I like bringing you guys, the group on the weblog to inform your tales.
At present we now have Tess Anneque Souray of Wellness With Tess right here to stroll us via her journey of trauma, alcoholism, rehab, restoration & wellness.
Tess & I related on Instagram & I discovered her story actually compelling. Dependancy is one thing we speak about quite a bit on The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER podcast & I’ve skilled it in my family so I feel sharing & listening to different individuals’s tales make the topic not so taboo.
On this put up Tess will get so actual & uncooked. Let’s get proper to this unbelievable story & welcome Tess to the weblog.
Hello, my identify is Tess & I’m a grateful alcoholic.
The primary time I heard the time period ‘grateful alcoholic,’ I cringed. It was the corniest cliché. One thing I bodily shrugged my shoulders & shut my eyes tightly at at any time when I heard it within the rooms. However boy, is it true.
My sobriety date is October 13, 2017. That’s 4.26 years, 51.16 months, or 1,559 days. However hey, who’s counting. I obtained sober after I was twenty-four years outdated. The craziest factor about my sobriety journey is that I didn’t even know I used to be an alcoholic. We’re usually the final to know. I assumed alcoholics had been outdated males sporting a tattered trench coat consuming whiskey out of a paper bag. Little did I do know it will be a time period I got here proud to name myself. Individuals usually requested me,
“How are you an alcoholic? You’re too younger to be one. Your life appears good, it might probably’t be true!”
Properly, in a method or one other that is how the story usually goes: first, consuming is enjoyable. Then it’s enjoyable with issues. And then you definitely’re simply left with a complete lot of issues. To inform you my story we should take a couple of steps again…so let’s rewind.
I’m a first-generation American who grew up in Southern California. My mother and father are from a small village in Germany & very a lot had been in pursuit of ( & achieved) the American dream. I grew up in a really European family with a youthful sister whom I beloved. My mother and father met when my mother was 17 & had come to the states collectively within the early 80s with two suitcases & a dream for a greater life.
My mother & I discovered English collectively studying my schoolbooks. It was clear our very European household stood out amongst the surfer youngsters of southern California. My first expertise at not becoming in. My mom was essentially the most beautiful girl: vivid blue eyes, ivory pores and skin, slicked black bleach blonde hair. She made buying at Dealer Joe’s appear like she was attending Paris Vogue Week. She made the whole lot round her lovely. Up till the teenage years life was very a lot ponies, rainbows, & white picket fences. I couldn’t complain.
However as soon as I turned 18 the whole lot modified.
Certain, I used to be your typical highschool child, sneaking alcohol from their father or mother’s liquor cupboard. I appeared 21 at 15, some would say, each a blessing & a curse. But it surely was one night time that I discovered my relationship with alcohol was totally different than the remainder: it’s what I used to numb the ache.
I used to be 17 after I discovered the household secrets and techniques that began to spill. With out telling elements of the story that aren’t mine to inform, I can inform you the way it affected me & led me to good ol’ rehab. In German tradition, it’s the norm to behave like the whole lot is ok. You wouldn’t dare give off the impression that one thing was incorrect, & you wouldn’t even take into consideration airing your soiled laundry. The whole lot needed to be image good. I at all times hated how phony that was. It appeared pretend & inauthentic from A to Z.
The night time I had found our household trauma, my finest pondering was to cease at Pete’s Liquor Retailer on PCH & get a room at a resort. I used to be 17 & nonetheless in highschool dwelling at dwelling. House now not felt like dwelling & the individuals in them felt like strangers. I simply wanted some peace & quiet so I may course of what the f*ck I had simply heard. Each household goes via shit. Ours wasn’t that a lot totally different from the others. But it surely was the kind of data that stops you from talking to 1 half of the household. I haven’t spoken to them in 8 years. I don’t even know in the event that they’re alive to be sincere. Nor do I actually care.
It was presently after I actually stepped my consuming up a notch.
I used to be lastly off to school, a spot the place I may begin contemporary. Or so I assumed. Everybody’s faculty days are wild & cliché. However mine was actually a blur. I had been in essentially the most poisonous relationship for 3 years, which ended traumatically. The one place I may transfer to from our crumby residence was the sorority home, & I by no means felt like I slot in. I began going off campus each night time to social gathering with out judgment. My days had been crammed with an dependancy to Vyvanse & Adderall. I in some way manipulated the physician to prescribe me the very best dose Vyvanse you possibly can get within the state of Texas due to my ‘German’ medical insurance. I don’t even understand how I managed to try this.
