By the time Cassy received her third OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), she recalls, “I had lost everything” – numerous jobs (including one she held for 20 years), her fitness and health, a stable marriage and, most devastating of all, her relationships with her adult twin daughters.
Cassy had never really been a drinker. She had a solid job, taught aerobics, was a runner and cared about her health and her family. But in 2010, amidst a time of profound personal stress, that all began to change. At almost 40 years old, Cassy started to drink as a way to deal with depression, anxiety and emotional pain. She became a “closet” drinker in the truest sense of the word. “I would actually drink in a closet,” says Cassy as she talks about hiding her drinking, including stashing bottles under her pillow. Her life became driven by alcohol every day, all day. Cassy says “hiding my nonstop drinking was exhausting.”
Her first OWI was in 2013 at 8:30 a.m. on her way to work when “my van went off the road and I landed upside down in the snow and unconscious.” However, that did not stop her from drinking, which led to her second OWI at the end of 2014 while driving to Iowa to visit a daughter in college. But nothing changed. In fact, her alcohol consumption escalated to the point of drinking daily at work, which resulted in losing a job she had held for 20 years.