The history of my addiction & recovery

I am a Korean Adoptee, that was adopted by a childless American couple at 9 1/2 months old. I never formed a bond with them, and even though they’d probably never openly admit it, I believe they also struggled with forming a true parent-child bond with me.

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As an adult who is now a parent, looking back, I will say that they had unrealistic expectations and were overly critical of me. They were “religious” to the highest extreme and used their religious beliefs to control my every thought & move. Both parents were egocentric and narcissistic.

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Around age 4, I started displaying signs of mental illness. I was a highly stressed, worry-prone and anxious child. I would break out in hives often and my O.C.D. started to disrupt my life while I was in Kindergarten.

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I was sexually abused by age 5, by a non-family member, but didn’t feel safe to tell anyone. The physical and emotional/mental abuse began at home around the same time. I suffered silently. I always felt different. I always felt alone. I always felt like something was missing. I desperately sought out a connection with others but did not know how to create & maintain a healthy relationship, since I had never experienced love or connection with anyone. I so badly wanted to fit in, but as an adoptee, my life was one big identity crisis.

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I’m an 80’s kid who grew up when the “Just Say No” ad campaign & the U.S. “War on Drugs” was most prevalent.  What I learned at school, was reinforced at home. I was told to say no to drugs and not to fall to peer pressure, but there was never any real education as to what drugs I would come in contact with and why I should say no, other than you would “fry your brain” as taught via the popular video that showed an egg frying in a frying pan. I have always been a curious person. I always searched for certainty and facts. To be honest, it just made me more curious.

I smoked my first cigarette at age 12. I was scared & it really wasn’t a pleasant experience, but I remember feeling this rush of excitement as I did something on my own free will. I remember feeling cool. I remember feeling in control for once in my life.

At age 13, I was offered Marijuana for the first time. I didn’t feel pressured and since I had never been given any substantial reason to say no, other than I would get in trouble. I said decided to try it and see what it was really about. The first time I got high, I felt like I was floating. I was numb to the pain & stress I had felt my entire life. It was a great feeling. It was like a mental vacation for me. I couldn’t understand why they said drugs were so bad because I felt relief for the first time.

After that, I got addicted to the feeling – the thrill of doing something I wasn’t supposed to, feeling like I belonged to the “in-crowd” and having an escape. Pot led to experimenting with alcohol. I got braver and started drinking during lunch while I was in high school. I thought that I was cool and that my friends & boys would like me better.

I could no longer endure the abuse & the terms in which I was living in so left home at age 15. It felt good to be free and be free, but being on my own at that young age came with so many more challenges and A LOT of guilt from my parents.

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I started drinking every night. I had a milk crate full of hard liquor. I would spend my weekends drinking a 12-pack of Budweiser along with a fifth of Jose Cuervo. This led to so many poor choices revolving around men, getting involved with the wrong crowds and heavier use.

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My drug and alcohol use came to a screeching halt when I found out I was pregnant with my first child at age 18, but it didn’t take long to return to using alcohol to numb the pain. I struggled with an off-and-on relationship with drugs and became more dependent on alcohol as the years flew by. Drugs and alcohol only provided a temporary fix to my mental anguish and false happiness but left me with a history of bad decisions, failures and a lot of shame. Recreational drug use became habitual drug use. The problem was that I was a functioning drug addict. No one knew. I still went to work. I still took care of my responsibilities. I was a “highly functional druggie”. I could hold conversations, perform my job duties higher than a kite and no one could ever tell. I felt even more in control of my life, knowing that I could find relief to my pain, overcome my social anxiety, and hide what a mess I truly was.

