Four years ago today, I took my last drink.
By the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I am sober today. I am happy. I am useful. I feel love for myself and others. I have peace and serenity. I have a spiritual connection with and reliance upon a Power greater than myself. I have solutions.
My whole life has changed since the day I walked into the Hacienda Valdez in Desert Hot Springs, California for treatment on July 16, 2008. I couldn’t do it anymore, the drugs, the drinking, the desperation, the misery. I entered that facility completely broken and ready to change. I had children that I hadn’t seen in almost 2 years who were being raised by their wonderful father (the husband that I abandoned in my addiction). My children were growing up thinking (I imagine) that they weren’t worth their mom getting sober, that I loved drugs more than them. When I looked back, I thought I did. My actions said that. But, in treatment and in Alcoholics Anonymous, I learned that I did not voluntarily choose those actions. I was sick. I had a physical illness and a mental obsession. I had a deep soul sickness. I could overcome these maladies if I was willing, honest and open-minded. I needed to trust in a Power greater than myself to help me recover. I was definitely ready to surrender. It was time to let go of the past, look toward the future and do the work. It was time to get well and let the healing begin.
Fast forward 4 years…
Sobriety – recovery – has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams. Often, I marvel over how different it is today… It’s the little things, like laying in my best friend’s pool yesterday, listening to the trees moving, feeling peaceful and grateful, not wanting or needing to be anywhere else or do anything except what I was doing. You see, I was never able to “be present” or feel serene before I got sober. My mind was always “over there,” plotting my next move, not satisfied for long in the moment, no matter how precious or perfect it seemed. My life is different, too, because of the big things, like having relationships with my 2 beautiful children, having the opportunity and privilege of being their mom. Because I am available for them, sober, and have allowed them go through what they have needed to go through during this process, those bonds have gotten better and stronger, one day at a time. Patience, love, acceptance, gratitude, trust in God and the process; those are terms and ways of living I’ve learned in recovery. Being a loving and caring friend, a good daughter, a trusted employee, a faithful girlfriend, an honest person, one who experiences true joy, who has priceless and meaningful relationships, who is willing and happy to serve others… those things I’ve become from living the Steps, living the program and listening to the experience, strength and hope of other members of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have changed. I believe that, today, I am the woman that God intended me to be. AA’s “design for living” has taught me how to be that, has given me more miracles than I could ever convey here.
I love my life today. I love myself today. I get to be of service today. I have people in my world that I cherish and who cherish me. I have a job at St. Christopher’s that I adore, where I find purpose and satisfaction in performing needed tasks and carrying the messages of hope, treatment and recovery. I am challenged to do things I have never done, while surrounded by incredible, supportive and dedicated people. When times are good, I am grateful for them and know I am worthy of the gifts. When problems arise or I’m feeling out of sorts, I have solutions, hope and faith that things will get better, if I stay connected to my Higher Power, do the next right thing and think of others besides myself. (I don’t always do that, and I continue to feel pain. But, at least I know WHAT the solution is and can choose to follow it!) It’s not always easy, and I am far from being perfect, but it is so much better! I have gone from having almost no life at all to a magical, miraculous existence in recovery. For that and so much more, I am truly thankful and grateful.
By the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I am sober today. I think I’ll stick around!