Love Your Kaos

After hitting rock bottom, Amanda Groves has regained control of her life by learning to love the mayhem.

With three sons—the youngest of whom are twins—and a husband who often travels for work, Amanda Groves is used to hearing that she has her hands full.

She gets it. You don’t want her life. But she’s damned grateful for it. Every insanely chaotic bit of it.

Seven and a half years ago, just after her 32nd birthday, her husband told her to get out. He’d had enough of the lying and stealing that had become a product of her growing alcoholism and substance abuse, and he didn’t want her around their 3-year-old son anymore. That was her rock bottom.

The spiral began at age 14, when Groves lost her mother to cancer and largely suppressed the crippling grief. She self-medicated with beer and marijuana—habits that continued when she went to College of Charleston and intensified when her father died of pancreatic cancer when she was 25, shortly after her wedding.

Three years later, she and Billy had their first child. She thought it would help her sort through her addiction issues. It didn’t.

“I don’t remember a lot, which just sucks,” she recalls. “Thinking about when Walker was born to when I got sober, I don’t remember things. It’s bizarre and weird and regretful, but my husband finally had enough. I was kind of a shell. I lied, I stole, just to be able to not be sober every day.”

Groves had already burned plenty of bridges, so she wasn’t sure where she would go, but an aunt in Charleston offered her a place to stay on the condition she went to intensive outpatient treatment and stayed sober.

She was on her way to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting when Billy called to say he wanted a divorce.

“I was like, ‘I don’t have to go. I don’t have to get sober for anyone ever again,’” she recalls. “That was the first time I did it for me. That was what I needed. I was all in.”

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