In 2012, I found myself completely lost once again, back at rock bottom and that is when I stumbled across someone and something that would change my life. I found Becky Brossett who introduced me to fitness. I found a new crowd, which consisted of people who were positive, high achievers and pushed me to be a much better version of myself. I started taking care of myself and stopped smoking and stopped drinking. I started overcoming my past. I started to become a better person and forgive myself for the mistakes I had made in the past. I realized I did the best that I could with what I had. I started helping others, which helped me heal myself. The downside to that was that I started to lose myself in others problems. I started to become more of a people pleaser and found myself neglecting my needs to try to fix others. I also had found a new sense of confidence and started digging into my adoption. Searching for my birth family, connecting with other Korean Adoptees and taking a DNA test unlocked some doors that had never been opened and I found myself in a deep dark depression. I tried to ignore it and my drinking became heavier and heavier. Feeling numb to my pain became the thing I searched out the most.

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To order your DNA kit, click on this link.

Mid-2015, everything came crashing down around me. 2 days after my sons 5th birthday, on June 9th, I found myself facing my 3rd divorce as my husband of 6 years and I were separated and my 2 oldest children moved in with their Dad. I was homeless, living in someone else’s home on an air mattress with my son. I had hit rock bottom once again and couldn’t find any reason to pick myself back up again. I didn’t have the strength.

After a life-changing event, my husband started an intense out-patient treatment program to treat his PTSD. He started to find peace and answers to his problems. He kept encouraging me to do the same as he learned more about mental illness, realizing he had missed all the signs I had displayed for the 8+ years we had been together.

Finally, at the end of August 2015, I checked myself into the same mental health facility, as an inpatient. The day I  voluntarily checked myself in, I was suicidal and completely hopeless & lost.

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7 days later, I was discharged with a new mindset, new lease on life and a new set of coping skills. I continued treatment as an inpatient for several weeks. While in therapy, it became apparent to the therapists that I had formed a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol and was still abusing it as a coping mechanism. I was encouraged to take a look at my behavior and make a decision to change it. It was also pointed out that my anxiety and depression medications became less effective with alcohol consumption.

I wasn’t ready to admit that I had a problem, but by the end of September, I stopped ignoring how much control alcohol had over my life and how it was negatively affecting my life. I set the goal to only drink 5 times in the month of October. I reserved my “partying time” for the end of October because I had plans to visit Miami for a few days.

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When we arrived in Miami, it was customary to party with our Floridian friends and we were there to celebrate a friends achievement and it just happened to be my husbands 39th birthday. On October 24, 2015, we started drinking early, pre-gaming before the event that began at 5 p.m. We started with beer and red-bull and vodka since we knew we had to stay awake because we had planned to have an after-party at Scarlett’s, our favorite Club in Miami. We continued to drink bottle after bottle of Grey Goose from 5 until we arrived at the Club. (I can’t even remember when we arrived at the Club because I was already so wasted.) I have very limited memory of the time spent at the Club. We left around 2 a.m., but I don’t remember even leaving, although there was a picture of me awake as we waited for the car from the Valet. The next morning I woke up feeling disoriented and not fully aware of my actions from the night before. I felt so much shame and regret. I could not think coherently. I felt brain dead. I declared once and for all on my friends couch that I didn’t ever want to feel this way again. I shared on Facebook that I made the decision to get sober.

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I have not had a sip of alcohol since around 2 a.m the morning of October 25, 2015. It hasn’t been easy, but I believe getting sober was the best birthday present I could ever give my husband and the best gift I could give my children and myself.

Getting sober has been challenging in ways I never imagined. It has been humbling & extremely eye-opening on so many levels. I have had to learn who the real me is for the first time in my life. I have had to create new habits and routines. I have had to re-evaluate relationships I had. I have had to 100% feel all the feelings that I had ignored and avoided my whole life. I have had to rediscover how to do everything sober. I have had to remind myself nearly every day why I can never go back to drinking..because that one drink today would easily become a case of beer, maybe not in a month, but most definitely within 6 months.

I have held myself publicly accountable and shared my journey openly since day 1, which at first, much to my surprise inspired and influenced others to take a look at their relationship with alcohol and decide to start their sobriety journey too. If it weren’t for the sober community, which turns out to be bigger and more supportive than I ever imagined, I could not have made it as far as I have. I am thankful for everyone who has supported me and kept me inspired along my journey to staying 100% sober. I now can say I am truly living life to its fullest and all my fears that I felt regarding sobriety were completely invalid.

Because of this, I have decided to pursue a Life Coach and Recovery Coach Certification so I can continue to pay it forward.

If you are reading this story and any of it resonates with you, let’s connect. You are not alone. We are not alone. If I can get sober, anyone can. I promise it’s worth it.

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5 Reasons Why

5 Reasons Why

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5 Reasons Why to Get Sober

Let’s do something fun today!

I love this exercise. It is good to do to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and a great exercise when the cravings and temptations become unreal.

Let’s list 5 things that you thought you’d miss, the things you feel you had to “sacrifice” (or let’s use the word limit) because of your lifestyle change AND then list 5 things you have to gain (or maybe have already gained!) from this getting sober! I bet we’ll all see how much more we have to gain than what we’ve given up 🙂 Excited to see these!

1 • I was afraid I’d be no fun & be boring
2 • I was afraid I’d lose my friends
3 • I was afraid I’d have no social life
4 • I was afraid I’d lose my identity
5 • I was afraid people would make fun of me

Turns out that I didn’t know how to have fun without alcohol, but I’ve spent the past 700 days trying new things, stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing things the old drunk-Mindy would have never considered doing. I am far from boring. Looking back, doing the same thing [getting smashed every weekend] over and over was the definition of boring. I lost people in my life and my social life changed, but it just reinforced who was my real friend who truly cared if I got better and supported me. I did lose part of my identity, but I didn’t lose who I was, I just lost a “security blanket” which caused me to work hard to find my self and learn who I was, which I like a whole lot better than party-girl-Mindy. Only one person has made fun of me to my face and called me boring, but when it was said, I just laughed because I had just came back from Los Angeles where I attended Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within where you are pushed WAY out of your comfort zone in an arena of nearly 10k people, pushing past their limiting beliefs and Hawaii, where I met new people, tried new food, flew in a helicopter for the first time and since then I have been out of the country where I snorkeled in Punta Cana, swam with stingrays and sharks and just recently I went skydiving…to me, those are not things someone who is boring would do.. But then again “boring” is subjective, depending on the persons perspective. I know see, doing the same thing, being found at the same place weekend after weekend [my old life], is what I consider boring.

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What I have gained since getting sober 700 days ago:

1 • More time now that I am spending less time getting drunk or recovering from a hangover
2 • More money now that I am not buying beer every day and then spending my money foolishly while under the influence.
3 • I make better decisions
4 • My relationships with my family members have improved now that I am not always tired/irritable from recovering from a hangover and now that they get my full attention vs. alcohol getting my attention
5 • I take better care of myself and respect my body and have a sense of pride that I have never felt before

……..And I have met a TON of new people who are part of the sobriety community that inspires me daily and helps keep me accountable to my goal of staying sober. To join my private group, click on this link. 

If you are reading this we should definitely connect on Social Media – You can find me on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube

One book that has greatly helped me, that I recently was gifted by Sarah Ordo is Sober As F**K. I highly recommend it. Click here to order your copy.

 

Surviving the Hurricane

I grew up in a sleepy little TEENY TINY coastal town in Northern California. I convinced myself that all there was to do there was “drink, do drugs, fuck, or fight” because it was such a small, boring town with nothing else to do.

I used to say that all the time. Isn’t it funny how self-absorbed we can be? We have beliefs that have been created by our own version of reality. We live by these belief systems and begin to believe our own BULLSHIT, while trying to convince others.

Whatever you believe comes true. Where you focus, energy flows. If you believe that all there is to do, is party, then you’ll never try to seek out any other options because you’ve convinced yourself that there isn’t any alternative.

