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Berelsman comes up from ‘Last Rock Bottom’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 01, 2014 9:27 PM

BY NANCY SPENCER

Herald Editor

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FORT JENNINGS — It’s said one has to hit rock bottom before they can start to bring themselves back up. What if there’s more than one rock bottom?

Sara Berelsman enjoyed drinking with her peers in late high school and college. When many move on to start their careers and families and leave the party life behind, Berelsman found she was still drinking.

“It was fun when I was in college. Everyone was drinking,” she said. “After college, my friends had stopped drinking but I hadn’t. I drank if I was happy; I drank if I was sad. I never needed a reason — it was mostly to escape.”

Berelsman didn’t drink every day and she didn’t start the day drinking. She didn’t feel like an alcoholic.

“I didn’t drink all the time so I told myself it was OK,” she said. “But when I did drink, it was bad.”

After marrying and having two children, Berelsman found herself feeling stuck.

“I was married with small children and I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. “Alcohol made it better temporarily. I was drinking to get away from what I thought were my problems when my drinking was the problem.”

Her behavior started to affect her marriage. She and her husband, Andy, were fighting and there seemed to be no solution. She also suffered from depression and she had days when she felt she was at rock bottom with no way out or up. Little did she know, there was still room to fall.

“We started talking about me moving out and getting my life together. Then I hit my last rock bottom,” she said. “I was drinking at a friend’s house on Oct. 6, 2012, and Andy had gone home. I stayed and got super wasted and did a bunch of stupid stuff and drank until 6 in the morning when my friend’s alarm went off for work. My kids were there and I had to drive home. I risked my children’s lives, my life and anyone else who was on the road that morning.”

The real catalyst to Berelsman getting sober was her daughter.

“When I got up the next day, I had scratches all over me and I didn’t know where they came from,” she said. “My daughter knew and told me I had fallen into a rose bush. That was when I knew I had to stop drinking. It was almost spiritual. God took over and I knew I had to quit.”

With a crippling hangover that lasted for several days, Berelsman started to take stock of her life and where she wanted it to go.

“When I was feeling OK, I came home and started to write,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was going to be; I just felt like writing. The words poured out of me. It turned into a book, ‘My Last Rock Bottom’.”

Determined to stop drinking and start living the life she wanted, Berelsman threw herself into finding out who she was.

“I felt really good. I even tried to teach myself how to play guitar,” she recalled. “That was what my counselor refers to as my ‘honeymoon with sobriety.’ Then it was over and I found out how hard being sober was going to be.”

Friends Berelsman used to drink with faded away and she found herself alone in her house in the country.

“It can hard to find things that make me happy,” she said. “At first I did a lot of cleaning and laundry and watching movies. Going to support group and AA meetings was my favorite part of the week because I could get out and be with people.”

Her relationship with her husband improved and she enjoyed spending time with her girls and as a family.

“Andy and I are a lot less angry,” she said. “We watch ourselves more and we’re a lot nicer to each other.”

Berelsman looks back on her journey so far and likes what she sees.

“I try to focus on the simple things. Not drinking has left a void and I stay busy to fill my time. I feel better all around and I want to be a good mom and have a good quality of life in general.”

 

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