I always thought I was destined for jails, institutions, and death, and used to pray that death would come first. On January 9th, 2012, I was drinking at a gathering after the funeral of my boyfriend’s grandfather. I drank so much in just a few hours that, of course, I was blacking out. I couldn’t remember where my boyfriend said he was going, why he had left me, or when he coming back, so I got a ride to his house. Shortly after I got there, the police came. While I was being arrested, I caught a felony for spitting blood (assault) on a police officer, on top of three misdemeanors.
That was two years and seven months ago.
After I was released from jail, I actually followed through with what I needed to do. I went to an IOP (intensive outpatient program) for treatment, participated in drug court, and started going to 12-step meetings six to eight times a week. I did that because I didn’t know anyone who didn’t use drugs or drink. I met some amazing people who had the kind of recovery I wanted, but I also met people I knew I needed to stay away from.
I got a sponsor and did everything the people who had what I wanted told me to do. I listened to them and took their suggestions since my way hadn’t had great results. I tried doing things differently. After about six months, I decided that my Higher Power had given me talents to make use of, and wanted to do something worthwhile with them. I was sure my Higher Power would help me.
I went back to college. I had received a degree in law almost 20 years before, but as a possible convicted felon, I wasn’t able to work. I thought if I went back to school and studied neuroscience and addiction treatment, there was a possibility I could help people even more than just sponsoring and going to meetings. So I started fresh.
I am now in my third year of college as a dual major in biology and psychology!
I have one more year until I receive my Bachelors, and then I plan to attend graduate school. I never knew that I could be so happy, and so productive at the same time; all without drugs or alcohol!
For the first time in my life, I am grateful for what God has given me. I had to become honest, open-minded and willing, tolerant and patient, and accept what has happened in the past and learn to leave it there. I no longer have drama in my life. I decided that the most important things in my life have been there all along. I was searching for something that none of us have until we reach a different level of consciousness.
Most importantly, I learned to love myself, and the gifts that I was born with. God gave me a brain I can use for both good and bad, but when I use it for good, my life is full and rich with love, laughter, and amazing friends and family. They have taken me back into their hearts, and now trust me. The trust wasn’t given freely; it was earned.
My daughter gets to be a kid again since she no longer has to take care of her mom. My mom is no longer afraid of me, and both my parents are proud of me.
Ultimately, I want to work with addicts in both a clinical and scientific setting. I want to treat, gather research information, and then study the brains of both of addicts and non-addicts. I believe that there is so much we don’t know and that once understood, we will be able to biologically interrupt the process of addiction before people have to lose everything, including their lives.
I don’t think I am better than anyone else anymore, and I no longer expect perfection.
I know I’m just like everyone else, and that my story may have different names and faces, but it is just the same as yours. I finally realized that it’s ok to make mistakes; it’s not ok to continue the same behaviors expecting different results.
While I finish school I will remain active in the fellowship and online, praying that I can touch one person’s life in a positive way. If I can come back from near death to do what I am today, then anyone can.
This beautiful, inspiring post was submitted by Ilsa Miller.