In 2001, I moved to Texas. I moved to a town that was nearly 4 times the size of my hometown. Guess what everyone in this area believe? Most of the residents in our county will tell you that all there is to do is drink…….. because it’s a small boring town. Some will tell you it’s “just how things are done around here”. Talk to anyone who drinks frequently or has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and they’ll tell you the same. I’ve met people who live in large cities who’ll tell you that all there is to do is drink.

When I moved to Texas, guess what? I gravitated towards the drinkers. That’s where I felt most at home. I was drunk at my first Texas wedding within the first week of my arrival & hit up my first club within the first month.

I was a partier, but after being a resident of Washington County, Texas for about a year, I have to say I was shocked at how much alcohol was consumed. There was alcohol served at every function and I mean EVERY function. Baby showers, baby’s baptisms, first communions, baby’s 1st birthday parties, you name it. It was “normal”.

Their “normal” became MY “normal”. You know how the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them!”

This weekend we’re being held hostage in our house due to Hurricane Harvey. It’s predicted that our area is going to get about 20″ of rain. Houston and coastal towns like Rockport and Corpus Christi are getting hit HARD, by the heavy rain and high winds. [Keep Texas in your thoughts.].

I saw this on Facebook & I couldn’t help but think about the only 2 “Hurricane weekends” I’ve been through.

Growing up in California, there wasn’t any risk of tornadoes or hurricanes. In 2005 and 2008 I remember tropical storms that potentially threatened our area. My old employer was TERRIFIED of bad weather, so I always got time off whenever the weather seemed the least bit threatening. I remember those two “Hurricane Weekends”. All we did was PARTY for 3-4 days straight at friends. I remember in 2005 sitting outside getting wasted with a bunch of people, then hoping in a friends Winnebago and continuing drinking as we toured the county, with our kids. I remember in 2008, drinking all morning, afternoon and into the night for 3 days and playing wii at a friends house. I can’t remember any conversation that took place over those 2 weekends and don’t even hang out with any of those people anymore.

Hurricanes were just another reason to get wasted. I didn’t think about how thankful I was to be alive. I didn’t ever feel grateful for the fact that my boss paid me during those times he let me off because he wanted to make sure I was with my family and stayed safe. I didn’t think about how the Hurricanes could have came through our town and how unprepared we’d have been and unable to make the best decisions while intoxicated.

But now 671 days sober, I can sit back and reflect on how incredibly lucky I was to have never been harmed, or arrested during my irresponsible moments, that were all fueled by alcohol.

The one thing that sobriety has brought into my life is a greater sense of GRATITUDE & a higher level of self-awareness.

What is your definition of alcoholism and sobriety?

Over the summer, I made the decision to finally write a book, about my life. No sooner, did I set my intentions and shout it out to the universe, I won the book Sober As Fuck from Sarah Ordo on an Instagram contest. It was my first book I read on sobriety which inspired me even more. I highly recommend it. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.

To order click here:
http://amzn.to/2wcthgG

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It is so funny how similar all of our stories are, yet how incredibly different they are, as well as our journey towards sobriety. It looks different and feels different for everyone.

My life has been full of struggle, some out of my control that began before I was even born, when I was a child and had no control and in my adult-life, caused by my self-destructive, self-sabotaging behavior. 

My struggles and pain weren’t for nothing. They have become my gift. I share my story openly, in attempts to hold myself accountable while helping others, who feel alone with their own struggles.

My book is still in phase I. I will be sharing my story and life of addiction and sobriety journey, but I also want to include data, collected from others in the Sober Community.

I’d love for you to help me in collecting data, by filling out this form. (It is 100% anonymous, but feel free to reach out to me, if you’d like to share your story or network with me for extra support. Whether you are already on your own path to sobriety or are sober-curious, I’d love to hear from you.) Click on this link to complete the survey.

Sober Summer #2

Summertime is over.
The kids are back in school.

