Overcoming Addiction: A Work Still in Progress.

March 20, 2012 32 Comments TAGS: Stress, Wellness

WARNING: Today’s post is disturbing. But it is an important read for everyone. My goal today is to release the shame and stigma of addiction. Many people in this country are suffering. You might be suffering in silence. I urge you to read this. It might encourage you, or someone you love, to seek help.

By Guest Blogger Charity Crenshaw

I’m going to start by saying my name is Charity and I am an alcoholic. A recovering one that is. I have been sober since August 24th, 2010.

For the sake of this blog, I will summarize my story the best way I can. I will not go into too much of my early life and the things that happened, that made me who I am today. I have very few memories of my childhood. I was molested from the age of 3 to 5, though I have blocked out most of the memories. I also have a big blank spot from ages 6 to 10. My mom had many boyfriends, so I think more happened than I am able to recall.

As a teen, I went in and out of abusive relationships. I was raped more than once. I put myself in many bad situations.

At age 13 I took my first drink. I remember how nice it felt to feel confident and not so anxious. It also covered up the inner turmoil I kept inside, that at the time, I didn’t understand. That’s also the age I started cutting myself.  It didn’t take long for me to use alcohol to self-medicate.

The drinking got progressively worse in my late 20’s and it went downhill from there. It became my way of covering up pain and erasing bad memories.

At one point mouthwash was actually my drink of choice and I would drink a big bottle of it daily. I even drank hand sanitizer when there was nothing else. Cisco (a cheap wine with very high alcohol content) then became all I ever drank, and I would go through about 3 or 4 of the big bottles in a day.

I drank 24/7, literally. My bottle was even by my bedside at night. If I woke up in the night, I would take a drink. You didn’t see me without a bottle in my hand very often.

It got increasingly worse in 2007 after my dog  of almost 11 years died. I did try and quit cold-turkey once, but then had a seizure. So I just continued to drink. By then I was drinking a bottle of Schnapps a day. I threw up all day long.

Sometimes my stomach just didn’t want to hold it down, but I forced it, because otherwise the withdrawals were horrible.  The people that were making sure I had my alcohol were really only helping to kill me, but at the time, I thought they truly cared. No one liked to see me go through withdrawals. Then again, no one tried to seek help for me either.

I just happened to have a doctor’s appointment one day, and when I went in, they called an ambulance on the spot, as the routine tests showed my oxygen level was down to 60. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital, where they found a ton of things wrong with me, all due to my drinking. I have polyneuropathy, congestive heart failure, liver damage, kidney problems, and anemia. I had to have a blood transfusion while I was there.

While in the hospital, I went through withdrawal but didn’t notice the horrific symptoms due to all the meds they were giving me. I promised myself I would not pick up a drink again when I got out. I haven’t yet.

Drinking ages you. It also messes with your brain so badly, that even after you stop, your memory is terrible and things you used to be able to do well, you just can’t do anymore. I now have about 13 meds I have to take daily because of my alcoholism.

I am going through many hardships right now, and staying sober through it all is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Drinking was my crutch. One that I no longer have.

Sure, I could drink, but I must think of my kids, and think  back to how awful I was at the end. If I were to drink again, I would not live longer than 6 months max. Always remember that as an addict, every time you quit, then start again, it’s even worse than before.

My goal today is to help others who might be struggling with any addiction, be it an eating disorder, to drug abuse. Here are some tips for anyone currently going through addiction, or anyone recovering:

  1.  Alcohol or any drug for that matter is simply a temporary fix to our problems. Our issues don’t go away, we just don’t feel them. Addiction only masks the problem. I drank 24/7 because if for one moment I was sober, those feelings came back. Well, drinking 24/7 will kill you. It almost did me. Do not wait to hit rock bottom like I did. Get help.
  2. If you are recovering like me, and it feels like things are getting worse because of anxieties (a common side effect), seek help immediately. I’m in therapy which helps a little, but what helps the most is having a WONDERFUL support system in my blogging community. I had to give up many friends in real life because they triggered me, and they still used. My online friends are my best friends, and when I’m having one of those days where I feel like I want to drink, I go to that site and talk to them. If you have a support system, then call on them when the urge overcomes you. I’m not an AA person due to my social anxiety, (which I am working on), so I have done this without AA, but for those of you able, I would greatly suggest going to AA. I hear it helps tremendously. Do not give into that little voice telling you to take a drink, or drug, or cut yourself, or throw up, or whatever, to make it all go away.
  3. Stay away from trigger areas and people. I can not stress this enough. Many things will trigger memories of good times drinking or drugging and that makes it very hard to resist. Stay away from these triggers whenever possible.
  4. Boredom is another thing that brings on the urge to drink or abuse drugs. Try to find a hobby if you don’t work. Right now I have started making candles. It makes me feel as though I have accomplished something.
  5. If you are still addicted, remember you are not a bad person, and you are certainly not alone. Addiction is powerful. Please seek help to stop before it is too late.

If you are struggling with sobriety like I am, just keep a support system handy. I have a page on Facebook called Recovering & Current Alcoholics/Addicts & the People Who Love Them. Feel free to like the page and share your story, or just go there for support. Every day I try to put up something positive, whether it be a picture or a quote, no matter how negative I may feel. My support system has been my saving grace.

I struggle every day with my sobriety. I also have to face the fact that no matter how long I’m sober, those cravings will sneak up on me, but I have to remain strong. Nineteen months sober on March 24th, 2012. It seems like a lifetime ago since I last drank, but I have a long way to go.

