RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH
Sobriety Date: February 27, 2014
Hi, my name is Barb, and I am a 58-year-old recovering alcoholic. As a child I was surrounded by the crazy world of alcoholism. Not my nuclear family, but pretty much the rest of my outside family including grandparents. As a child I was shielded the best my parents could, but it was still there. I was raised in a loving family with two parents who worked very hard to break the chain they grew up in. They gave us everything they possibly could monetarily, but most of all unconditional love and security. We were raised with a work ethic, morals, and values which I somewhat absorbed but disregarded.
I grew up in the inner city of Cleveland with tons of kids to hang out with and was completely fascinated by the ones who had my way of thinking, no goals and/or ambitions. The kids who were headed in the right direction, in hindsight, made me uncomfortable. As I got older, I always looked for what I thought was the easier, softer way which definitely wasn’t. I think by the time I was 9 or 10, my ambitions were not those of a healthy normal child. I liked the idea of excitement and danger. I continued to gravitate towards the dark side, and by the time I was in 6th grade I was drinking on field trips and going places I had no business going. I was lying, stealing, and cheating, and it was a badge of honor and a lot of fun.
I continued to gravitate towards the dark side, and by the time I was in 6th grade I was drinking on field trips and going places I had no business going.
My inglorious lifestyle continued on getting darker and more dangerous. I held many good jobs and lost just as many, dressing the part but not living it. By the time I was 32 I had married, bought a home, and had my only child. NONE of this changed my lifestyle!! I was shamelessly still on my path of destruction with an innocent child in tow. To say I put that child through hell was an understatement. The saying “we can only love people as much as our disease allows” is an understatement. I wanted to feel his joy, pain, excitement, and his fear with every fiber of my being, but I was numb and preoccupied. It made my hunger for my disease stronger and made me feel helpless, weak, and defeated.
All of this continued until I was 50 and he was turning 18. By this point I was homeless, soulless, isolated, on the pay-no-mind list, and literally on the verge of death. By The Grace of God, I was given a bed at The Jean Marie House and somewhat reluctantly went. I was angry, broken, and lost to say the least……I will say that when I sat in the chair in the group room, I felt a sense of peace and relief the same way I felt in active usage. I cried a lot my first month, but I did everything I was told to the best of my ability. I did those things whether I wanted to or not, because I knew if I went back out there, and didn’t get this thing, I was going to die.
I did those things whether I wanted to or not, because I knew if I went back out there, and didn’t get this thing, I was going to die.
I went from someone who felt God was an annoyance to someone who earnestly prayed daily. I understood very little about what I was doing but I watched what others I respected were doing and saw it worked. I participated in group even when I could barely choke the words out because I was so sad. I realized, to my amazement, that I had absorbed a lot of knowledge in my days of just taking up a chair. And even further was amazed when it went to my heart and how much I really wanted it.
It was a nine-month program, and as I watched a lot of girls leave at the end of their time, I also realized that I wasn’t going anywhere. I was told everything in God’s time, and as frustrating as it was, my time was not at nine months but quite a while after that. I’m here to tell you if you’re not ready to go, don’t! I think, no I know, that was God, because I’m not sure if I would have forced it, if I would have stayed sober. You see God has, and always will be, by my side as long as I listen for Him and do his will. The extra bonus things I got to witness, both good and bad, helped me to be more grateful and watch the miracles of sobriety while staying as a resident.
My life, for me, is not very easy to always navigate, and I struggle with life on life’s terms. But I can honestly say if not for the bonds of sisterhood I was blessed with at the Jean Marie, my sponsor, AND most importantly God, I wouldn’t be where I am today. That son who didn’t talk to me for a year is a constant every day of my life, and that family who was disgusted with me is happy and excited to have me back.
I still get up an hour early every day to pray and read my books just like in the beginning and never take away from my beginnings just add to them. If you get nothing else out of my story, I hope you see hope and the gratitude I have for each and every one of you.