About me

My recovery defines me, not my alcoholism. I blog about recovering MY WAY to increase awareness that there’s no “right” way to do it. And it is indeed possible. One important truth that I’ve learned is that I am the only one who knows what’s best for me, and in many cases it isn’t the norm. Oh, and stigma can suck it. People just don’t know enough about alcoholism, depression, and anxiety, so they judge, not knowing any better – guess I’d better get to it because I’m well-versed with all of it!

Growing up

Growing up in an alcoholic family seemed like fun. They all made drinking look like a natural, essential part of life.

  • My family has been camping and boozing for decades. My trashed, heat-packing uncles would lead us on long, dangerous ATV trips, while blazing trails through the woods with their chain saws. Aside from a few minor injuries, I can’t believe we all came back in one piece. It never occurred to me that guns and booze weren’t a good combo, even when my token “idiot” uncle accidentally shot his rifle through the floor of his trailer. The nights always ended next to a rip-roaring fire with country music blaring, while everyone partied it up with beer, tequila and Grandpa’s homemade “apple pie” and Everclear-soaked cherries. I probably didn’t know half of what was going on back then. I wouldn’t change these experiences, but this shows how my environment was saturated with drunks.
  • While driving around with my alcoholic dad in my early elementary years, he would regularly stop behind the local Bargain Beverage store to take a piss after he’d purchased his next round of Budweiser 40 ouncers. You gotta pee, you gotta pee. I never thought twice about it.
  • At the Rodeo every summer, the kids would sit just outside of the beer garden while the adults got hammered and disorderly inside. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to hang out with them. It was like a coming-of-age thing. I hated feeling left out.
  • Christmas was always full of loud voices and commotion everywhere – a drunken, rowdy event that created a glowing illusion of togetherness for me.
  • Booze was everywhere. It seemed to be the focal point for every event and every non-event.

I really didn’t stand a chance. Surprisingly, I was a late bloomer and didn’t have my first real drink until I was 17. By the time I was 19, I realized that at some point I would have to completely stop drinking. I then decided that I had better make the most of it and not waste any time. And so my drinking career began and lasted for about 10 more years.

 Turning point

My turning point came in the form of an ultimatum.

Most people were surprised when I quit drinking. On the outside, I was just a hot-tempered party girl, looking for my next good time. I prided myself on my ability to keep up with the boys and carry on my family tradition. From my first drink, I was enamored with alcohol. It gave me the confidence and social skills that I was lacking, and it eased my anxiety. For a long time, the only consequences I experienced were hangovers and regret – both of which I had a solution for – drink more! In my early twenties I started drinking alone, a warning sign I’d always been aware of, but was able to justify with, well…denial. My problem progressed when I experienced regular blackouts and secretly needed daytime maintenance. Then, I began to verbally abuse my then boyfriend (now husband). I felt guilty, confused, and exhausted after every incident that I couldn’t seem to recall. One morning, I got an out-of-town phone call from him saying, “If you have one more drink, we are over”. Apparently our long distance conversation the night before had been ugly. I was embarrassed and scared, but also relieved to have the ultimatum. It seemed to be the only solution for my misery – finally, I had my reason to stop.

The first 4 years, or so, of my recovery involved little to no support. I didn’t know anyone else that was sober and a handful of meetings quickly revealed that 12-stepping wasn’t the right path for me. Online support has made my journey complete.

Passions

  • Motherhood – It’s terrifying, exciting, exhausting, and incredible. My kids are amazing.
  • Family – Don’t hurt them, or I’ll go to prison. I’ve seen Lock Up – I don’t want to go there.
  • Travel – There’s no place like home in Seattle, Washington!!! My bucket list is long, but I’m off to a great start! Some of my favorite places include New York, Montana, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, England, Belgium, Amsterdam, and Sweden!
  • Food – I love all food, oftentimes obsessively. I could live on cereal, grapes, and burgers. Word.
  • Seattle Seahawks! The 12s are fiercely loyal, don’t be a hater, there’s room for more!
  • Non-conformity – I enjoy the practice of thinking for myself.
  • Recovery

Contact

I am here for you! I love receiving comments and feedback. Connecting and relating with others makes me feel supported, helpful, and alive. Awareness (including my own) is key to breaking down the stigma and for opening doors for those who are still suffering. Please contact me if you need support: soberchrystal@gmail.com.

