Brown Girl in Recovery talks about her lowest moment and how she began her path to healing.

By Brown Girl in Recovery, Photo courtesy of Brown Girl in Recovery

Warning: Story briefly discusses an eating disorder and attempted suicide.

Hello there. I am Brown Girl in Recovery, sharing with you my fifth column about my experiences with alcoholism, mental health and ultimately, sobriety. At this point in my journey, I was in my mid-20s and had moved back to Austin for love. 

I continued to drink and party, but I wasn’t quite an alcoholic yet. And I did have unhealthy coping habits, though. I turned to alcohol too much as a way to unwind, to find comfort and to simply forget about things like not being far enough in my career, my sick dad and my somewhat rocky relationship with the person I loved. This person and I ended up getting married a few years later. I was 28, and I was hopeful for what the future held. I couldn’t wait to start a family. But those dreams ended.

Our marriage started to crumble pretty quickly, and into year two, I was drinking heavily in order to cope. Soon after, with no hope for reconciliation, I filed for divorce. It was a few months before our three-year anniversary. I was devastated, a complete mess. As a result,  my drinking took a turn for the worse. I hit my rock bottom. What that looked like for me was drinking all day everyday from morning to night, binging and purging, taking pills (that were prescribed to me), all while holding down a job. 

I lived with my youngest sister while I tried to sort out the mess that had become my life. As I continued to spiral further and further down, I convinced myself that being alive wasn’t worth it and that the people in my life would be better off without me. I attempted suicide twice in the span of a month, and I was put on a psych hold and had to go through detox twice. I should have probably gone through a rehab program, but I didn’t have the time or resources; I needed to keep working while I finalized my divorce and got back on my feet. (My employer at the time was very understanding, for which I’ll be forever grateful.)

The first stay in the hospital was shocking and rough. My youngest sister drove me, after I told her I took a bunch of pills and drank a lot of vodka. I was put in the ER overnight to stabilize before I was put in detox. I’m embarrassed to admit my behavior in the ER was not the best. I was coming down from all the pills and alcohol, and when I woke up I noticed I was in a room by myself. With a locked door. I pounded on it and demanded to be let out. Eventually, a nurse came by. He made it very clear: It was either this, or the police could come take me away. I reluctantly sulked back to my bed. Then I was taken to the detox unit.

Everyone in this unit saw a psychiatrist once a day for 10 to 15 minutes. My psychiatrist was an older Indian woman who immediately reminded me of my mother-in-law, which was not a good thing. She was cold, stand-offish and, I felt, judgemental. I recall her asking, “So why did you do this?” I didn’t really have an answer at that moment. I left detox after several days, still partially in denial of what I had done but deep down wanting to get better. 


About a month later, I ended up back in the hospital because of another suicide attempt. I had made some sort of peace with ending my life. I made the mistake (or maybe it was a blessing?) of calling my parents and one of my sisters to say goodbye. That I love them and that this was all for the best. They immediately called 911.

Officers and medics came to my door; I stumbled to open it; they took me away to a hospital. While in detox for the second time, I saw another psychiatrist. This one was so different. He was Indian, caring, kind and nonjudgmental, and He insisted I start going to Alcoholics Anonymous—it was actually one of the requirements of him releasing me from the hospital. He emphasized that I had my whole life still ahead of me and that I would be okay. I was 31 and didn’t see it like he did, but I tried to believe him and I listened. 

At the same time, I was also diagnosed with major depressive disorder, so I was beginning to seek therapy and medication for that as well. Let me tell you, finding a psychiatrist and a counselor who takes your insurance and doesn’t have a waitlist is an ordeal. I almost gave up in frustration. But I knew I had to do it, and I couldn’t continue this cycle of destruction. I eventually came out through the other end with a lot of medical intervention and the support of my dear family, who initially had no idea the struggles I was facing but who were there to pick up the pieces with me.

I couldn’t have done it without my two sisters, my mom, my dad and eventually, Alcoholics Anonymous. Starting my life over while learning to live a sober existence and treat my mental health for the first time was difficult, to put it mildly. I still refer to my life as pre-sobriety and post-sobriety because my world is so different from then to now. It had to be in order for me to stay sober.

In the next issue, I will explore my first few years of sobriety. Until then, I hope by sharing my journey and reflections I am able to give other Brown women a space to reflect, perhaps nod along and feel less alone, and realize life is going to eventually be okay.



Leave A Reply

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial