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Real Housewives of Orange County Spotlight: Braunwyn

As I literally play catch up with all my favorite reality shows, I had to binge watch the Real Housewives of the OC. One of the first Real Housewives shows, I was looking forward of seeing less of Vicki and Tamra.

Instead of blogging about each episode, I want to spotlight on each person and what happened during the episodes.

So let’s dive in on Braunwyn.

Featured as the party girl who “whooped it up” more than Vicki did (and Vicki still didn’t like her), Braunwyn was known as the “alcoholic” on the show, having issues with her mom because her mom wasn’t present in her life, married to a gorgeous husband and has plenty of children who keep her busy, from the looks of things, Braunwyn has a pretty good life. On top of that, she and her husband live a swinger lifestyle, enjoying their free love relationship.

Regardless of their lifestyle, Braunwyn and Sean have a packed house of beautiful children, who have the fortunate understanding of their parents and live without judgement.

Jacob, one of their children, who was going through depression, found his voice in exploring of becoming a Drag Queen and both Braunwyn and Sean are supportive of their son’s choices and most importantly having him find his happiness.

Braunwyn, pretty much, we can safely say, had a privileged life, without so much as a struggle, although she will use her mother and blame things happening in her life now on her.

So….why is she an alcoholic?

If you’re an addict/alcoholic you understand, addiction doesn’t matter where you come from, just what you want to do about your problem. But if you’re not, well you would be someone like Kelly Dodd, who clearly has a problem but most likely will never do anything about it and if you’re not like a “Kelly Dodd”, you either will understand or not.

Addiction is not something that happens because you had less in life or more. Addiction is something that happens because of the way one would feel about themselves or how they view the world around them.

Speaking from my own personal experience, being sober now for the last 29 years wasn’t always easy. While I never lived an abundant life, my father always made sure we had food on the table, clothes on our back, shoes on our feet and a roof over our head. For many years, he was the provider of our family. We lived next door to my great grandmother, whose brother was an intravenous user. As a young child, I wasn’t aware of that. I just knew an American Indian man who was sweet and respectful man.

One day he mysteriously died and to this day, no one ever shared exactly what happened or why he passed away, even though I suspect it could have been an overdose. I don’t pry, even though it’s my family, sometimes family stuff is also private.

As I grew up, I despised drugs. I thought they were all dangerous and why would anyone want to use them if they are going to kill you.

But as I became aware of the “world” around me and how guys treated my friends because they went through puberty a little faster than I did, I felt left out. It did not feel good not to have guys like me or have a crush on me. This was just one instance of many which led me to experiment with drugs and alcohol, because when I was high, I wasn’t thinking about the way I looked or if someone liked me or not. As you can imagine over time, it got progressively worse where I just stopped caring about everything, literally.

Watching Braunwyn going through these first weeks of sobriety, I can completely relate to the difficulties of having to change the ways you’re used to living. Everything I thought I knew and I didn’t know shit. For Braunwyn, because she still hangs out with people who also don’t have “drinking problems” like Kelly and Shannon, I can only imagine and relate what it’s like to feel you’re missing out on something and it sucks.

Well at the beginning of my sobriety it did, once you have years under your belt and you learn a thing or two about yourself, I realized how much of a better person I am sober.

But for the sake of this particular show, you have multiple people who drink and quite often throughout the day. Kelly has no qualms about her drinking, Shannon loves her tequila and as for Gina, well because of the DUI, she had to stop, although I can’t recall her drinking while everyone was out.

In essence for Brawnwyn it will be more of a difficult time due to the fact everyone she hangs out with are ‘people, places and things’.

I’m happy to see her husband stands by her although the apologies to drink around her has to stop. I remember one time, I was part of the “Hospitals and Institutions” Group for Narcotics Anonymous. Basically, this group worked with different recovery facilities where we brought a meeting to them. An introduction, if you will, of what N.A. and A.A. meetings would be like when they leave the rehab and enter real life.

In one of these meetings, I still had a habit of drinking my soda in a brown paper back and as I was drinking one of the women asked me if I can take my drink out of the bag because it was a trigger for someone there. I really wanted to say no, because in real life, what is this girl going to do? Ask everyone who has a drink in a brown paper bag she encounters walking down the street and ask them to remove their drink because it triggers her?

This is the very example where people who admit to their powerlessness also have to admit they don’t control everything around them.

To watch Braunwyn consistently cry because everyone was drinking around her and she lost the privilege to do so, well one will need to ask, why is she doing this? Does she really have a problem or is this another way to gain attention?

Only she can answer this, not me (just saying).

Early sobriety everything will be a trigger and that’s just the fact of life. At some point, the meetings and everything everyone is sharing will drill in and make sense.

Therapy has also been helpful because people in the meetings are not your therapist. They are just another recovering person living clean and sober a day at a time.

Even when visiting her mom, Braunwyn still didn’t feel she was living up to her expectations and was battling more demons when her mother told her she’s not as fun anymore.

The bottom line is people, most times, will not be as pandering to your sobriety. Yes people will congratulate you and they will celebrate your milestones, however, that doesn’t mean just because they celebrate your sobriety, it will give them pause to do the same. Not everyone has a drinking problem.

Looking at Shannon and Kelly, one can say, perhaps they do. But if they function in their lives and understand their priorities, their children are cared for, they’re not disheveled, they are focused on their business and prospects, who is anyone to say, “they have a serious drinking problem.”

Not for me to say and not for anyone else to say.

I can share many of stories of what I have seen with people throughout my years of sobriety and have seen them go right back out the door, with “controlled” intake and consumption.

That may work for them and that’s well and good but perhaps that’s not for me.

Braunwyn has a lot to think about and stop crying about it. She also has to stop pointing fingers on how much others have had to drink and how her sober recollection supersedes someone who may have had too much to drink.

The sober person doesn’t become a monitor of the “drunks”.

The day of her renewal vows everyone was complaining if there will be alcohol or not. Her son Jacob said bizarre things about what if his dad left her for a younger woman…???

Her daughter actually said very beautiful things which tied up the renewal vows nicely. But the whole thing was just awkward. Are we left to wonder this is just a storyline for Braunwyn?

Does she really have a problem or is this just another call for attention?

Whatever the case may be, everyone has their own road to travel and while some may take the main road, there are those few, who will “travel the road less travelled”.

Until then. Take care of you.


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