RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH!
Sobriety date July 9, 2016
I’m Jackie and I’m an Alcoholic. My sobriety date is July 9, 2016, I have a homegroup, a sponsor, and a higher power that on most days I do not understand but I know most definitely understands me.
I grew up in Lakewood with four brothers and sisters in a split family home. As a child, I went through some things your average child doesn’t go through, and these things very quickly put me into a victim mentality. From a young age, I used sports as my outlet. When I walked out on the basketball court, it was like all my worries, fears, anger drifted away. But when I wasn’t on the court, all of the feelings consumed me–rejection, abandonment, FEAR.
I had my first drunk early in middle school. I was at a girlfriend’s house. We split a 6-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and it was the time of my life! All these feelings that had been consuming me once again drifted away. Her family was all around us. We were dancing, and singing karaoke, and laughing, and I finally found that feeling I felt out on the court in real life. Relief, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and these were my people.
Her family became my family. I joined them for holidays and family get-togethers. And along with them came my new-found best friend, alcohol. I had my “relief” sober on the court and my “relief” drinking off the court. This carried on for a few years until my sophomore year of high school when I found out I was pregnant.
This baby, in my mind, was now the answer to all my problems but also granted me the ultimate victim card.
This baby, in my mind, was now the answer to all my problems but also granted me the ultimate victim card. I managed to stay sober throughout my entire pregnancy and knew as a teen mom I had a lot of responsibility ahead of me. But as soon as I had my son, all bets were off. Sure, I finished high school, but being a single young mom quickly became my excuse for everything. “I’m late to class because of the baby and daycare” was just one of my many ways I would start using my son as an excuse to drink. My son and I got kicked out of my mom’s shortly after I had him as she was onto my antics. Knowing what I know now, I don’t blame her. I was not a good daughter and, to be honest, not being the best mother.
I managed to get a place for my son and me, and I was now the first one of my friends to have my own place, so my place quickly became the party spot. I always told myself I was a good mom because he had a roof over his head and food in his stomach. I was holding down a job to do what I had to do for me and my son. In reality, all I was doing was what I had to do to continue my drinking career.
In 2012 I had surgery, and this kicked off a new level of drinking for me. I got to a point where I could barely take care of my son, and I couldn’t take care of myself. So a friend of a friend told me about this AA (Alcoholics Anonymous.) I started attending meetings, got myself a big book, and met myself a guy. I never got a sponsor or paid any attention in the meetings, and never actually stopped drinking. I figured this guy has four months sober so he can definitely teach me how to stay sober.
I never got a sponsor or paid any attention in the meetings, and never actually stopped drinking.
So I moved him into my home and quickly we started feeding off each other’s alcoholism and from there went down an even darker path. Doing new things to get drunk, taking my son many places he doesn’t belong. This continued for a couple years until I, once again, got to a point where I realized I could not take care of myself or my son.
So in 2014, I asked my mother to take my son and reached out to someone who told me about The Jean Marie House. I entered JMH knowing something had to change. I quickly got a sponsor and worked some steps, the way I wanted, and listened to some rules– the ones I wanted. Due to my lack of following the rules, after a couple of months, I was asked to leave and went to a 3/4 house. Once again I met a guy. I’ve never had much luck in relationships, I like to pick someone sick, preferably sicker than myself. So again I go down a very dark path. And I know things are bad, worse than ever. I’m like 75 lbs soaking wet, I’m selling everything you could possibly imagine, including myself. I literally can not go one waking minute without alcohol.
During this time I’m still in constant communication with my sponsor who’s asking me when is this going to end, and I just didn’t know. I had to lose everything, and I mean everything, to walk back into the room of Alcoholics Anonymous. And what do you know? Little-by-little, God, doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself, started taking everything away. And honestly, I’m so grateful my life got as dark as it did because I personally am not a quick forgetter. I will never forget the look in my son’s eyes when I told him I was going back to Jean Marie, and he couldn’t come with me. I can drive down a street, or smell a certain smell, and it takes me right back to those last couple of weeks leading up to my last drink.
And when I returned to Jean Marie, this time was different for me. I was SICK, I mean hallucinating. I didn’t sleep for five days straight, not one second, and I wanted to leave because that mental obsession was consuming my whole being. I marched into that office balling my eyes out. I looked at the assistant director and said please promise me, no matter what I say or do, you will not give me the keys to my car. Because I knew, for me, at this point, to drink was to die. And that was my moment of surrender.
I marched into that office balling my eyes out. I looked at the assistant director and said please promise me, no matter what I say or do, you will not give me the keys to my car.
The director of JMH and my sponsor were both asking me what was going to be different this time? And I knew the only answer was EVERYTHING. I didn’t know how to live sober. I didn’t know how to make good decisions and how to live selflessly. So I placed my life in these ladies’ hands. And I listened. And I thoroughly worked the 12 steps. And I took things slow. I was brought up with morals and values and slowly those started to come back to me. I had a hard time with God. I was raised Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist and blamed God for so long for everything I had been through. It was hard for me to trust him, to have faith in him, to surrender and turn my will and my life over to my higher power. But my God presents himself to me in many forms and I now know he always has my back even when I may not see it.
These last four and a half years sober have not been perfect by any means. I have definitely had my struggles, but I wouldn’t change any of it. I started doing group at six-months sober at Jean Marie every week until my work schedule started interfering. I continue every day to try to instill in my life everything that was taught to me by the Jean Marie House and every woman involved in it. Thank God that house spoon-fed me AA because I was still a child and that’s what I needed, for these women to take my hand and guide me.
I slowly got my son back and had to prove to my mother that I could be the mother my son deserves. Today we have an apartment together. I try to be helpful to the next alcoholic in the best way I can. I do my best to make it to my home group every week. I pray day and night and talk to my higher power throughout the day. I try to be the best mom, daughter, and friend I can be today. I continue to work on my character defects daily as they present themselves. I lean on the WE of this program and I try to practice these principles in all of my affairs.