Cake, God and 18 Months Sober

18 Months

I had every intention of writing this post yesterday (which was my 18 month sobriety birthday), but it was a LONG day and after a dinner out with Tyler and a piece of my favorite cake, I was out like a light!

18 months. 18 freakin’ months without a single drink. Wow. In many ways it seems like yesterday and in others it seems like an eternity since I took that last sip of beer at our local Applebee’s. I had already had one relapse and despite the anguish and hurt it had caused me and my family, I still wasn’t ready to surrender. It was a hot summer day in August and I had just picked the kids up from going to the state fair with my in laws. There was tons of traffic and it was getting close to dinner time, so I decided to take a detour and get an early dinner at a nearby Applebee’s. I knew before I stepped in the door, that I was going to have a drink. Just one. No one would know. My kids were still too young to realize what was going on. It’s just a beer. So, as we ordered dinner I quickly looked around me (to see if there was anyone I knew) and ordered a Blue Moon beer. Perfect for a hot day. Our waitress returned with my beer and I looked around again before taking a big gulp.

As I took another sip and looked around, I felt embarrassed and guilty. As I sat there with my 3-year-old little boy and 5-year-old little girl, I suddenly wondered what the hell I was doing. Was it worth it? The shame, guilt and embarrassment? The lies? And, that was it. Right then and there with a beer at an Applebee’s, I decided I was done. It was the most uneventful drinking experience I had ever had, but I knew it was over. That part of my life was over and I was finally – FINALLY – ready to move on.

I drive by that Applebee’s multiple times throughout the week and it always sits there as a reminder of that day and that life-altering decision. That day, without fully knowing it at the time, I turned it all over to God. Without fully knowing or understanding, and without the exact words, I mentally said, “I can’t do this anymore. I need help.” I was tired of fighting; tired of hiding; I was just plain tired. And, I knew that I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. And, in my desperation and exhaustion, I decided the only thing I had left was God. I had been hiding from Him and pushing Him away for so long; I honestly didn’t know if He would still be there. But, He was. He was just waiting; patiently waiting for me to say, “Okay, God. I give up. If you’re so great, show me what you can do with this mess I’ve created.” And, yes, I gave Him a little attitude because, to be honest, I was still skeptical.

As I sit here today, there is no doubt that He was there; listening to that broken, stubborn and frightened woman. He took that mess and turned it into a walking, talking miracle. And, yes, I consider where I am, who I am and what I am a true miracle. I don’t pretend to know who God is, what God is and where God is. But, I know for me He is more real than anything in this entire world. He is the only reason I am who I am today and I will forever praise His name without shame, embarrassment or fear of what others might think. I lived in fear and embarrassment for a long time; afraid of what others thought about me. But, no more. I stand strong and proud of the woman I am today. I have done many things in my life that I’m ashamed of, but those things don’t define me. I am defined by who I choose to be today.

Today, I am so grateful for this journey. I am grateful for that moment in Applebee’s; for my sweet, beautiful children who sit next to me as I write this; for my husband who looks at me now with more love and admiration than ever before; for my family and friends who have loved me and shown me the true meaning of forgiveness and grace; for those who have guided me down the path of sobriety; for the humility I have experienced along the way; and thank God for the Old Fashioned cake at Gerry Frank’s Konditorei for getting me through those first few months of sobriety when all I wanted was chocolate cake!

Today is a good day. A very good day to be alive and sober.

12 responses

  1. Chenoa, thanks for sharing that your turning point came in a very tame moment…sitting with your children at a restaurant in broad daylight. Many times I’ve been too rushed, dull & denying, and numbly inattentive to realize the very normal moments were speaking – saying normal was broken and I should find a new one with God’s help. I agree – “defined by who I choose to be today.” Best, Emily Grace

    • Thank you! God shows up in unexpected ways. After everything that had happened leading up to that point, it was pretty ironic that it happened over a beer at an Applebee’s. Go figure! It was a blessing.

  2. Chenoa,

    You are such a beautiful inspiration to the world. I’m really proud of you! You write beautifully. Thanks for sharing from your heart, I think you will help many people in the world 🙂

    Xoxo Jeanne

  3. Hi Chenoa! Congrats on 18 months! What an amazing journey you have had. You are a true inspiration. I love your moment of clarity because it was seemingly uneventful yet so powerful! And you made a decision right there and that is huge! God shots! I love them 🙂

  4. Chenoa, congratulations on 18 months, and thanks for sharing the Applebee’s story. It brought back a memory for me, sadly, far from my last bout with addiction, but my kids were exactly the same age as your kids. Ironically, it was also at Applebee’s, and I did the exact same thing… no one will know, kids are too young to get it, I can get away with this. Horrible, painful memory, but it is gratifying to know that I do not live that way any more.

    I really, REALLY want a piece of cake right now, the picture at the top looks so delicious!

    • Thanks, Josie! That is too funny that you too have an Applebee’s story! When I look back, I think “Seriously?! Applebee’s!” They don’t even make good drinks! Oh well, I’m SO glad that was the end – at least of that part of my life. Sometimes the most unexpected moments are the most powerful! Oh, and that cake is amazing, but I’m a total sucker for chocolate cake!

  5. Congrats to you! I love this blog. In my search for meaningful things to fill my bucket, the blogging world is becoming a new friend. I must say I am quite envious of your faith. Continuing the search here. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for reading! Faith has been a very long and detoured journey for me. I think the most important thing is to be open minded to it all – and to enjoy it regardless of where you are on the journey!

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