The last six years have been quite a ride. Up until then, I was a very controlled drinker, and might have called myself a “normie.” I would only have one or two drinks on weekends, and maybe get a good buzz at a barbeque once in a while.
I married into a family where addiction is rampant. My husband is the one in the family without addiction issues. We had big hearts and helped his relatives and family when we could. We let them stay with us out of their home states until they could get on their feet.
There was one particular relative that had a very serious drinking problem, and it began to seriously affect our household. There were phone calls in the middle of the night to report this relative passed out in a drive thru, or to come get our car before it was impounded due to drunk driving.
Before I knew it, I was drinking to cope with the stress.
I was already well on my way with addiction when tragedy struck. My mother-in-law, whom I loved very much, passed away suddenly. It was the first time I ever lost someone so close. I am pretty sure I spent that week at the bottom of a whiskey bottle.
I became a daily drinker.
It didn’t matter what it was, if it had alcohol in it I would drink it.
Shortly after I started a new job, I became very ill due to a weakened immune system, the drinking, and the stress. I had a double lung infection, double ear infections, strep throat, and a sinus infection all at once. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, and two narcotic pain medications, in both pill and liquid form.
Enter new addiction.
Over the next few years I was exposed to “the rooms” off and on. During those times I kept thinking that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t need all that structure. All those steps, and the people in the rooms terrified me. I didn’t believe that I would be accepted or that people could be trusted.
Fast forward: I had this amazing job but the alcohol soon began affecting my ability to perform. I began drinking before, during, and well… virtually all the time, whether I was working or not. I was also stealing pills. I thought pills enabled me to drink more and still function. I believed this until I blacked out behind the wheel and slammed into a tree.
I decided it was time to go to treatment.
I left for treatment on Father’s Day and was finally getting settled. Two days later, on my husband’s birthday, I was called into the counselors’ office. There were two counselors waiting for me, and I knew this wasn’t good. They told me that my dad had passed away the night before. I managed to make it another three weeks, but my head was never really in it. I relapsed a few more times after that. Half measures availed me nothing.
I stood at a turning point.
I got the courage to go to a meeting and get my 24-hour chip. After that, I kept going back until I found someone that I wanted to be my sponsor. I started taking her suggestions and working the steps. I got a service position opening my home group every week.
I continue to help wherever I can whether it’s writing my story for a blog, or just being there for someone to talk to. These are the things that are keeping me stay sober and have worked the last 90 days.
When asked, “What’s different this time?” I say I can feel it in my soul. I’ve made it to the end of every day without picking up a drink by following directions. I follow the directions of my sponsor, the directions of my higher power, and gain invaluable experience, strength, and hope from each and every person I hear in the rooms.
This brave post was submitted by Heather.