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I survived my second SOBER SUMMER!

The first year of my sobriety was easier than the second year. I totally didn’t expect the challenges I faced. I thought it would only get easier.

The first year I was fueled by my desire to prove that I could do it. I have always been motivated by a Challenge. If you tell me it’s impossible, you better believe I will prove to you that it IS possible.

Back in 2007, I decided that I wanted to learn how to play Poker. So I went to “Poker Night” (at a local bar, go figure) every Monday for weeks. Despite getting shit-faced drunk every Monday night, I learned how to play and ended up winning the Poker Tournament. I remember that night. I was so drunk, that I was chain smoking and all of the ashes from my cigarettes kept landing in my purse. After that night I and then never went back again and have yet to play a game of Poker again. To be honest, I totally forgot how to even play.  I often do things just for the Challenge, and no other reason.

This summer, was a struggle. My mind started to play tricks on me. I had proved to myself that I could do it. I got SOBER. I stayed sober for an ENTIRE year. I proved to myself & to others that I could do it. I even helped others get sober. I have grown so much. I have become so much more self-aware. I have learned new coping skills. I learned to drink LaCroix Waters at functions instead of beer. I’ve learned to turn to my sober sisters in times of distress. I have learned to immerse myself in Personal Development when my mind starts playing tricks on me & I feel tempted to revert to old habits. I had COUNTLESS ah-ha moments & realizations in the first 15 months, that reinforced why getting sober was the right decision. I realized that getting sober was one of the best decisions I have ever made, BUT I also realized that getting sober, didn’t erase my depression or anxiety. Getting sober didn’t fix our marriage problems. Getting rid of fake-friends who were only there for the party & the good times, was a blessing, but local sober friends are few and far between, and cleanliness can still set in (This topic is a whole different blog post).  When stress hit, when feelings of abandonment and overwhelm showed up in my life, I found myself craving alcohol. I found myself watching movies where people were doing drugs and thinking how I missed that “high” — you know when you feel happy & unstoppable because you have temporary relief from the pain you are feeling. I found myself rationalizing. I would catch myself thinking, “It’s been 18+ months. You have proved to yourself that you do not need alcohol. After all this time, You could probably just have 1.” Then I would think “What is the point of just 1 drink?” Then it would hit me, I HAD AN ALCOHOL PROBLEM – WHY TEMPT FATE? And then I would remind myself that, “that ONE drink” wouldn’t be worth it and “that ONE drink” would 6 months down the road turn into late night beer runs when the case of beer was almost empty.

I realized that getting sober was one of the best decisions I have ever made, BUT I also realized that getting sober, didn’t erase my depression or anxiety. Getting sober didn’t fix our marriage problems. Getting rid of fake-friends who were only there for the party & the good times, was a blessing, but local sober friends are few and far between, and cleanliness can still set in (This topic is a whole different blog post).  When stress hit, when feelings of abandonment and overwhelm showed up in my life, I found myself craving alcohol. I found myself watching movies where people were doing drugs and thinking to myself how I missed that “high” — you know when you feel happy & unstoppable because you have temporary relief from the pain you are feeling. I found myself rationalizing. The voice in my head would be telling me, “It’s been 18+ months. You have proved to yourself that you do not need alcohol. After all this time, you could probably just have 1.” Then I would think “What is the point of just 1 drink?” Then it would hit me, I HAD AN ALCOHOL PROBLEM – WHY TEMPT FATE? If I still think that “only 1 drink” was pointless, then I STILL have a problem. And then I would remind myself that I had gone through bad times, stressful times, and experienced sadness & had lots of things to celebrate and hadn’t needed a drink yet. I told myself that “that ONE drink” wouldn’t be worth it. I knew that “that ONE drink” would lead me right back to where I started. NOT overnight, but “that ONE drink” today, would end up with a case of beer in 6 months (or less).