About Charity Crenshaw…

Charity Crenshaw is a mother, animal lover, and recovering alcoholic. Visit her on her page: http://www.thoughts.com/SnoopsMama/profile or her Facebook page.

As you can see, Charity’s online community and their support have been the keys to her sobriety. She told me she wants to serve as an inspiration to those suffering with addiction. Social connection has been studied at great lengths, and has been found to be one of the top promoters of resilience. Would you kindly take a moment to leave a word of encouragement for Charity. It will help her more than you know.

Thank you Charity for sharing your story. I know it was not easy for you. 

xoxEDxox

    32 Comments

    1. In your second sentence you say “my goal is to release the shame”. Getting over feelings of guilt and shame is so incredibly important. The less you feel shame the less you will need to overcome your negative feelings and the less you will feel craving.

      • CharityNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Frank, actually Erica wrote that as a short summary of my story. But, what you said IS true and I do feel shame. Shame for how I treated people when I drank. Shame for things that weren’t my fault. I really need to overcome all of the negativity I feel. Thank you for your response. 🙂

    2. HeatherNo Gravatar says:

      Nice post which It can not stress this enough. Many things will trigger memories of good times drinking or drugging and that makes it very hard to resist. Stay away from these triggers whenever possible. Thanks a lot for posting.

    3. SoberJulieNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Charity,
      It’s amazing how sweet life is once we slip out from under that suffocating fog!
      Keep comin back sister….off to check you FB page.
      Julie

    4. I am so glad you are sharing this and talking about it online, Charity! Sharing the hard things helps us to heal. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and my online friends have been a godsend for me. It is awesome how far you have come and you just keep on keeping on, one day at a time!

    5. Anonymous says:

      Thank you for sharing your personal story. I will pray for you….You are a Strong Woman & you will remain sober!!!!!

    6. BellaNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Charity,

      Your kids must be so happy to have you back 🙂 One day at a time ….

      thanks for sharing your story and I hope it inspires others

      take care
      Bella 🙂

    7. CharityNo Gravatar says:

      I would like to thank all of you for your kind comments. Unfortunately right now I am unable to log on to this site from pc. It’s hard to reply on my phone, so I just want to thank each of you for your kindness and support. =)

    8. SharonNo Gravatar says:

      Charity –
      I am so proud of you! Even though I know this story, it was still difficult to read. I have always wanted for you to see yourself through our eyes. You are such a strong woman, and I love you dearly. I am excited to see you continue to reach out to others who need the same help that you have needed and the support that you continue to need. Many will know exactly where you are coming from and will make the changes needed because you have been willing to be so open and honest.
      I am always praying for you.

    9. Ana CardosoNo Gravatar says:

      Good Luck to Charity. Stay strong, remember that your children are depending on you and that you are the captain of your soul and your destiny. The future is going to be great!

      Sending hugs!

      A

    10. MelissaNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for being brave enough to share your story in order to help others. Support will follow you. Stay well. Everytime it feels hard, remember all of us are here to support you.

      • CharityNo Gravatar says:

        I truly appreciate that. I need all the support I can get sometimes. I really do hope I can help someone else though..=)

    11. CathyNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Charity for sharing your story. It is very generous of you. Continue to take good care of yourself you deserve the best!

    12. S.A. DavilaNo Gravatar says:

      Charity…I am so proud of you! Great piece. One which I am sure will touch others!

      I love you. xo

      Thank you, ED, for giving Charity this platform. Be blessed.

      • CharityNo Gravatar says:

        Love you, girl. Thank you for being one of those wonderful friends. =) <3

        • Erica DiamondNo Gravatar says:

          This is why I work so hard for this platform. To do exactly that- share and teach others through people like Charity. Charity, thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. Sending strength your way.

        • CharityNo Gravatar says:

          And thank you again for allowing me to. =)

    13. SusanNo Gravatar says:

      Well, Charity, I can say anytime lady! (from the other site)

    14. Janette says:

      Thanks for sharing your struggle. It helps others. Keep the faith … keep strong.

    15. Paula FNo Gravatar says:

      Charity when you feel like you can’t go on, take comfort and solace in this wonderful online community. You were smart enough to know a support system when you see it. We are all here for you. Stay strong and keep going!!

      • CharityNo Gravatar says:

        I will definitely do that. The more friends I have online the better. The more support I have the better. I’m really going through some tough times at the moment, but I’m still staying strong. Thank you for reading. =)

    16. Carol RothNo Gravatar says:

      Charity,
      Thank you for the courage to share your struggles. You are a true inspiration. Keep fighting and if I can ever do anything to support you, please know my door (or email) is always open.

      • CharityNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you so much. As I said, my online friends are my support system. Without them, I’m not so sure I would have made it this far. I appreciate your kindness. =)

    17. Andrea says:

      Keep fighting Charity. You are an inspiration.

    18. JaneNo Gravatar says:

      You are awesome for working so hard to turn your life around. Keep fighting the good fight. I hope you feel a tremendous source of pride in yourself for doing so.

      • CharityNo Gravatar says:

        Okay, it seems my PC is making it really hard to make comments. So here I go again trying to make another. Thank you very much for reading and for such kind words..=) I guess it is the ONE thing besides my kids that I’m proud of myself for….

    19. JulieNo Gravatar says:

      Charity keep fighting for your children. They need their mother. Your story was hard to read but I am glad I did. I wish you a long life of sobriety.

      • CharityNo Gravatar says:

        I am every day. That’s the one major thing I think about when I crave a drink. Thank you for reading my story…=)

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