Emily's Recovery Story
" Be the person YOU always needed, NOT the person you think THEY need" - Emily
Emily Lynn Paulson
Live in Seattle
I started drinking as a teenager, and my drinking waxed and waned through the years. It wasn’t that bad things happened every time I drank, but every time something bad did happen, alcohol was involved. My drinking ramped up a ton when I became a mom, partly because my stress level went up and I used it to self-medicate, and partly because it is so accepted and promoted in mommy wine culture. I thought my drinking was normal, and I kept raising the bar on what was ok.
I always assumed that when someone quit drinking, it meant they just couldn't handle it. But I “had it all together", and I not only functioned, but excelled at most things I set my mind to. Until it started to catch up to me. So I tried all of the typical fixes and created rules for myself around my drinking, all of which I’d eventually break. The truth was, when I enjoyed drinking, I couldn’t control it. And when I controlled it, I couldn't enjoy it.
Finally, after ignoring it long enough, a very average day brought me to sobriety. A normal night with friends ended with a weekend long blackout. Blackouts were normal for me, but this one was different, because I’d blacked out an entire weekend. I was literally missing out on my own life. I was so DONE with that feeling of being disgusted and guilty and ashamed and finally said "enough is enough".
When I got sober I had to navigate friendships, my marriage, and being a parent, all without relying on my liquid remedy. None of the stress of those things went away overnight, but I found that without alcohol, the stress of them did begin to decrease. Over time, I’ve found what works for me. So much of my recovery has been through the quiet moments, reading and writing and learning more about myself. Ultimately I worked to uncover the reasons I felt I needed to drink in the first place.
I utilize connection, through groups like AA, SHE RECOVERS, Sober Mom Squad, and 1000 HD. I meditate, exercise, use a gratitude journal daily, and put my sobriety before everything else.
I always thought, "I cannot imagine not ever being able to have a drink again" as if it was a punishment. But now I feel like I've been given a gift. I feel like I'm out of prison. Yes it’s hard sometimes, but I don't care. The BEST things in life are F-ing hard. And it’s gotten progressively easier and BETTER every day. My VERY WORST DAY SOBER is infinitely better than my best day ever was when I was drunk.
I truly believe my purpose now is to educate and share my story. I didn’t know or understand how dangerous alcohol was, even when I was drowning in it. I didn’t know that someone “like me” could have an addiction problem. When you are surrounded by a world of women who are also “taking the edge off,” it can be difficult to see, so I want to pay it forward for the next woman who needs help.
My advice for people who are getting sober: every day is a new day! It only gets better, it really does. Lean on other sober people, find your group of sober companions, use a tracking app, practice gratitude, and radical self care! You are worth it.