6,576 days ago I made the decision to save my own life and chose to be better. For those of you who are like me and hate math that’s 18 years ago!

18 years!

It blows my mind because some days it feels like it was just yesterday that I was walking away from the chaos of addiction.

Over the last 18 years, so many things have changed. There has still been struggle and heartache, but nothing like the chaos I was living in.

I have rebuilt relationships that I thought could never be repaired. I have watched 2 of my sons become adults and my other 3 children reach their teenage years with a sober mother there to help them along the way.

I have built real meaningful relationships with people around me.

I have found and held several jobs for long periods of time and had more than one of my own apartments.

I have watched my sisters and their families grow. I have been able to support them in a real meaningful way when they need it.

I have relationships and bonds with almost all my nephews and nieces. They have an Aunt Brandy they KNOW and have real memories with because I made the decision to get sober.

I got to stand next to my sister Tori as she married the man she loves and I got to have her by my side as I fought for my life against cancer.

I have found real love.

The kind that messes up but puts in the work to make it right. The kind that fails but gets back up and at it without pause. The kind that holds me extra tight on my bad days and doesn’t hold it against me when I need him to love me from a distance.

The love and support leave me in awe time and time again.

I organized and put together an NA meeting in my local community, and even though it didn’t work out the way I wanted, I did the thing.

I put in the work and the time and made it happen.

I started this website and sharing my stories in a brand new way to reach way more people than I ever imagined.

I have become a huge advocate for adoption and all the things that come with it. I have talked to hundreds if not thousands of adoptive and birth parents alike offering insight and support.

I was interviewed by the The Guardian!

There is so much more to list, but then we will be here until next year.

This part is for anyone who is struggling to stay sober or stuck in the hold of active addiction.

I can’t tell you the road to recovery is easy because it is not.

It is hard work and long nights with even longer days. There are super low lows and unbelievable highs. Eventually, you settle onto your even ground, and things will even out.

Sober life is still life, so it will have it struggles that aren’t related to your addiction but may trigger you in ways that make you want to give in but don’t.

That one night of “relief” isn’t worth your life. I know it feels impossible that you will ever find yourself in a safe place and sober, but I can tell you it is possible.

Your loved ones are waiting for you. I know you think they will never forgive you but if you really put in the work and you make the change I am willing to bet you will be surprised.

Remember, there is no magic way to get and stay clean. It’s all about finding what works for you and what you relate to. For some people, that is god or NA.

It doesn’t matter what it is that you find to help you find your way as long as you are willing to put in the work every day. There is no wrong way to get clean.

Stay strong and remember one day at a time.

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

–Robert H. Schuller