Hi, I’m Danielle,
the founder of Rooted Ruby.
My journey to freedom started the day I found out I was going to be a MAMA!!
Let me take some time to tell you the story about how and why I started the endeavor of Rooted Ruby and why I am the person to help you. I have learned through experience. This was my mess, my journey and my path. I am here to help make it a little easier for you.
AM I AN ALCOHOLIC?
I typed it into Google and hit search. I remember the moment so clearly. I had found out the day before that I was pregnant. I kept the good news from my partner so that I could go out and buy just one more bottle of wine. I went to the liquor store a couple doors down from my house. It was so handy having it right there. I knew the owner by name and knew exactly where my favourite bottle of Sauvignon Blanc sat on the shelf. He even started stocking them in the cooler just for me, so that they would be cold and ready to drink. John was a nice fellow, always friendly and kind. We were new in town and had just moved in down the street.
I was trying to start over. I had just been through a rough breakup with the man I believed I would spend the rest of my life with. I had continuously chosen booze and drinking over him and then found myself making all sorts of bad decisions. I had lost my job, getting fired (luckily quietly) from a high-end resort hotel in the mountains, where I was managing their premier restaurant, a very impressive steakhouse and attached lobby bar. I had just moved provinces to take that job after being recruited out of the blue by a hospitality recruiting company that had found my LinkedIn profile. When I took that job, I thought to myself, “this is it! I finally made it!” I really believed that all my hard work had paid off! I was going to be running a beautiful restaurant in the mountains in a stunning boutique hotel. Surrounded by all the things I loved most in life, hiking trails, mountain lakes, and the outdoors. Ready to set down some roots in a small community in a gorgeous little house overlooking the Rockies. It was a dream come true.
Until it wasn’t.
I made myself a little too comfortable and it wasn’t long before I was staying late to have drinks with my coworkers. Even though I had a 35-minute drive down a windy mountain road to get home. It wasn’t long before my home life got strained and then I made even more excuses of why I had to stay at the hotel. I was able to talk to the GM and get a room for myself so that I could “work late” and “really turn things around”. I didn’t know it then, but I was choosing booze repeatedly, and eventually it would cost me everything I held dear.
The day I got fired I had already chosen to resign. My home life was a disaster, and my life was falling apart. I couldn’t put my finger on what was happening and why, but I just felt totally out of control and like I needed to get out of hospitality. I needed a break from the restaurant life. I needed to step away from the drinking culture of resort life. I knew I was totally out of control. So, I had put in my resignation saying that the hotel atmosphere was not for me, and that I preferred working in a standalone restaurant. Which was true.. to an extent.
The day I got called into the office of my director of F&B, I figured it was just about an exit interview or something like that. Blindsided by a conversation about my drinking it was brought to my attention that I would not be needed to finish out the few shifts I had left. I had been reported to have walked behind the bar on shift and filled a togo cup with wine.
It was true. I did do that. But in my “defense” I was done my shift for the day and was working on my own time to get some paperwork done. Ballsy move to say the least.
Like WTF?!!! What was I thinking?!
In what world would I think it was reasonable to justify my actions? Whether I could see it that way or not, I was stealing from the company. And even worse, I could have just wrote it off, but I chose to hide it.
That was only the beginning of a rough reality check.
Fast forward a few months and a lot of shitty choices later…
I met a guy that was cooking at a restaurant I was serving in.
Super fun, and kind, and best part – NOT A DRINKER! I needed stability. I needed someone that didn’t drink. Everyone in my life at that time was all about drinks, and I was realizing I did not have the ability to restrain myself. I had built up an insane tolerance and my drink of choice was either Sauv Blanc, bubble or I would drink what I called a “high-test” raddler. I took a 9% IPA and topped it with a shot of grapefruit juice and ALWAYS had a shot of Jamesons on the side. It was typical for me at this time, to drink a hundred-dollar bar tab every day, sometimes pushing it to $200, $250. A DAY… not even thinking twice. I was making insane money and enjoying my mountain summer on a busy golf course! It was AWESOME.. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.
End of the season came, and I had no real plans for what was next. Talking about wanting to live in the middle of nowhere. So that’s what we did. We picked up and moved to a tiny town of 600 people in Central AB and found another job at a couple of local restaurants. This is where I met John, the liquor store owner. It was only a few months of living there before I found out I was pregnant. But when I look back, I was already starting to make the same bad decisions there, I had been making for a while. Even though I was drinking WAY LESS, I had started making friends with some regulars and found myself in the same situations. Choosing booze over my safety, and unfortunately, the safety of others.
When I started recognizing some feelings that my body was changing, I took a pregnancy test, and when it showed the second pink line, I was full of mixed emotions! So excited because I had been wanting to start the next stage in my life, I was so ready to become a mama!! But also terrified because almost instantly I was thinking about how I needed to go and get my last bottle of wine to enjoy before having to endure 9 long months of sobriety…
Like what? Who does that? I felt so embarrassed and sick to my stomach. I was scared and confused and felt guilty and ashamed. I knew that I cared about the health and wellness of this baby. I knew I would never drink throughout my pregnancy. But I also knew that all I wanted to do was drink and it was really difficult to quiet the voice in my head that was trying to make excuses. The voice that was saying “just one won’t hurt” and calculating the alcohol percentage per hour saying that if my body could naturally digest a standard drink per hour how much percentage would a 5% beer consumed over 2 hours really affect the baby. All these thoughts were putting strain on me. It was a constant struggle to keep my mind on other things and stay away from the stocked cupboard of wine and whiskey. I would feel anger, and so much jealousy when I would be watching Outlander (one of my favourite series at the time) and the main character living in 18th century Scotland would knock back a few shots of whiskey, pregnant, in almost every episode!
I’m not positive why I tried so hard to keep my struggle to myself. I guess it was partly because I could never accept that I maybe did have a problem with alcohol. Being in the hospitality industry skews your perception of normal drinking habits. And I came from a family of big drinkers, and none of them were “alcoholics” (or so I thought). What would it mean if I couldn’t handle my booze? What would it mean if I admitted that I was starting to think, “maybe I do have a problem”? I couldn’t stand the thought, “what if I AM an alcoholic??”
These words would haunt me. For years I fought the idea with the excuses that I couldn’t be an alcoholic because I could totally take it or leave it. I just CHOSE to never leave it. I thought I was in control. But I wasn’t. Not anymore. I don’t know when the shift really happened for me, but I do know that I had been wanting to cut back for a while. I had been trying to moderate and that it wasn’t really working. I had distanced myself from my friends because I couldn’t say “no”. And now I was pregnant and still fighting the urge to drink so intensely.
That was the beginning of the end for me. I looked online for support and couldn’t find what I was looking for. I know that at some point I searched the phrase “AM I AN ALCOHOLIC?” and found an interesting article that spoke to my heart. It said, “NO ONE IS AN ALCOHOLIC.” Wow, that had never occurred to me. Those words wouldn’t fully register in my brain for almost a year. But I had found something that finally resonated with me and made me feel better instead of worse about my drinking. Finding Annie Grace and THIS NAKED MIND would set me on a new path in life, and I had no idea how much I would come to love and appreciate and admire her courage to stand in her truth and share it with the world.
So here I am, doing the same. Standing in nothing but my truth and holding my hands out to you. I want nothing more than to help you skip through some of the painful bits and come out stronger and more resilient than ever. Let me help pack your tool box with everything you need to root, shine and grow in this new journey of self discovery.
All my love,