I’d labored in trend since I used to be 15. I used to be getting skinnier, & I used to be getting extra work. Appeared like a win-win. I’d drink just about something & the whole lot, for those who gave it to me- I wouldn’t say no. I might exit at night time with ‘mates’ who’d I simply met or individuals I barely knew. I’d hang around with anybody who needed to get drunk or excessive. I by no means went to school bars, as an alternative discovering myself assembly individuals throughout the metropolis of Dallas. I hated being alone, however the loneliness adopted me all over the place. I’d exit till 2, hit up no matter after social gathering was subsequent & get up in my mattress the subsequent day for sophistication, not understanding how I’d gotten there. I might drink till I handed out or obtained sick, whichever got here first. My drink of alternative began as a Jack & coke, then some Jack with a splash of coke, & then it grew to become straight whiskey.
Like they are saying in this system, 1 drink is just too many. 10,000 isn’t sufficient.
As my life started to unravel round me, individuals began to see that I wasn’t okay. Residing amongst 50 different women it’s onerous to maintain that type of secret while you’re the one one coming into the home on a Wednesday morning at 4 am. I obtained referred to as to a gathering with the sorority committee. They had been involved about my conduct, & rightfully so. They sanctioned me to Drug & Alcohol Counseling & necessary remedy with a therapist. I misplaced it. I couldn’t consider they had been forcing me to do remedy! They’d no thought what I used to be going via, however how dare they even recommend that?!
I reluctantly went to my first session. However to my shock, it was the primary time I felt heard in my total life. No less than right here I may inform her all of the horrible issues I had achieved. No less than confess my sins & clear a few of my responsible aware. Two months later, it was time to graduate & get the f*ck out of there. I left the minute after I acquired the diploma. I by no means took any pictures in my cap & robe. Trying again, I used to be the primary girl in my household to graduate from college. I want I might have taken a photograph for my dad. He was so proud, although I used to be an absolute mess of human being.
I arrived in LA like most younger adults do: keen, excited, & naive as will be. I had signed with one other company on the market & being from Orange County, I felt aware of LA. It doesn’t take lengthy to get caught up within the combine. I discovered a bunch of mates that loved to do the identical factor I did: exit to social gathering & fake to be having a superb time. Life was quick within the quick lane, & I had some experiences one may solely dream about. However I used to be depressing. My melancholy & my hangovers had been so dangerous that I began consuming within the mornings simply so I wouldn’t really feel as horrible. I knew it will take the sting off & make me really feel somewhat higher. Each determination I made was centered round partying & booze. LA was all intercourse, medicine & rock & roll. A lot of enjoyable, however then enjoyable with issues. And then you definitely’re left with a complete bunch of issues. It took lower than 6 months for me to be left with solely issues.
I wakened on January 23, 2017, fully hopeless. I wouldn’t say I used to be suicidal as a result of I feel I’m an excessive amount of of a coward to do something. However I assumed to myself, “If that is what life is about, I don’t need something to do with it.” My ideas had by no means been this darkish earlier than. I used to be usually a happy-go-lucky gal, however when the considered peace in heaven appeared higher than the fact of my shitty meaningless existence, I used to be scared.
On that day, I requested for assist.
I referred to as my therapist from Dallas who related me to the remedy heart. Inside three hours I had packed my luggage & was on my option to Tucson, Arizona. For the primary time in a very long time, I had a smile ear to ear. The motive force was confused with my over-enthusiastic look. I instructed him, “There’s no means in hell I’m leaving this place worse off than after I obtained right here.” It was the primary time I felt hopeful in a rattling very long time. I’m fairly certain he thought I used to be nonetheless excessive as a kite.
I went to remedy for melancholy, trauma, & anxiousness. I sat right down to do my first consumption questionnaire with the counselor, & he appears on the two dozen pages. It went one thing like this:
“We’ll put you on Dependancy Observe 1. Trauma Observe 2.”
“I’m sorry what?!” I virtually spit out my black espresso.
“Uh, Dependancy Observe 1, which means you’ll be studying how you can get sober. You’re an alcoholic.”
I screamed, “You don’t have any thought what you’re taking about. If I’m an alcoholic, which means you need to get each different 20-something in LA right here.”
“Properly, we’re not fearful about them. We’re fearful about you.”
