Monday, September 9, 2013
Guest Post :: Community Stories of Recovery, part 1
I grew up in a middle class family that had numerous strengths and gave me assets for growth. Unfortunately, generational alcholism existed on both sides of my family and even the non-alcoholics in my family often were at a loss to deal with feelings or set appropriate boundaries with each other.
When I was a child, there were scary, painful things that rocked my world, stole my sense of safety, and fractured my personal identity. I wanted desperately to be different than those people I saw who turned to alcohol or valium to fill a void in themselves; however, I fell into the same pit and and started abusing alcohol at age 11. I did things overtime that were increasingly dangerous to my self and others including drunk driving. By age 17, I had tried to committ suicide twice. I stopped breathing during an overdose on alcohol and pills when I was in my late teens.
Two months before that incident occurred, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic spoke to the teens at my church. His story was compelling and it was one of the first times I heard an adult tell on himself. He had been a violent teen who went to prison but was now sane, a business man and kind to his children and I could see that he was grateful to have them. He gave me hope even though it didn't stop me from drinking. At that point, I was addicted and couldn't stop on will power alone.
I sought help through 12 step Programs that truly saved my life and taught me how to walk and talk and think all over again. I had a community backing me that said "we did this and you can, too." Overtime, I have also benefitted from counseling, spiritually based support groups, exercise and changes to my eating habits. It has been a series of steady steps forward, using mistakes as spring boards to further growth, input from wonderful sponsors (mentors), asking the God of my understanding for daily guidance, admitting when I am wrong, and being willing to help others that has reshaped my life. The recovery path is not easy but worth it in the long run. I have been continuously clean and sober for almost 30 years and want to keep going so I can see what the next chapter will bring one day at a time.
If you have a story of recovery from addiction that you'd like to share this month, send your story in 500 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org.