The closer I’m getting to leaving for rehab, the more I’m understanding what is important to me – and the more transparency is starting to mean to me. What’s the point if I go into this journey with NO accountability. I’m not doing myself any favours by hiding behind an anonymous gravatar and pseudonym.

Here we are.

My happily ever after.
In all our glorious happiness, 6 years ago. I’m the one that looks too happy, at the bottom right. Overly happy, because I was already pretty loaded by the time this pic was taken. Miraculously, one of my besties, an incredibly talented photographer, managed to snap this on the first shot – all 4 dogs were actually looking at the camera.

Like, WTF.

It’s my favourite photo of us. EVER. And, I just sent a copy of it for print, to take with me to rehab on Tuesday. Because…I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with being away. It’s giving me a sort of mental comfort knowing I can bring all 5 of them with me, somehow.

I really wish they had therapy dogs at rehab. Because, well, dogs.

We both look quite different now. I’m less puffy, and Hubs has way better hair, a beard, and now wears ball caps…it works. We both have a tonne more tattoos, we’ve moved, and we’ve changed.

Oh God, how we’ve changed.

I’ve changed more in the last 18 days than I care to count, much less the last 6 years.

Is it normal to miss those closest to you, before you even leave? Because that’s how I’m feeling right now. In all honesty, I’ve missed them for the last year, two years, and more. Even though I’ve been right here. Sort of.

I want to go barf a little. 

Not for leaving, but for leaving that sort of happiness I see in this photo somewhere over the course of the last god-knows-how-many-years.

Even then – was I happy? Because I was still drunk in this photo. 

At the rate I’ve been going – since this photo was taken, I’ve drank 4380 large bottles of wine.


$61,320 worth of wine.

In 6 years. 

Hows that for transparency.

I want to go barf a lot.

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


  1. That’s rigorous honesty. I think of you often since I’ve been reading you and feel you’re on your way to happiness beyond any you’ve experienced. Without a doubt you have some tough times ahead, you seem to have a healthy attitude, which I believe, is imperative.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That makes me feel good, thank you. I’m writing all of this – as place markers, for myself – so I can look back to where I came from. Trying literally anything and everything I can to set myself up for success. Accountability with myself, first of all, and others. Doing that math right now seriously has made me sick to my stomach. I could buy a house for a needy family with that amount of money (not a nice one, but maybe rent for quite a while!) – but nope, I just drank it instead. It’s too much. #ShakingHead

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That made my day, thank you. As a photographer, I can’t take an actual photo of this hot mess in it’s entirety…so writing is the closest I can do to capturing where I am right now. And where I never, ever, ever, ever want to come back to.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Honesty is a good thing especially with yourself right now, in the future and with those that you love. We can’t change the past because it’s written in stone, so don’t dwell on it. However you can change what you do from this day on. Since beginning to read your posts it looks like you’re well on your way. It is going to be rough but there are many of us out there to help you along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure if you’re affiliated with a 12 Step support group, nor am I usually forward about it unless I know that someone is but… One of the promises of AA is, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” Again, the past is what it is; the past can’t be changed. Right now focus on where you are today – that is most important! Working on our past issues comes later in sobriety 🙂


  3. Great photo and the dogs oh my gosh. Cute! And what Jeff said. 🙂 I don’t think I could do the math for how much my drinking cost- but hey… look at how much you will have going forward! Enough for some awesome sober vacations. Peace and love my friend. -Janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I stopped the math at the time this pic would’ve been taken. And yes, the dogs are the best. Going to miss them so much 😦 😦 😦 Absolutely, I’m going to reinvest so much into sober vacations…and actually remembering them 😉 xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey that’s not too bad. Add in legal fees and court fees from a DUI. Plus rent for when your partner kicks you out of the house and you have to live in a basement apartment. Add in money lost from unemployment and living off savings. Then treatment. And follow up stuff to get license back. It’s astounding! And the booze…oh Lord I don’t want to count. My DUI and those things I mentioned was easily $80K. But it was necessary to get me where I was needed to go.

    Anyway, love the picture, and I wish you the best when you get in there. Remember you get out of it what you put into it. Going into with eyes wide open and honesty and humility and the burning desire to quit…that will help immensely.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful dogs and honesty. Thank you for it. I feel it in my bones, that in the future there will be another photo just like this, many more actually, with both of you gloriously happy but also super sober too! I’m cheering you on your journey. x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is great! What a beautiful family photo. I can relate so much to this feeling, knowing you are leaving your loves behind. Think how wonderful it will be when you come back! PS – I am a dog lover too, we have 4 🙂


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