Last summer (the first summer) was fairly easy because I stayed busy. I also stayed in my bubble. I went to counseling several times a month. This summer, the kids were older, they weren’t around as much as they were last summer because they were older, with social lives.  We didn’t travel as much as we did last summer because we did most of our family traveling during the spring vs. the summer. But this year, I have made it through a trip to Hawaii, a trip to Punta Cana, Miami, Orlando and New Orleans and had was surrounded by people drinking and places that serve alcohol and stayed true to my commitment.

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This year I got braver and started doing things/going places that I used to do/go, but just sober. I realized that the environment brought back emotions and memories that made me start craving alcohol.

This year I got braver and started doing things/going places that I used to do/go, but just sober. I realized that the environment brought back emotions and memories that made me start craving alcohol.

Ryan and I took Rebel out on one of his friend’s airboat one evening. Ryan bought beer for himself. This has always been a problem, but I couldn’t really explain why. To be honest, it wasn’t fair to expect him to stop drinking just because I decided to. I have always thought he had a drinking problem and still do, but it is not my place to make a decision for him or force him to quit drinking. He doesn’t understand, but it also really hurt because I felt that he wasn’t supporting me.  One of the main reasons I had quit drinking was because I felt it would repair our marriage & family.  I couldn’t put a finger on why it bothered me so much when he drank.

A flood of memories came rushing back that night on the airboat, from the moment I heard him crack open that first beer, watching him take sips and smelling the beer while we were out on the water, just like how it all started between us brought back a flood of memories. That was it…. I figured out why it bothered me.Everything I associate him with still revolves around our old life, and to be put in a familiar situation, it felt like I didn’t belong anymore. The only thing that was missing was me drinking. I have had to really focus on rebuilding a life without alcohol and letting go of those old memories and feelings of Me+Ryan+partying=life. It may have been the only life we’d known and spent the majority of our relationship living, but it didn’t have to stay that way. I also have had to remind myself to be patient. We spent over a decade living a life that revolved around partying….and 18 months wasn’t going to change things over night. But at the same time, I have found myself wanting to completely run away (again) and start all over alone, in a new town, with new people who never knew the old Mindy and re-establish life as the new me. It is a fantasy that I have where I start to convince myself that it would be easier that way.

Everything I associate him with still revolves around our old life, and to be put in a familiar situation, it felt like I didn’t belong anymore. The only thing that was missing was me drinking. I have had to really focus on rebuilding a life without alcohol and letting go of those old memories and feelings of Me + Ryan + partying = life. It may have been the only life we’d known and spent the majority of our relationship living, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. I also have had to remind myself to be patient. We spent over a decade living a life that revolved around partying….and 18 months wasn’t going to change things over night, especially since it was only me who had chosen to cut alcohol out of MY life. But it’s difficult when YOU decide to cut something out of your life, but still, share your life with someone else. I have found myself wanting to completely run away (again) and start all over alone, in a new town, with new people who never knew the old Mindy and re-establish life as the new me. It is a fantasy that I have where I start to convince myself that it would be easier that way.

To put it mildly, his summer has been a mind fuck!

I have come to the realization that I have to completely get to know myself AGAIN.
This time, it is the REAL ME, totally free of anything that would alter my being.
I have come to realize just how much time and money I have lost to my addictions.
I am coming to terms with the fact that sobriety didn’t fix my problems, but has given me the clarity I need to address each issue that I had avoided and allowed to continue to get worse.

This summer was tough, but I survived. I didn’t fall to temptation. I am still moving forward. This road is long, but I am not alone. The sober-community has been so supportive. And luckily this summer, I stumbled across Sarah Ordo and she gifted me her book, Sober as Fuck — it was the first book that I read about sobriety.

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I have a lot to sort out. I have a lot to learn. I have a lot of work to do on myself, but I finally feel equipped to do so. I have grown up and am ready to tackle all of those things that the scared little girl that lives inside of me feared and avoided.