A Decade of Sobriety.

Today marks one decade of sobriety for me. I look at this date as a sober date because I got sober when I was unable to get alcohol in a jail cell. People would think I would’ve become sober after my accident but 14 months of being home on bail without having coping skills to deal with that terrible mistake led to some seriously heavy drinking. Countless nights, I can’t remember. Alcohol made me hate myself worse than anyone could ever imagine but it seemed like the only answer.

When I went to jail I had always planned to drink again after my prison sentence was complete. I dreamt of alcohol in the beginning. I probably wrote letters to friends about going out when I got home years in the future. I didn’t understand how a life could be lived without alcohol.

(Below a photo with my sisters while I was incarcerated.)

When I came home years later I felt a little bit differently. I decided if I was going to drink again, I would wait til after I was off parole. And then something really terrible happened. Jacob died. I didn’t think of drinking to cope with the pain. And I still don’t think of drinking to cope with the pain. It took a while to realize that alcohol didn’t cross my mind in those really hard moments and when that realization hit, it was an incredible experience of freedom. I don’t drink. I don’t need to. I don’t want to.

I survived prison, the loss of my husband, and the loss of many family members over the past decade. I got through all of it sober. I felt all the pain. I have survived. Not only that, I have thrived.

I have celebrated marriages and births. I have been to countless concerts. Went on a bunch of adventures. Graduated college. Landed an incredible job that launched my career. And I got a second incredible job and am on my way to Denver, Colorado to start it next week. I am living. I am living sober. I remember people. I remember events. I remember important moments. I smile with true happiness. I notice small things again.

I am a decade sober. It hasn’t been easy but I wouldn’t want it any other way. If you are struggling know that there is hope. You can come back from the worst mistakes you have ever made. You can live a good life. I am proof of that and there are so many others who are doing it too. Don’t give up. Live one day at a time.

(Below a photo with my brother in Chicago on our way to Denver! Me:10 years sober. Ryan:9 months sober.)

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Lauren Reed

Lauren Reed

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