My Journey to Sobriety and Helping Others Find Freedom
My life was never supposed to turn out like this. I have 2 master’s degrees, I got my first one at 19 after graduating high school at 15. My partner of 23 years and I had lots of money, great jobs, flashy cars and a beautiful home but, I lost it all because I am and addict.
I spent my life looking for love and acceptance from others. Never able to fill the void of the abusive and poverty ridden childhood I lived through. I did whatever it took to be accepted and have friends. Whatever they wanted me to be, that is what I was. I had my first drink at nine years old during the wedding reception of my father’s 4th marriage. It made me feel alive and unstoppable. Even though it made me sick, it also made me feel invincible. I continued to drink during my high school years and on into college. I thought that graduating early from high school would give my father a reason to love me and see me as a person. He didn’t even come to my graduation.
I tried harder. I got my MBA at 19 and was sure he would be proud. No luck again. He told me even with a degree the only thing I would ever be was a drunk like my mother.
Somehow, I managed to pull it together. I never missed work; I paid my bills, but I kept drinking and hurting and trying to fill the hole that left me feeling empty and alone.
I ended up in detox and treatment a couple of times but always went back to the bottle. Things got worse every time. I was a blackout drinker and there are years that I don’t remember. I woke up in jail for probably the 3rd or 4th time and finally had enough. The judge sentenced me to treatment, and I went. That was in April of 1994. I met my partner and I stayed clean and sober. My life was so much better. I liked being in recovery. I got better jobs, made more money, lived in a bigger house, drove a nicer car. After nine and a half years, I decided I was cured. I stopped going to meetings and working steps. I no longer felt the need to lean on a higher power. Why would I? I knew what to do. I mean, look at what I had already done. My gratitude and my spirituality went right out the window. The first night I went back to drinking after all those years, I got a DUI. You would have thought that was enough but no, not for me. There were no consequences. I paid a big fine and that was that. The only thing I decided to do was to stop drinking and do drugs because drinking was my downfall.
The next few years were absolutely hell. I didn’t drink but I began doing all the things I never thought I would do. I began using drug intravenously. I stole, lied, cheated. My life was all about the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. I was homeless, broke and no one wanted anything to do with me. I thought about going back to the rooms of recovery but honestly, I wasn’t willing to do the work that it took. The drugs I was doing made me paranoid and that on top of the fear and loneliness made it even worse. My birthday of 2021, I pleaded with God to just let me not wake up. I could not go on any longer. Five days later, high, and out of my mind, I was arrested. I have never been so grateful in my life. I was ready to surrender to this horrible disease and get some help. I went to court and the Judge was going to send me home. I begged her to put me in treatment and she did. I waited in jail for 4 and a half months for a bed and I did so grateful for every minute. I went to treatment and I listened for the first time in a long time. I was humble and willing to change. After treatment I went to a sober for four months and got a sponsor and worked the steps. I wrote down 5 things I was grateful for every morning and continue to do so today. I know that as long as I live one day at a time, I will be blessed to see all the miracles my higher power has in store for me.
After my first year clean, I got the opportunity of a lifetime. I was offered a position at Foundations to Freedom. Every day I get to see the change in others that I so desperately sought to see in myself. I get to be a part of their journey into recovery. The clients tell me all the time that if it weren’t for Foundations to Freedom that don’t know where they would be, and I tell them it works both ways. Seeing change in their lives makes me want to continue to change.
The way I see life today is simple, the world is mine, just waiting for me to grab a hold and hang on!