I glared at him. They don’t know what they’re speaking about, I muttered to myself & reluctantly grabbed my papers again & ran out the door.
Rehab is like faculty. You get a schedule. You get your telephone taken away. You might have blocked schedules of lessons like “Grief Group” or “Dependancy 101.” It’s bizarre as a result of everybody’s there from fully various things. Sure, you’ve got your cokeheads & your former frat stars. Your lately divorced particular person to your unbothered teenagers whose determined mother and father despatched them. We’re all so totally different. But the identical. Completely depressing & right down to the wire to strive to determine how we’re going to get out of the mess we’ve created.
Rehab is one of the best factor I’ve ever achieved for myself. It taught me all of the issues I assumed I missed rising up. How you can successfully talk: like how you can make non-blaming “I” statements in occasions of confrontation. Little did I do know that altering a phrase from “You are___” to “I really feel ___” would make that huge of a distinction in my life, nevertheless it did. It taught me how you can successfully really feel my feelings. It taught me how you can work via ache. It taught me how you can make amends & take accountability for myself & my actions. It was all nice, besides one factor. I didn’t consider I used to be an alcoholic.
I went to remedy January 2017. I obtained out late February. I did sober dwelling, went to IOP ( Intensive Outpatient ) & nonetheless didn’t really feel like I used to be an alcoholic. I hadn’t hit my backside but. They are saying for those who’re an alcoholic or an addict, you choose up proper the place you left off while you exit. And rattling, was that the reality. I obtained a telephone name in late June from my buddy Weston’s brother. He had handed away in his sleep the night time earlier than. I used to be the final textual content he obtained. I hadn’t heard from him for some time, so I despatched him a message checking in. He stated, he didn’t really feel effectively, & he was going to go to mattress. He’d textual content me later. He by no means wakened. The toxicology report got here again constructive for Fentanyl.
I had met Weston in remedy. He was the man who was at all times clear shaven wore a collared polo…in rehab. It simply appeared like he didn’t belong there. It simply goes to indicate that dependancy doesn’t discriminate, it’s an endemic. His passing struck a chord with me, I didn’t perceive how God may very well be so merciless. He was simply 24 years outdated & had his total life forward of him. I began to resent God. I didn’t perceive why all this stuff had been occurring to me. It simply didn’t make any sense.
The following day my telephone dings. I get a textual content from an unknown quantity. “Hey Tess, it’s Sheldon S from remedy. I obtained your quantity from a mutual buddy. I heard about Weston & simply needed to say I’m so sorry. Let me know if there’s something I can do to help you.” Sheldon S was a 6’4” retired hockey participant. We met in remedy & had found that we had plenty of mutual mates. He had performed in Dallas & Anaheim, a couple of streets away from my childhood dwelling. All the women used to at all times joke that he appeared like a Greek God coated with tattoos. He was a giant robust man with the sweetest coronary heart. Straightforward on the eyes too. I keep in mind he texted me round 11 am. I’d simply woken up & was consuming my favourite whiskey in my espresso. I felt extremely numb & in disbelief. It nonetheless didn’t appear actual. I began planning to hang around with individuals & exit. If I used to be any good at something it was pretending to be okay. I used to be actually good at making individuals consider I used to be positive.
I began partying like I by no means left. Out each night time till 4 am. Waking up round 2 pm. Hanging out with pretend mates & individuals who I may barely keep in mind their identify. I didn’t actually care who I used to be with if I may drink. The times turned to weeks & weeks turned to months. It was the worst it had ever been. I began speaking to Sheldon extra & extra. I felt like he by no means judged me. He understood what I used to be going via. He has his personal demons, he obtained it. I didn’t have to cover all of it & that was refreshing.
We began speaking on the telephone for hours a day. He invited me as much as his summer time home in Idaho & a trip sounded good – I felt like I wanted one. We spent that weekend in September consuming one of the best wine, occurring boat rides, & watching basic films. It had been years since I felt that at-ease, comfy & secure in somebody’s presence. We each weren’t sober, however we had been attempting to determine it out. No less than we spoke the identical language & understood one another. I began to actually look after him.
Just a few weeks later, he was in LA & stated he needed to satisfy. The morning comes & *crickets*. I couldn’t get ahold of him. He wasn’t energetic on Instagram. His texts turned inexperienced. I knew he was utilizing once more, & my thoughts went straight to the worst-case situation. It felt like Weston’s case another time. Sheldon’s final textual content to me was that he’ll name me tomorrow. I began freaking out at 48 hours as a result of it was so in contrast to him. I used to be fearful that one thing horrible had occurred. I spent the subsequent 72 hours speaking to his mates I had met & everybody was fearful. I lastly found he had gone to remedy once more. My coronary heart stopped racing & I knew he was okay. That’s all that mattered.
