A Long Way Home

The first time I admitted to another human being, and probably to myself, that I was an alcoholic was to my then husband. We were at one of his friend’s wedding and I had to stay in the car because I was so drunk and was having a meltdown.  A couple of weeks before, I had spent five nights in jail after being arrested for a DUI. Our nine month old little girl was in the car with me when that happened. I don’t remember much of that conversation in the car but I do remember finally bursting out between all the tears “I’m a drunk” and feeling a great sense of relief. That was the very beginning of a long struggle with recovery.

I had heard of AA but didn’t know anything about it. So I looked it up on the internet but the words God and Higher Power scared me and even pissed me off. Instead, I chose to go to an outpatient program. Ironically, one of the first things I found out is that we were required to attend at least one AA meeting a week!

I completed the 32 week program and kept going to my AA meetings. I had come to actually like my 6:30 am meeting with who I used to call “the grumpy old men”. But I was still a stubborn atheist and refused to work the program. I had been an elite athlete my whole life and had plenty of discipline and will power to stay sober. You can imagine how well that worked out! The next 5 years would be filled with periods of sobriety, periods of heavy drinking and lots and lots of lies. I hurt and deceived many people during those years, and created a lot of wreckage.

After the birth of my twins, I was back on the bottle and heading towards a complete state of self-destruction. I separated from my husband and the kids went to stay with their grandparents in a different state. I was devastated and I literally drowned my sorrows. I became a complete slave to alcohol and it was going to take me to some very dark places, places I would have never imagined I’d go. Alcohol took all my judgment away and led me to a bad relationship, to drugs, prostitution, troubles with the law, the loss of my kids and everything else that I had, including my dignity and self-respect. That’s when I came crawling back to the rooms of AA, alone, scared and oh so paranoid! But something had changed in me and I was now certain that there was a Higher Power, a God, and that although He was definitively showing me what tough love was, He was behind me 100%.

I dove into the AA program; I found a sponsor, started working the steps and got involved in service work. I even got a job at the Fellowship Hall. Those were still some pretty dark days though. I didn’t necessarily want to stay sober, I just knew I had to.

After a while, the clouds started to dissipate and I couldn’t deny that I was actually feeling pretty good and was even happy for the first time in my life. Even more astonishing, I (yes me) had friends, real friends! People who understood me, cared about me and for whom I cared about deeply as well. So I dove even deeper in the program. I introduced new things into my recovery such as meditation, Church, exercise and AA’s sister fellowships.

Today, I have just over 7 months and I love my sober life. Even with the hurts, the drama, the disappointments and the frustrations that sometimes come my way, I would not trade this gift for any drink or drug. And I am grateful for every bits of my past because it led me to where I’m at today; home.

V. L. ~ Salt Lake City

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