It’s been 397 days since I stopped drinking.
397 days since my cute little sugar skull wine glasses turned into toothbrush and pen holders.
397 days since the rest of the alcohol related paraphernalia in my house went in the trash.
397 days since the whole world changed and brightened and a new life started for me.
A life of books and church and movie nights and a nutrition degree and writing and so much freedom and joy.
Don’t misunderstand me – there has been plenty of hard too.
My autoimmune disease brings incredible pain at times from which there is no escape.
And, though neither broken foot is a treat, my right foot is unbearable at times.
And we have some serious life stresses right now that just have to be faced head on.
And I quickly learned that I was masking my anxiety disorder with wine and had to learn to manage it. Deep breathing, Valor EO, and, most of all, my Wonderpup, Henry, are my saving graces.
Despite the rough stuff, though, it’s a wonderful life with my better half, my Buggle, my Henry, my family and friends, church, writing, books, and, now, coaching.
More than anything, I am thankful to God for giving me grace and a whole new lease on life. Every day, I’m thankful.
I say this all to say how much I HATE the beast that is substance abuse.
I learned earlier tonight that an old friend from my town, who went to our church, whose children are younger than mine, was living in a facility to get a fresh start, but was ultimately unable to be free. She passed away from an overdose.
I have no judgment. We are all in the same boat.
My heart is just broken for her family, especially for her babies.
And, prior to learning of her death, I had some things I had been meaning to share. But this has certainly lit a fire.
Though her death was related to another substance, alcohol, in my mind, is every bit as dangerous, if not more so, because people tend to consider it safe as it is legal.
I saw this article last week and the information stuck with me and I felt led to pass it along:
Even what most people would consider moderate drinking can drastically shorten a person’s lifespan.
When we consider that the rates of alcohol abuse are skyrocketing among women, that alcohol is a potent neurotoxin, and that alcohol is a carcinogen, linked to cancers, such as breast cancer, with only a small daily intake, there are definitely many issues with this legal drug.
Of course, that doesn’t even take into consideration alcohol related accidents and deaths.
It is definitely not the safe drug it is often thought to be.
And many times people are reluctant to seek help when they do have a problem with it because it is so socially acceptable and they don’t want to be “branded” somehow.
It’s time to change the way we think.
And, then, in the case of my friend, there is the opioid crisis.
Heroin related deaths have quadrupled in my county in recent years.
From what I understand from reading the report from the county sheriff, there is a more pure strain that is becoming available and also some of what is available is laced with fentanyl. Either of these can prove deadly.
I honestly don’t know what the answer is to this problem in the big picture.
I do know, regardless of the substance, that help is available to people who are struggling and I would just beg them to take it. And, if you don’t make it the first time – or the fifth – to keep trying.
There are resources that are always available:
In addition to these, there are tons of online support groups. Just consult Google and you’ll find plenty.
And, as always, if you are in crisis, PLEASE present to the nearest emergency room. Regardless of your insurance status, they WILL help you.
This stuff is no joke. It’s life or death.
You are not alone. You are worth saving. And you can be helped.
Be well, everybody.
Grace and blessings.