Danell’s story


Danell S.  
Sobriety date: January 23, 2015

I’m an Alcoholic and my name is Danell. Growing up there was no alcohol in my home. My mom was a stay at home mom, and my dad worked a lot. I felt different from day one. I say it all the time … “I wish I knew then what I know now”. For some reason for years I made my childhood out to be something it wasn’t, and today I can honestly look back and tell you there was nothing wrong with my childhood. Why I made up those stories I’ll never know. I took my first drink when I was 15. I self-mutilated long before I every picked up a drink or drug. Suicide attempts, self-mutilation, and a whole lot of attention seeking behavior started long before I ever put a drink or a drug into my body. And honestly, I had no reason to hate myself or my life. I hated who I was, and I always wanted more. Nothing anyone did for me was ever good enough. I could get everything I ever wanted, which I did for years, and it would never be good enough.

I took my first drink when I was 15.

From the ages of 15 to 20 I did nothing but drink and use drugs daily. Drugs and alcohol where a daily thing in my life, and I made that very clear to everyone around me. Drink, trouble, drink, trouble — that is how it’s been my whole entire life. Today I have twenty-four felonies on my record and numerous misdemeanors. I went to treatment for the first time when I was twenty. Since then I have been in so many treatment centers, sober living, jails, and institutions that I have lost count. I have been in and out of AA since 2005. I remember always wanting what this program had to offer, but never being willing to do anything to change me. I wanted what people had, but without the work.

I wanted what people had, but without the work.

By 2015 I was beaten into a state of reasonableness. I was as hopeless as ever and had honestly had enough. I was tired. I was perfectly broken. I had been broken many times in my life, over the past ten years, but never like this. It was something I still till this day cannot explain. It was as if one day I woke up and realized I did not want to die this way. I went back to the Jean Marie house for the third time. Thank God that Katie doesn’t believe in giving up on a drunk until they take their last breath, or else I may not be here today.

I walked back into the Jean Marie house, defeated, and ready to do whatever it took. I remember Katie looked at me and said, “Its kindergarten stuff kid, listen and do”. I can tell you that even till this day, I still live by that. I cannot run the show, and when I do, things do not turn out well. I was told it was time to allow someone else to run the show for a while, after all, they had a better handle on life than I did. I applied the twelve steps to my life and started to put in the action, something I refused to do before. I found a God of my understanding; I stopped complicating the whole thing and kept it real simple. Today I am not God; I had to stop playing God. I had to stop making others my higher power. And that’s as simple as I keep it. I started by making the fellowship my higher power, and today I have a relationship with a God of my understanding.

Just because I get sober, doesn’t mean the world stops, and painful things don’t happen.

Sobriety is not always easy, life happens. Just because I get sober, doesn’t mean the world stops, and painful things don’t happen. On May 25th, 2016 my little sister died of a heroin overdose. This disease is a taker; today I know its life or death. I can either live among the living or die among the suffering. I have that choice today. I choose life today. My sister left behind two little girls. Even three years later; they still miss her every day.

Moral of the story, we think we are only hurting ourselves, but someone always pays the price when I pick up. Today My Family deserves my sobriety more than I do. I work every day on being a better person than I was the day before. I put my mother and my grandmother through a lot, and I will be making that amends as long as I live. Today I work an amazing job that I never thought I’d have because of the background I have. I have amazing friends. 

I got married in AA to my beautiful wife Jill, my best friend. We get my sisters girls every weekend and have been for the past three years. I do the same things I was taught to do when I got here. I try to give back and go to the JMH as much as I can. I still attend Aftercare every Monday, even four years later. I do big book on Thursday nights. I go to meetings as often as I can, I work with the new people, I am in THE BOOK! A daily reprieve…that is what I have today! I am extremely grateful for everything I have in my life today; I would have nothing if I wasn’t sober. Thank god for that 12-step program, and thank that 12-step program for my understanding of God!

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