Today is Jorjia’s 4th anniversary for her sobriety. It’s kind of like it is her re-birthday. Her new life of sobriety started 4 years ago today.

I remember celebrating the daily, weekly and monthly victories; as she began this walk. 100 days which then led into 6 months, and finally that 1st year clean and sober. Then came year 2, and 3 and now today we are at 4 years.

Missing her so much living what sometimes feels like so very far apart; but trusting her when she explains that living near her old haunts and friends might jeopardize her success. (Not everyone needs to re-locate to get and stay clean – but for some, it’s the only way.) The awareness and strength to choose to do that is admirable.

Some days it hurts really bad not to be able to hold her and comfort her as her solitary walk takes her through places that are so dark and lonely. I am so thankful for technology that allows us to communicate daily; and for how far our relationship has mended – that we can acknowledge when it has been too long apart and can find a way to see each other.

I can’t even imagine how hard it must be on Jorjia to want to be close to us, yet knowing it isn’t a safe space. Then hurting because we are hurting. It just makes us all the prouder that she chooses to stay strong in her sobriety, knowing that even miles apart, we are close because she is sober. Because living with someone that is using creates an illusion of closeness while the reality is a chasm between you that’s ever widening threatening to suck all life in.

The support system that Jorjia surrounded herself with right from the beginning was pivotal in her initial success in staying clean and sober. Allowing other recovering alcoholics and drug addicts to become as close as family was vital, but was also a great risk. Those that shared close anniversary dates with hers became tight-knit; but it didn’t stop some from still slipping away.

Some of the hardest phone calls have been hearing our baby girl sobbing as she shared that someone relapsed. Unfortunately too many times that relapse led to their death.

The fear of relapse became an unwanted guest in our family. The terror that we felt in the beginning any time Jorjia seemed really stressed, or even worse very emotionless – has diminished. We know that it’s by the Grace of God, and Jorjia’s own determination and intentional self care that she stays clean and sober.

Learning about Jorjia’s battle with depression has been an eye opener as well. Jorjia utilizes the tools available to her to keep the depression from controlling her life. Counseling, meditation, medication, yoga and equine therapy are all big rocks in her schedule that she gives priority to, knowing how valuable they are to her sobriety.

Just because today is her 4th anniversary of walking away from any alcohol or drugs, doesn’t guarantee that she will make a 5th. We talk with her of that. While we can no way truly understand what it is like to know that she has to look at substances as poison, her honesty during this journey has helped us to empathize with her.

Daily she makes the choice to fight for her sobriety.

Daily she ‘just says no to drugs and alcohol.’

Daily she takes the necessary steps to keep herself safe, clean and sober.

Daily she works on her sobriety.

Daily she surrounds herself with others that are fighting for a better future – a future of their choosing not a future of just survival.

Daily she chooses not to let depression close her in and sever her relationships with others.

Daily she makes adjustments in her walk to keep from allowing complacency to distract her from obstacles that could derail her.

Daily she has an awareness that she may lose another friend to death by addiction.

Daily she remembers those close to her that lost the fight, and honors their memory by continuing to fight.

Daily she lives out a 12 step program.

Daily she checks in with herself to see what she needs to do to stay on track.

Daily she makes the choice to continue her sobriety walk.

Daily she strengthens her relationship with her higher power – Jesus, clinging to Him.

Daily she inspires so many that she knows by not only choosing to stay sober, but by loving us all enough to let us share this journey.

We are proud of our daughter.

We are inspired by her.

We are awed by the strength that she possesses to fight the fight.

For a time period, she was continually bombarded by others that relapsed, many of them dying. Listening to her having to detach herself was terrifying. She explained that if she didn’t, she would relapse too. How we longed to have her move away from where she was! She explained that her support system was there, and she was there for a purpose. We had to chose to believe her and support her decisions. It was and still is her sobriety.

Jorjia has taught us that her sobriety isn’t our responsibility. She continues to remind us of that, and I believe even today she reminds herself of that as she watches a friend or loved one make choices that could jeopardize their sobriety.

She utilizes all that she has learned throughout this journey to reach out and help others.

While I would in no way ever wish all that she has endured upon her, I can say that she has used it to make herself stronger.

We are so very proud of the woman that our daughter has become.

So, today, Jorjia – we wish you a very Happy 4th Sober Birthday. We love you!

A proud mama, Amy

If you battle addiction – please know there is help. Look in your local area for a 12 Step Fellowship or similar program. Contact someone you trust for help. Feel free to message us for other suggestions. You can do it, and it is worth it. Battling any addiction takes work – but the pride you discover in yourself is priceless.

Oftentimes addiction is intertwined with depression. If you are feeling depressed and suicidal – please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (available 24 hours a day)

Thank you for reading, liking, commenting and sharing – it’s your support that helps us through the tough times. Thank you and we love you.

Photo Credits:

Self images – Jorjia May

Birthday cake – Anna Vander Stel @ann_van_

Calendar – Adam Tinworth @adders

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