Monday, January 24, 2011

How had I come to this?

Things don't always go according to plan. I realized this, once again, today. 

I found an open house about a mile from where I currently live for a modestly priced home. If I had money saved for a down payment, I would be able to afford this home. I was curious what I would be able to purchase on my income, so I checked out the house and accidentally fell in love with it. 

Then I got to asking myself how I came to be at this point in my life - in my mid-to-late 20s with no money in savings, lots of college debt, only just beginning my career, and living in my parent's house. How is it that I've come so far, but still can only dream about living on my own? Everyone's story is different. While my life is largely an open book, this is one part I have generally kept to myself. Despite what many people think, it's not all that easy to say, "Hi. My name is C, and I'm an alcoholic."

I had a generally normal college life, the first go-around. I had a crush on a different boy on campus on every week, I spent my weekends traveling the Midwest for concerts, and I loved staying up late to just be with my friends. I turned 21 just before my senior year, and while I had tried alcohol on a couple occasions my freshman year, I chose to abstain until I was legally able to partake in the spirits. 

Throughout my senior year I didn't drink all that often because I had quite a few responsibilities and a loaded semester in school. But those times I did drink, things got crazy. After going in and out of the hospital more than a few times and half-hearted threats at taking my own life, I was given an ultimatum just a couple weeks after I graduated college: Go to rehab and get help or find another place to live. Seeing as I had no job, I went to rehab. 

Thus began the longest summer of my life. I was in an outpatient treatment facility, where I spent 7 hours a day in therapy and group sessions. Just like in the movies, we all sat in a circle and said the same phrase: Hi my name is ________ and I'm an alcoholic (or addict)." And, yes, we even said, "Hi _________" and clapped when they finished sharing. It took a lot to keep me from giggling at the cliche-ness of it all. But I also realized alcohol wasn't the problem - it was a symptom of a bigger issue. 

Depression. I've made a post about it before, so I won't go into too much detail here. Depression is very real among diabetics. No, I can't contribute all my absurd drinking and depression issues to living with D, but I would consider it a contributing factor. 

I laugh, rather sarcastically, when I think about the fact I spent a summer in rehab. I attended AA meetings (though that was fairly short lived). Especially when I think about my ridiculous reputation as a goody-two-shoes in high school (which was entirely true - every word of it). No one would ever guess sweet little C spent her days with meth heads and crack addicts, trying to overcome addiction and suicidal thoughts. I still find it rather comical, in a darkly humorous sort of way. 

Though I'm definitely not proud of my past, I've finally come to a point in my life where I feel like I've moved past it. I've reached the turn in the road where those mistakes are no longer part of my reality but part of my past. I've moved far enough along in the journey to feel healed. While in rehab, I realized how much I had to offer the diabetes community. I knew my experiences were in no way unique, but maybe by sharing my story I could prevent others from making my same mistakes. Maybe I could catch them before they fell down the rabbit hole as far as I did. I also realized that even if I don't catch them early, I can be there to hold their hand on their way back up. While still in treatment, I enrolled in college, for a second time - this time to earn my degree in dietetics. A month after graduating from rehab, I walked into my first nutrition class.

People aren't always what they seem. Everyone has a story to tell. My name is C, and I'm an alcoholic.

***If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and/or addiction, here are resources you can use to help find your way.
Alcoholics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous

"When journeying down the long dark road, we must continue on and never give up faith we will one day reach our destination - no matter how ugly that road appears before the naked eye." ~Reed Murphy


  1. Incredible. It just has to be said. Honesty, bravery and integrity all rolled into one post. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it doesn't sound like the cliched ending or response but it sure deserves a fairytale one

  2. i'm glad you shared this story. i like learning more about everyone, how awesome of you to tell everyone something about you that takes courage to share.
    ps - you're awesome.

  3. That's quite a story C. You are certainly bang on with the fact that everyone has their own story to tell. I thank you for sharing yours. What each individual goes through in their past shapes their future. In your case, from what I know about you and what I've just read, I think your experience made you a stronger, more confident and self-assured person, your own being, not someone who always seeks to please others... It's great!
    If I may, I will suggest another resource for dealing with depression:
    Oh, and don't worry, your own the right path to home ownership!!! ♥ ~Nads

  4. Such raw honesty, I love it! You should be proud of yourself for sharing this story and making it through it all. You'd be surprised how many people will benefit from your story. Congrats on how far you've come, and good luck with your continuing journey. Bravo! =)

  5. your own the right path???? Sorry, that should read: You're on the right path!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this - I know you'll reach people who need to hear a story like this, so badly - you can be their shiny light at the end of the tunnel.

    Have I told you lately how awesome you are?


  7. Thanks for sharing, C. I am glad we are both open books! I appreciate the honesty; I am sure you will help many who are also struggling.
    I also wanted to THANK YOU for your advice you have given me on Juvenation :)

  8. That is a very moving, brave post, C. Thank you for sharing that and I think there are many others out here who can take inspiration from your story

  9. How very brave of you to share this. And through that bravery you are doing a great service to others.

    Sometimes life brings you through some crazy situations, and it is the brave ones, like you, who can receive and appreciate the lessons learned and be ready and willing to take the next unknown step.

    I love you sister, and appreciate all that you do!

  10. Echoing what everyone else said. You are an inspiration and I am so glad I met you!