After the longest day ever of enjoying Nancy Drew, I went dwelling to my residence in LA. I opened the door & noticed my roommate on the bottom overdosed together with her empty bottle of Xanax shut by. She had overdosed. I referred to as 911 and all I may hold pondering to myself was: is that this actual life? Everybody near me is useless, dying or almost useless. I used to be dancing with the satan & I knew my time was subsequent.
I used to be using behind the ambulance to Cedars Sinai & messaged her relations & instructed them what was occurring. She had a brother who lived shut who was going to return up. As quickly as he obtained there, I left. It was round 11:50 pm & I assumed good, I nonetheless have time to exit. I may barely see straight by 5 am as a result of I used to be a drunken zombie. I keep in mind not understanding the place I used to be or who I used to be with. I despatched God a Hail Mary prayer, I stated, “I hear you. I see you. I do know I’m subsequent. Get me dwelling, & I’ll dwell the remainder of my life sober.”
I wakened in my garments from the night time earlier than in my raveled room. The clock learn 10:11 on October 13th. That was the day I admitted that I used to be powerless over alcohol, & that I used to be an alcoholic. It’s the day my life really started. I owe my life to 12 step applications & I owe my life to different sober ladies. I used to be one of many fortunate ones who obtained a second likelihood.
I do know I’m dwelling on borrowed time.
I obtained a sponsor, labored the steps, took chips at milestone birthdays, went to ladies’s conferences, & discovered an actual dwelling in restoration. Sheldon had moved to LA after rehab & he was the primary sober buddy I had. We began doing 90 AA conferences in 90 days collectively. And by the top of the 90 days, I had moved in with him. We lately obtained married in Idaho on the identical weekend I first visited him in September, 5 years later.
The whole lot occurs for a cause & trying again on all of it, he was my cause. We dwell a sober life and we’re each on the identical web page concerning our restoration. We put our program first. God ( or your greater energy ) subsequent & the whole lot else comes after. What you set earlier than your program, you’ll lose.
It’s the best present to like somebody so authentically.
I thank God for him each day. My outdated roommate from LA simply obtained her two-year sobriety chip, too. Generally I see her face on zoom conferences & I smile to myself. I’m so grateful she discovered her option to these rooms. Not everyone seems to be that fortunate.
Getting sober is the toughest factor to do. However dwelling sober is the simpler, softer means. I want everybody may expertise the present of restoration. Once I first obtained sober, the whole lot modified. I moved out of my residence. I went to AA conferences as an alternative of going to bars. I reduce off outdated mates as a result of my new mates had been all sober. I began figuring out & going to remedy. Slowly however certainly 30 days was 60 days, & then 90. A change began occurring. I began to love who I used to be changing into.
For years I used to be ashamed of who I checked out after I appeared within the mirror. Sobriety made me pleased with who I noticed. I’ve the deepest respect for these in restoration & selecting to dwell a sober life. If it was straightforward, everybody would do it. There’s a saying within the rooms of AA: “Stick round till the miracles occur.”
I keep in mind being a newcomer strolling into the rooms & seeing these ladies filled with grace inform their tales with such authenticity. They lived the previous 40-50 years sober. I would like what they’ve, so I do what they do. I had good ft & saved them transferring & slowly, however certainly, the miracles began to occur. My life obtained greater & higher. However most significantly I used to be at peace with who I’m as a human being.
My entire life I at all times requested God ‘Why do you retain doing this to me?” It was solely in restoration that I discovered “he wasn’t doing it to me, he was doing it for me.” He was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I’m pleased with the battle I’ve been via. I’m pleased with the lady I’ve turn into. I’m proud to be a sober twenty one thing. I’m a really grateful alcoholic.
Hope you really liked listening to about Tess’s street to restoration as a lot as I did. Be sure you take a look at her beautiful pictures on Instagram & take a look at her web site. Tess affords one-on-one well being teaching & has a weblog the place she shares wellness ideas & recipes.
+ for extra on dependancy, take a look at this put up.
++ scope these 5 issues I discovered from interviewing Glennon Doyle.
SHOP THE POST: