The Road to Recovery

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I was asked to speak at a meeting tonight.  To share my story:  my experience, my strength and my hope. But there was a mix up and I didn’t have to speak. All day long  the  story of my recovery has been bouncing around in my brain. All day long I thought of what I needed to say and what I wanted to share with my fellow recovering alcoholics.  But I didn’t get to share. And my brain is still bouncing…

So here is my story.

Once upon a time on a warm spring day in the year 1962..wait I don’t need to go back that far! However, there is a picture of me in my high chair, at the age of two, with a glass of champagne in front of me.  The look on my face is, well, blissful. I look at that picture from time to time and I wonder. Was that when it started? Did it trigger something in me, that then lay dormant for years? There are many theories on why an alcoholic becomes an alcoholic. Genetics…check! Feeling different, isolated, empty…check! Lack of self esteem….check!  But others surely have and feel those things. We don’t all become alcoholics. So it must be just the right blend of bad stuff that tips the scale.

It’s important for a recovering alcoholic to share their story. It’s helps us to remember. We can’t ever forget what it was like when we were drinking. Ever. I drank to fit in because I felt like a misfit. I drank because I was lonely and sad. I drank because it helped to turn the noise in my head off. I drank because I thought I was prettier, funnier, smarter, better when I was drunk. I drank because I hated the person I saw in the mirror. I drank to fill the gaping hole inside of me. Finally, I just drank to get drunk.

But then one day, it stopped working. There wasn’t enough alcohol in the world to make me feel better.  And I was sick. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Everything hurt. Then I remembered a place. A place where a friend went to get sober. And I called them.

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Maple Leaf Farm, Underhill VT

As I pulled in, I saw a sign. In huge letters above one of the buildings it said “You Are No Longer Alone”.  And I wasn’t. I spent 3 days in detox and the next 27 days, never feeling alone.

it was the beginning of my road to recovery.  It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always pretty or perfect. It was messy and scary and overwhelming at times. But once I took that first step and admitted that I was powerless over alcohol, I started the journey of sobriety.

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I love being sober. I love waking up to each new day. I love my life and who I have become and am becoming. A work in progress. And I am grateful. Everyday I am grateful no matter what is happening in my life. There is always something to be grateful for!

I recently celebrated 20 years! I have been sober longer than I drank. And I am not alone.

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God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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6 thoughts on “The Road to Recovery

  1. I appreciate your story very much. I went through a first marriage, very young, with an alcoholic. I did not adapt to Alanon, I just could not restrain or not respond, I was told to wait until he chose to become sober. Not to nag, etc. But I met him at age 18 and was with him until 24, then, after that, as a part time parent, now grandparents at functions. His present wife ignores, doesn’t nag and they seem content. He has become successful, a working alcoholic. I have some concerns about my two oldest children, due to his influence and some family stresses. My brother went through sobriety at around forty and he took my children to Alateen meetings. I do not ever presume to know another person’s walk through life, but I honestly respect and care about you, I just feel this way while I read your stories. You are a warm, caring and positive person! You Have Come a Long Way, Baby! Hope this gives you a smile, “silly commercial” memory.

    • I think that’s the nicest thing I’ve heard in a long time!! Thank you!! It’s been quite the journey. After my first husband died, I remarried 4 years later. He told me he was sober because he knew this was important to me. But he wasn’t. He stopped working within the first year of marriage. And spent his days while I was at work drinking in the garage. I couldn’t ignore… My sobriety was at stake and my son had grown up in a sober home. It took another two and a half years to get him out of our lives. I think. I may have written about this before:-) But it truly was a darker time than any of my drinking years. My stepsons whom I still have a relationship with, never see him. It breaks my heart for them. When I last saw him at graduation he looked awful. But you know what? All the anger was gone from me…all I felt was enormous sadness for him and for his sons. I hope someday he finds his way.
      I was one of those alcoholics like your ex husband. Sometimes those are the hardest relationships as it’s not so obvious and in your face, rather more insidious. I hope someday he too finds his way.
      Thank you again for sharing and for the smile!

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