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Me and my mom during a Skype call on Mother’s Day 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic lockdown prevented us from being together. My mom’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013 was a significant life trauma that pushed me into the category of “problem drinker.” By the time I stopped drinking in August 2018, I was consuming almost two bottles of wine a night.

Alzheimer’s Disease Ruined My Life, Then It Saved It

Those of us who have put ourselves through the traumas of addiction to stifle the traumas of life often carry invisible badges of honor around with us. We might let a few people in and say, “Look at this space in my mind. This is what I went through and this addiction is why I failed to escape it. Here is how I let go of trauma to cope with trauma.”

There is nothing “lucky” about pulling yourself out of addiction. Overcoming a dependency, my friends, is hard work, not luck.

Bad luck isn’t what gets us into patterns of addiction, either. Abuse. Neglect. Illness. Depression. Anxiety. These are traumas, not bad luck.

I knew I had to do something. My drinking was unsustainable. The anxiety I felt on a daily basis made me ideate about suicide. In my mind, life was over. My mom was never going to get better … but one of us had to.

Written by

Lonna Whiting is a freelance writer and editor. She is currently working on a book about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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