My name is Bre K. and I am 31 years old. My sobriety date is October 25th, 2016. I grew up in a blended family and was taught values, morals & independence at a very young age. Alcoholism was prevalent on both sides of my family, but I did not grow up in an alcoholic household.
I graduated high school and got accepted in the Honors Program at Bowling Green State University – and the party was on. None of my friends drank like me and my alcoholism progressed rapidly. Sophomore year, my brother died from an overdose and I couldn’t process it. I was angry at God and continued spiraling out of control. I began slacking off in school, partying and blacking out every night and of course found the “tougher” crowd to run with, who partied just like me. I began selling drugs and before I knew it, there was a DEA raid. I ended up barely graduating college with a degree in Public Relations, came back to Cleveland and continued my reckless, chaotic lifestyle. I managed to get 3 DUIs in a 16-month span and knew that I couldn’t stop drinking even if I wanted to. Spoiler alert- I didn’t want to. My family tried to have an intervention for me and of course I went off the deep end. The judge who had my case decided to send me to inpatient treatment instead of jail, although I was no stranger to Cuyahoga County jail and probation life. So to get out of this mess, I agreed to go to treatment.
I was angry at God and continued spiraling out of control.
I was introduced to a 12-step program, but had reservations of getting drunk the whole time I was in treatment. I didn’t change a single thing about myself and was dying on the inside. I was miserable. I got to a point where I couldn’t get high, I couldn’t get sober and I definitely couldn’t die. Just “blah.” I hated myself and the woman I had become. After being left for dead by one of my “best friends,” I was angry I woke from it. “Why won’t God just end this misery?!?!” “I have no purpose in this world and I’ve lost everything!” But boy oh boy was I wrong.
On October 24, 2016, after one last shot of dope, I surrendered and without being forced into it. I walked through the doors of the Jean Marie House. I detoxed cold turkey there and to say that it was horrifying isn’t an exaggeration – it’s an understatement. I remember being so sick and the director of Jean Marie, Katie, called me in her office to show me my urine test. She looked me dead in the eyes and I’ll never forget what she said, because it has stuck with me ever since. She told me “Do you know how lucky you are to be alive? The same form of alcohol that has made you feel this way is the same thing you want to run back to? Don’t give it that much power, Bre.” Those words resonated with me and I can honestly say that that was my very first spiritual experience.
I got busy. I dove right into the 12-step program, thoroughly worked steps and started taking suggestions from my tough support group. I began to form a relationship with a higher power. Most importantly, I was honest with my feelings. For so long I had kept things bottled in – my anger, my trauma, my weirdness, etc…I began to feel free. And for the longest time I used to say that I’d never laugh again, until my first belly laugh at about two months sober. I’ll never forget that first belly laugh.
The Jean Marie house is a 9-month program and I stayed 21 months. I needed that “adult time-out.” I didn’t know how to function and literally had to be plucked from society. That center was a design for living for me. It gave me structure and discipline, which was VITAL to an animalistic, undisciplined alcoholic like myself early on. I built relationships with women who I can call at any time of the day and they are there for me. I was given tools to deal with all different types of situations that come my way, and I can stay sober through them.
I know deep down that I truly do have a purpose in this world today.
I don’t want to die today. I know deep down that I truly do have a purpose in this world today. My life is exponentially better than it was when I was drinking and getting high, and I owe a lot of my success to the Jean Marie House. I have true friends today, have mended relationships with my family and strive to be the best version of myself, although I fall short sometimes. This extraordinary 12-step program that Jean Marie introduced me to has transformed me into a woman of integrity. A woman who thinks of others first. A woman who is capable of changing for the better and reaching her true potential. I am not perfect by any means, but I’m a hell of a lot better than the tornado of a human being I once was.
I am forever indebted to the Jean Marie House – the house that gave me life!