She had two more kids but continued a life plagued with drinking and irresponsible behavior.
"I'd drink. I'd be unaccountable. I'd spend all our money and not know what I'd spent it on," she said. "I could go to the mall for four hours and do nothing."
This is when she hit the time of her life that, when she looks back on it now, brings her to tears.
After divorcing her second husband, they split custody with their children. But on the weeks when the kids were supposed to be with her, her drinking sabotaged her.
She'd be scheduled to pick up her kids on a Monday, but then she'd be drinking tequila and Monday would turn into Tuesday, which would turn into Wednesday. She wouldn't allow herself to be with her kids unless she was sober, and her struggles to stay sober robbed her of precious time with her kids.
"Do I drink today, or do I see my children today," she said.
Her daughter, she says, may have seen the worst of it.
When she missed her daughter's graduation, she said, her daughter was disappointed ... but not necessarily surprised. Her daughter had spent years with a mother whose spirit was tainted by alcohol use. She also spent years with a step-mother who, Gretz says, treated her the way a daughter should be treated. That was hard, she says, and she wanted to stand up and take back that place in her daughter's life.
But she knew she was a mess, and a loving step-mother was a better option than an alcoholic biological mother.
Eventually, she got help.
Southern Minnesota Recovery Connection helped her find her way to a better life. She also found her way to her third husband, Drew Gretz, who had two girls of his own before they met. He's given her a built in support system, someone who understands her demons.