Preface by Kristen Marks: I am so proud of our affiliated independent probate counsel with My Pink Lawyer®, attorney Lauren Merritt, for having the courage to transparently share her road to sobriety with us. I hope you too will find inspiration as you read about Lauren's journey.
On January 21st, I celebrated six years of sobriety.
Let’s say that again….
On January 21st, I celebrated SIX years of sobriety!
That’s 2,190 days without consuming alcohol.
That’s 52,560 hours without taking a drink.
That’s 3,155,695 minutes of sobriety.
THAT is nothing short of a miracle.
Six years ago I had really made a mess of my life. I think I always drank alcoholically, but things started going downhill fast my second year of law school.
By the third year of law school, the drinking was daily… and it started in the mornings before class.
I graduated from the highest-ranked law school in the state with honors and two book awards. I’d made the school’s coveted Trial Team, and we’d won first place in a statewide competition. Everything looked beautiful on paper but I was dying inside. Literally.
At 25 years old, I had liver damage.
The details of the 2-year spiral that followed are more appropriate for an Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”) meeting than this blog, but believe me when I say they were hopeless. I lost jobs, relationships, dignity, and hope.
In January 2015 I hit rock bottom. In AA, they say I found “the gift of desperation.” The pain of drinking finally outweighed the fear of getting sober.
And that’s where Alcoholics Anonymous came in.
It didn’t stick the first time, or the second, third, or fourth. But on January 20, 2015, I checked into a treatment center and on January 21, 2015, I woke up sober and began my journey of sobriety with a foundation in the roots of AA.
Sobriety hasn’t always been easy.
I’d lost a lot. I had no car. No job. No significant other. And I was living with my parents.
I had to rebuild my life from the ground up as a sober person living in a world that celebrates and romanticizes alcohol.
I had to make new friends.
I was overweight.
My resume was a disaster.
And don’t even get me started on trying to navigate the online dating world as someone who doesn’t want to “meet for drinks” or have a glass of wine at dinner.
Fast-forward six years, and today I am living an abundant life beyond my wildest dreams.
My true friends love me just the same sober, and I found so many new lifelong friends in AA.
I lost the terrible eating habits and found a new release at the gym.
I got a job and worked my way up from answering phones at a law firm to opening my own practice.
I met my wonderful husband in AA and we had a sober wedding with my three beautiful bonus daughters. (Matthew just celebrated two years on January 15th!)
I went from living with my parents to building my dream home.
I found hope, confidence, purpose, and joy.
Alcoholics Anonymous and the fellow alcoholics in the meetings saved my life and gave me one better than I could have imagined for myself.
My sobriety is not anonymous because I have found that my transparency may help the next person who feels hopeless and lost.
I am grateful for the life I live today but I know I am not “healed.” You never graduate from AA. All we are guaranteed is a daily reprieve, one day at a time. But if I do the things today that kept me sober yesterday, chances are I will stay sober for another 24 hours.
Sadly, my probate practice has brought me close to families with loved ones that did not make it to the other side of addiction. Addiction is a family disease. The family suffers when the addict is using. And the family suffers if the addict loses the battle.
I have a real soft spot for those families, and I enjoy supporting them through the complicated probate processes when the opportunities arise.
After losing my mom in a tragic accident, I can relate to families who have lost a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly. I can relate to all the questions surrounding bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and homes. It can all be so overwhelming.
If you facing the uncertainty that follows a death in the family, start by downloading our free Survivor Checklist: Six Steps to Take After a Loved One Dies in Florida. The checklist outlines important steps you can take on your own before deciding if you should consult a probate attorney.
Download your FREE Survivor Checklist here.
Have questions about the probate process? Give me a call at (850) 741-2999 or send me at email at email@example.com.
Have questions about recovery? Feel free to each out to me for that too.
We do recover.
Lauren "Celebrating Six Years Sober" Merritt