welcome in the public.

My body wasn’t used to the lack of alcohol and it hurt.

A lot.

But I stuck with it. Lots of water. LOTS. Walking to work (3 miles), and hanging out with my wonderfully supportive and loving family, and friends made all the difference in the world.

I didn’t do AA as I’d done NA for the meth and found I couldn’t hack the meetings, the intense rehab sessions, as well as the mental and emotional anguish of my own nightmares. Instead I stuck with my therapist, psychiatrist, and did group therapy (DBT, and Seeking Safety). Those helped me so much more. I commend AA for all the wonderful work they continue to do, it just wasn’t for me.

Though Sarah didn’t understand the evils of alcoholism, and drug addiction (she knows now), but she listened. She took late night phone calls, and texts. Held me when I cried, and was basically there.

I’m now 13 years clean from meth, and 3 years sober.

I didn’t know how to thank Sarah for being there for me, so I made her this calendar. She loved it, and after looking through the whole thing, she smiled, said “thank you” then added, “I can hardly to wait to see next year’s calendar!”

(And yes, I did make her one for this year)

I know some of the pics are a bit blurry. I had to resize them in order to post them here.