Family Alcoholism and Dysfunction
Louann tells us her story of growing up with family alcoholism and dysfunction. It wasn’t until she accepted her problem with alcohol that she was able to find long-term sobriety. She describes the denial she faced, “I only drank at work” to realizing she was regularly blacking out and having no memory of her behavior.
At 7 years old, her Alcohol addicted father died, and just five short years later she lost her mother to diabetes. Left with strong feelings of abandonment and no outlet for grief, she never dealt with her feelings.
Louann describes memories of her mother making her wine spritzers when she was 11 years old. She goes on to tell us about how cool she thought drinking Alcohol was at the time. There was little discipline in her childhood home.
Louann explains that her mother would ground her and her siblings and the very next day they’d be outside playing. Looking back now, she clearly sees the family dysfunction and unstable parental role her mother played.
Repressed Memories and Alcohol Abuse
Louann describes the moment that took her down the road of Alcoholism; in her twenties and a mother of four children, the business she shared with her husband went bankrupt and after not having a drink for five years, she said: “I need a glass of wine.” In total defeat, Alcohol became her answer.
Louann went on to be successful in the restaurant industry as a cocktail waitress. She admits “I was a really good cocktail waitress because I could get people to buy all kinds of stuff.” Drinking was part of the industry and she was able to drink until she either blacked out or got cut off by the bartender.
During this time, a repressed memory of sexual trauma came to light. The memory was from when she was three years old—her father was the perpetrator. She tells us that she thought she would be able to just cry, forgive him and that it’d all be ok. in reality, she admits, that’s not how things work, and the trauma still ate away at her.
Months of binge drinking and blacking out caused her marriage to start falling apart, so she sought out marital counseling. In these sessions she continued to say, “It’s okay I forgive him and it’s all good,” never making any progress.
Six months later, and after several serious binges, she checked herself into the hospital. She admits, “I didn’t check myself in because I was an Alcoholic—I checked myself in because every time I went to a counseling session I started drinking.”
Alcoholism Treatment and Recovery
Being in the hospital got Louann thinking that most people can have a drink and stop. She admits to being a carrier of her family alcoholism, confessing, “I don’t have a stop button.” She began digging into her childhood trauma inflicted by her father, while at the same time coming to terms with the fact that she has Alcoholism.
Louann describes a moment after returning to cocktail waitressing when the bartender asked why she didn’t drink. This was the moment when her Alcoholism solidified, she replied, “I’m a recovering Alcoholic and I’d like to stay that way.”
Shortly after she went to a 12-step meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and found her new blueprint for addiction recovery. Louann’s marriage didn’t survive; however, she and her ex-husband found a new purpose in being active in the lives of their children.
Louann quickly learned in her sobriety that if she was going to set a consequence for her children it had to be one she would follow through on. By becoming aware of this, she broke the chain of the way her mother parented her and became free of that pattern.
12-Steps of AA
Louann jumped right into the 12-steps of AA and found a connection to a higher power in steps one, two and three. She describes her experience with step four, taking a personal inventory, as identifying her character defects based on her own moral compass. During this process in her sobriety, she talks about owning her part in her behavior and taking steps to change.
The most empowering aspect for Louann was taking credit for all the things she had done right and reminding herself that she was more than just the person she had become when her drinking was at it’s worst. Louann tells us that accountability is not just about being told where you went wrong, but also for giving credit to your accomplishments.
Sobriety gave Louann the tools she needed to set goals and take small steps towards achieving them. This allowed her to let go of seeking instantaneous results and grounded her into taking inspired action.
Teen Drug Abuse
As her children grew into teenagers they experienced substance abuse issues themselves. Louann and her ex-husband both went into recovery in the same year, she sites that her children had really good role models.
Her oldest went into outpatient treatment for heavy Marijuana use, and another one of her son’s struggle with his mental health, entering an inpatient treatment center followed up with outpatient care.
Louann tells us that they learned in the treatment centers; however, the biggest influence, she believes, was learning through their parents. They got to see from personal experience that all the little program sayings held truth.
Louann doesn’t see her children as being bad people for having struggled with substance abuse. She says, “There are people who do bad things, and there is a big difference between doing bad and being bad.”
Sobriety and Alcohol Relapse
Louann always felt as if she could go out and do things and not turn back to drinking. Her confidence in recovery from Alcoholism is because she has been so diligent in changing her behavior. She trusted herself to go out dancing with her friends and to be the designated driver. For Louann, she didn’t understand how Alcohol relapse could happen.
After 18 years of sobriety, she and her new husband were out on their friend’s boat enjoying lunch. Their friend was French, and wine was everywhere; he had a big spread of wine and cheese laid out when Louann said: “Let me smell that I bet I can tell you what kind it is.”
At that moment her mind said, “I bet you can have one drink.” She looked wide-eyed at her husband and excused herself. Later she found her way to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, shocked that after all her years in sobriety it could be that easy to relapse.
Sober Recovery From Alcoholism
Today Louann continues to walk the walk in her recovery from Alcoholism. She is proud to have four grown children who are all happily married. She shares her experience, strength, and hope by living a program of honesty and giving back to those that still struggle addiction through her line of work.
Stopping family Alcoholism is possible. If a loved one or yourself is affected by drug or alcohol addiction, we encourage you to reach out for help. Feel free to contact us at (866) 578-7471, if you need assistance with resources or support from someone who understands addiction first hand.