22 Responses to About me

  1. Trish says:

    Chrystal!

    I am so very proud of you as my cousin, even though we have not been around each other much, but only as a young children (due to our 11 yrs differnce). I’ve read your journey & coming from a family with alcohol abuse, child abuse or drugs, made me make the choices not to repeat what I saw as roll models as a kid. I can really and truly understand your pain, as I never went down the path you took, but I am too a survivor of child/sexual abuse. I believe that there is a real reason we end up on this so called crooked path in our life’s journey, I have been on one for many years. I have come to understand that this crazy whacked out journey I was put on like you, yourself was because we can handle anything that life throws at us. We have made the choices to stand up for ourselves and make the change. Girl, I am one proud cousin to say you are an amazing cousin, woman, daughter, wife and mother! Keep up this great journey you are doing, because you know that you are making a difference in someone’s life every day with your blog & to be open and honest about your journey is AMAZING, not many people can actually stand up and say, “Hi I am an alcoholic” in front of people, let alone on a public forum… YOU GO GIRL!

    • SoberChrystal says:

      Thank you!!! This whole “going public” thing just may keep me from crawling into a dark cave! It’s amazing to realize the support that’s out there! Thanks again.

  2. Alicia says:

    Im currently in the process of starting a major ecommerce site toward promoting sobriety. Those who are alcoholic, and those who choose sobriety themselves. The site is a blog, forum, and all around networking tool. I am looking for intelligent young people to help build my community. I currently am working with a leading design firm in NY to properly develop the site. Please drop me a email if you are interested for more information. 🙂
    Congrats on 6 years!

  3. Mur says:

    I have so many things to say, I don’t know where to start! Suffice it to say I am proud of you and you inspire me!

  4. Lindsay says:

    I just real ALL of your posts – amazing. You’re a strong one! Keep going, your inspiration shines.

  5. Ernest Watts says:

    cool beans…good job…some people will receive help from you..without you knowing which is the best part !!! I found you on twitter in recovery related also..peace

  6. Christopher Witt says:

    Very kewl read, as I have been sitting here reading thru your blogs over and over. They are very much inspiring. I too have lived much of the same life as you. In Jan. this year I made some life changes on my own and the most important being Sober. I was told that counseling and everything else was needed. I am pretty strong willed and wanted to prove everyone wrong, to which I have, and didn’t want or need someone to tell me I had a problem. Yes I miss it, but your blog has reinforced what I have been going through and our daily battles. Thanks again. Please don’t stop writing because they are extremely motivating and entertaining as well. S4L

    • Your comment makes me feel amazing. I am so happy that the shit in my head helps to motivate you! Thank you so much for reading and for reaching out. You must be about 6 months, then? That was a tricky and rough time for me. And it’s summer. Please email me (soberchrystal@gmail.com) if you need any support!

  7. Brett Taylor says:

    Dear Chrystal,

    I’m Brett and I’m a recovering alcoholic/pothead with three years of sobriety. I created a website where people share their stories about achieve sobriety on camera. I founded achievesobriety.org because when I looked online to watch videos of people talking about getting sober on Youtube and there were very, very few videos. I was in serious disbelief in my discovery or lack of a discovery.

    One year later I have launched achievesobriety.org and there are already 7 videos for people to watch with more to be regularly released. Since I’m one who regularly bites more than I can chew the website has more than just videos. The website has a blog and I was hoping if I could post some of your blog posts on my website? I’d really appreciate it.

    Thank you for being a voice about an incredibly taboo subject.

    -Brett Taylor

    • Hi Brett! Thanks so much for reading! I like your site and would be honored to be a part of it. Love to work together to break apart this stigma and increase awareness that we are everywhere and this “club” we are in is where life begins!

