Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine someone in your life is having issues that keep spiraling out of control. Now imagine that no matter how much that person tries, they can’t seem to climb up to safety and on the rare chance they do, they fall all the way back down again. This is how I felt for as long as I can remember and due to this feeling, a family history of alcohol addiction, and peer pressure, I gave into drinking.
When Did My Drinking Begin?
I was raped when I was 15-years-old. Some family members told me that if I wouldn’t have put myself into that situation, I would not have been raped. On top of that, I already felt like the outsider and I always felt ignored. I had twin sisters, one year older than me, who were straight A students. I had a brother, one year younger than me, and he could do no wrong. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, nothing I did would meet my family’s expectations.
After I was raped, I didn’t feel understood, so I began acting out. I had left with a friend on a Friday for the weekend so we could hang with guys and we drank a lot. I called my parents on Sunday (they had no idea where I was until I called them). They came and got me but I was grounded for one year. Since my parents were divorced, I had two different groundings. At my dad’s house, I could go to school, come home, and that was it. My mom decided that I couldn’t be out of her sight. What did this mean for me? She took me to all the parties she went to and I drank with her. I got addicted to alcohol fast.
What Happened After I Began My Alcohol Addiction?
When my alcohol addiction began, I was drinking every weekend. I was going to school with a hangover every Monday. Just a few months later, I learned the family’s trade, which was to get drunk for any reason at all: birthdays, holidays, deaths, break-ups, divorces, new relationships, and the list goes on and on. That was the time when I began drinking three to four nights a week.
From that point forward, my life was headed downhill. I acted provocatively which I learned from some family members too. I turned my rape and my need for attention into something that I could control. I got guy’s attention and had them buy me drinks. I thought I had it all but I was completely wrong. I have no idea how many times I blacked out and I still can’t remember everything. At 17-years-old, I got pregnant and had my first child. I was sober from the time I knew I was pregnant until two days after he was born. Then I was back to my old ways. I would drink and drive and not have a clue where I was half the time. When I was 21, I was pregnant again. I did stay sober during that pregnancy as well until about a month after he was born. I joined a co-ed softball team and was back to drinking three nights a week, sometimes more.
Later that year, I got my first DUI after putting my car in a ditch. I never went to jail and since all they gave me was fines and non-reporting probation, I didn’t take it seriously at all. I continued to drink. My husband divorced me not long after that and I did what my family taught me–I got drunk because of the divorce.
My alcohol addiction continued and got worse until I was 23-years-old and I got my second DUI. This time, I was pulled over and spent the night in jail. Luckily, I only spent that night there and this time, I was given fines, a reporting probation, and I was sent to Impact Weekend, which changed my life. I have been sober since April 8, 2011 and I went to two-and-a-half years of group and individual counseling. I still have troubles but I know how to manage them now.
Why Do I Want to Share My Story?
My story is one I want to share with everyone because I know what it is like to grow up in an addictive family. I also know what it feels like to be battling with yourself all your life. I want to help others realize that no matter how far down you have fallen, you can pull yourself up. However, you have to decide to do so. No court and no other person is going to be able to make you get sober or stay sober until you tell yourself you are ready. I know that was the case for me and I am hoping to help others realize that as well.
Cara Havens, author of Overcoming Any Addiction: Finding the Inner You, works as a professional freelance writer. Cara began her sobriety in April of 2011 and specializes in addiction and addiction recovery. She also enjoys spending time with her three children and her husband.