Kelly’s story


Kelly M.
Sobriety date: 02/25/2011

My name is Kelly and I am an alcoholic. I grew up in Pittsburgh in a very loving family. I was always a good kid, or so my mother tells me. At 15 my dad was transferred and we moved to Cleveland. My rebellion started somewhere around this time — drinking to the point of oblivion, staying out all night — doing whatever I wanted to do, with zero regard for my family. All I wanted to do was party and have fun. I had no respect for my parents or any kind of authority. I went — unwillingly — to my first treatment center when I was 16. I did nothing with what I was taught there, but the seed was planted that I was an alcoholic. And for the next 20+ years I was okay with that.

Between the ages of 23-33 I had two kids who I loved very much, but the power of my alcoholism was much stronger than that love. I always managed to hold down a job, and have a home and just about every material thing my kids could want. But I was never there. The party always came first. Getting hammered, smoking weed, doing coke and whatever else I could get my hands on was all that mattered. I didn’t draw a sober breath for over 20 years.

I didn’t draw a sober breath for over 20 years.

My dad died in 2004 after a long and awful battle with Alzheimer’s, and it was at his funeral that I took my first opiate. For the next four years I was completely consumed with Percocet and OxyContin. In 2008, after my boyfriend died as a result of this disease, I decided to try heroin (the one thing I said I would never do) to numb everything away. This was the beginning of the end, nothing but that high mattered to me. Within just a few months I was arrested numerous times (I had never been in any real trouble prior to this), lost my job of 10 years, lost my home, my daughter went to live with her father, and my son moved in with my uncle. Less than a year later I was headed to prison. 

On the day I was released, I found what I wanted and was high in less than a couple hours. Over the next year I was just a shell of a human being — physically, mentally and emotionally — with a habit that needed to be fed daily. In 2010 I made it to detox, and from there I was introduced to The Ed Keating Center by way of The Jean Marie House (JMH). I did everything I was supposed to do and was actually happy. When it came time to look for a job, I got scared that no one would hire me because of my past. I started isolating and within a week or two I relapsed.

It was then that I knew I didn’t want to die. 

For the next five weeks I barely existed, my body was literally shutting down. I overdosed a few times, and the last time I used heroin I had a stroke. It was then that I knew I didn’t want to die. I called Katie and she graciously welcomed me back to Jean Marie. This time things were different. I listened and I learned how to live life sober. I built a strong foundation of women and gentlemen that today I refer to as my army. I did my best to rely on faith rather than fear. I became grateful for the stroke that took my ability to use my left hand. I thank God that I’m alive, that it brought me to my knees, and that it’s my left hand and not my right.

The only thing I have done perfectly in the last 8½ years is not pick up a drink or a drug.

My life today is better than I could ever have imagined it to be. I do what I can to be of service to others. I get to help women on a daily basis, offering them hope and support. Ten years ago, I was sitting in prison. Today I am honored to work hand in hand with local law enforcement in an attempt to combat the opioid problem. One of the most important things I get to do is go back and facilitate a group at JMH and pick new girls up for meetings. How could I not give back to the place that was a safe haven for me while I found my place in life and in Alcoholics Anonymous? I’ve had lots of ups and downs and made plenty of mistakes along the way. The only thing I have done perfectly in the last 8½ years is not pick up a drink or a drug. I am blown away on a daily basis by how amazing my life is today. And I wouldn’t be where I am today without Katie (who never turned her back on me, and taught me to never give up on a drunk and to live a life of gratitude through action), or without The Ed Keating Center and The Jean Marie House, and all the other amazing people that have crossed my path on this journey.

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