  8. Hi Chrystal,

    It’s so crazy to me how may different journeys we all take when we get sober, sometimes we need a little more to help fill the void and step into action and truly take initiative. You took your sobriety an created a wildly successful and heavy followed blog. It’s so cool to see our paths that are created when we decide to get sober! Like, how productive we all become without the burden from drugs and alcohol. I really respect everything you’ve written in your blog and would love some feedback about my site I created. If you have a second to check it out I’d really appreciate your opinion. As you’ve put a lot of time into this blog, I respect the triumphs of people like you that have overcome their own afflictions. Thanks!
    >
    > Justin Bagnato
    >
    > Founder of SomebodySober.com

    • Thanks so much, Justin! (I just now am reading my blog comments. Sorry for the delayed reply!) We’ve since been in touch though, and your site is awesome! I LOVED your last mailer from your site and I the forums are fantastic. Good stuff.

      I SO appreciate your feedback on my blog. Makes me feel like a million bucks!

      I’ll be in touch soon!
      Chrystal

  9. Avi says:

    Love your blog. Amazingly, I found it after I “googled” dry drunk. I love your unabashed, snarky, funny, honest writing! When I met my husband, he had 10 years of sobriety. My husband told me to hit him with a 2×4 if he ever said he wanted to take a drink. I’m a normie, however, I have a long family history of alcoholism. I chose not to drink other than socially. I even offered to go through the 12 step program so that i would have a better understanding of what he has been through. He called me condescending. Cut to 7.5 yrs of marriage. I have been abandoned, litterally, 4 times. He lost his job, ran out of unemployment, moved in with his mommy. And oh yes that is meant to be backhanded! Wanted me to but against my better judgement, I agreed. This lasted for 5 days then he kicked me out after getting drunk and yelling at me at 0200hrs. He’s perfect in his mothers eyes. He got a DWI and almost lost his new job, he was demoted. He lied as to why he missed his flight home. I found out when i questioned him about an attorney he had hired out of state. He couldnt understand why i was pissed. Gee? On another occasion, passed out drunk in the Denver airport and a missed flight home for Christmas. Not to mention the 12K spent on online gaming and the subsequent affair with Sarah, that he met online gaming. I believe, after attending CODA, AA, Alanon and lots of reading, that he has severe mental problems in addition to drinking again. 22yrs of every drug known to exist. He has problems at work, does not want to be called on anything and the biggest thing that just f’ing pisses me off to no end, is that he has his entire family fooled! So, here’s the rub…. I have a terminal disease, no cure, and he is more cruel now with my diagnosis. He yells at me all the time and says that I deserve it and that he does not feel bad at all. Fucker. I was a union crane operator and I am not able to work any more. I am limited to one hour of activity per day. I made more money than he did and now I’m stuck with a very proud (see, I can drink with no problems) husband who is incredibly abusive. I have a chemo port in right now and if I go on state aid, it will never, ever, come close to covering my medical bills. Wow! I didn’t expect all of that to come out… So sorry! Keep writing!

    • Holy shit! First of all, thank you for the props and for reading my blog. More importantly, thank you for your honesty and openness. I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. Your husband sounds like a big piece of shit. You deserve so much better. Please send me an email, I’d like to see how I can help, even if it’s just to lend an ear and understanding …soberchrystal@gmail.com. You take care of yourself and always remember that you are a special, beautiful, and strong woman. He can’t diminish that light within you – let it glow, girl – I can feel it from here. *hugs* -Chrystal

    • Monica says:

      Try an Al Anon meeting. I did, it saved my life.

  10. Bryce Warden says:

    Hi Chrystal – Stopped by and I like your stuff. About 6 months ago I started writing about different aspects of my life including my first year of recovery. I was 15 years old when I got sober in 1983. I am doing the anonymous thing right now. I used to shout it from the roof tops for the first 20 years now I’m more reserved…..probably due to getting married and having kids. But you know what that works for me and this works for you and aren’t we both just fabulous bitches :).

    • I’m thrilled you stopped by and that you took the time to comment. Sober since 1983?! Fuckin A, you ARE one fabulous bitch! I’ve read a few of your most recent blog posts and holy shit, you’ve been through the ringer. I’m proud of you and happy you have an outlet, like blogging. It has saved my sober ass. Glad to be connected.

  11. SoberChrystal says:

    Sure thing! Please contact me at soberchrystal@gmail.com.

  12. Megan says:

    PREACH girlfriend.

  13. monicalasich says:

    Hi Chrystal! 24 years of clean and 21 years sober here. Keep writing!!

  14. Laraine says:

    Your blog is great! Thank you for sharing your personal story and thank you for your friendship.

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