Addiction & Recovery
Addiction, Recovery & Healing
A collection of essays about addiction, recovery and healing.
“My name is Britni, and I’m an alcoholic.” I’ve said those words more times than I can count and they’re always met with nods of recognition and assurances of “me too.” I’m also a survivor of rape and sexual assault, and it’s a big part of my addiction story.
Even with that quantity and its corresponding blood alcohol content looming in the back of my mind, nothing could compare to the blow of having a professional drinker twice my size say I could “handle” more alcohol than he could with a well-we-knew-that-already shrug.
This was how my eating disorder began. This is when I first consciously ate my emotions. THIS is when I said, “I don’t need you to love me. I don’t need to love myself. I don’t need to feel or be felt. Hear or be heard. See or be seen. I just need to eat. I just need to eat because food will never judge me. Food will never leave me (unless I make it leave me, which I did. In college. A LOT.).
Unbeknownst to me, Kimmy and her boyfriend had been using cocaine. I was ignorant of cocaine use and wasn’t remotely interested in trying it. I was scared of it.
Making the decision to get sober is never easy. Actually getting sober is even harder. So much has to change about the way you live your life in order to maintain, and it can be overwhelming to think about.
Loving someone who struggles with alcoholism and addiction is one of the hardest things to do. It’s a drain on friends and family in both financial and emotional ways. It comes with ups and downs, characterized by periods of hope followed by devastation when you’re let down yet again.
When Chris Arnade quit his white-collar job to pursue portrait photography, he had no idea his Faces of Addiction series would become a viral sensation. See his most stirring work here.
What I do know is what it is like to be the wife of an addict, and those years taught me to claim responsibility for addictions that aren't my own. Thankfully, while that is still my first instinct, I have come far enough now to pause and remind myself that I am no one's caretaker. I am not responsible for my ex-husband's addiction, and I am certainly not responsible for Macklemore's.
I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “Why didn’t you get sober after your first DUI?” These people were not alcoholics, mind you. They were normal drinkers who didn’t understand why anyone would get a DUI in the first place, let alone — GASP — a second one!