Back when I was drinking all of the time, I saw things a bit differently than I do now. My son had food, a place to live, family, friends, and much more. He wanted for little and had everything that he needed...or so I thought.
I Was an Alcoholic: Our Life Then
I worked almost every day in order to provide for my son. We were on government welfare, and we were in an assisted living apartment complex. I made pretty good money, so there was no reason that I should have needed help paying my bills, but I just could not manage them on my own. Looking back, I now know why.
You see, I went out every night that I was not working. I would take my son to a trusted family member or friend, and then I would go out and get drunk. If I was not working at my bar job that night, I was still going there to drink. I went to the birthday parties at the bar, the friends' nights out, and a lot of times, just to go there to hang out. I was an alcoholic, but it was worse than that. I was an alcoholic who felt the need to be around other people to drink and, because of my alcohol addiction, I was often using my bill money to pay for my drinks.
Looking Back on My Drinking Years
What I thought was good parenting, was a lie. I was lying to myself, to my friends, to my family, and even to my son. I provided everything that he needed physically, but I was not there for my son in the way that really matters. I was not tucking him in at night--something he loved. I was not taking him to the park, and he enjoyed that so much. I was not even really speaking to him, and I feel terrible about that.
Looking back, I would change it all. I realize now that I was neglecting him. His needs were not being met, and I was not being a mom who he could be proud of. Through it all, he loved me. I do not know why or how I ended up with such an amazing child, but I did, and I was missing it. I was missing all of the little things. I was missing the late night snuggles, the morning laughter, and everything else that comes along with having a child.
We Have Come So Far
We have come a long way since those times. I have realized the mistakes that I made during the years I was drinking. I now take him to the park, I take him for mommy-and-me days, and I listen to him as much as possible. I have other children now, and we are a happy family. I was lucky to find a husband who is there for me, who loves me unconditionally, and who supports me through all of my trials and errors.
My family was once broken, but we are mending. It is a struggle every single day, and I will not lie about that. Recovery is tough and I have relapsed on occasion, but my family is there to help pull me through it. To be honest, I hate that my life is still focused on alcohol. I hate that there are some days that I just want to sit down and drink a six pack. I believe that I will always have the urge to drink, but I now know that I have the power to overcome that urge. And for that, I am proud.
Cryste Harvey has battled addiction since the day she was born. From family issues to personal issues, she has seen many things, but she has taken the leap to be sober and to help inform others of the hardships, trials and tribulations associated with addiction. She is now a mother and wife, and she has vowed to help others on their road to recovery. With little to no help from her parents and siblings, she was the first person in her family to graduate high school and then continue on to college. She is currently working towards an English degree, and she hopes to become a published author.