Kelsey’s Story


Kelsey W.
Sobriety Date:  June 2, 2021

Hi, my name is Kelsey and I’m an alcoholic. I have a sobriety date of June 2, 2021. I’m 30 years old. I have a sponsor, a home group, and a higher power of my understanding — which is not something I ever thought I would say. For a long time, I believed that life had no meaning and I believed that my time on this Earth would never amount to anything. Thankfully, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous would show me that I can do things I never thought I could do and be someone I never thought I could be.

I grew up in Broadview Heights, OH. I had a normal childhood for the most part. I had a lot of friends, I played sports, I was a very active, fun-loving kid. My home life was dysfunctional, but I know today that that isn’t the reason why I’m an alcoholic. I believe that I was born an alcoholic. Some of my earliest memories are of alcoholic behaviors like lying and manipulating. I never felt comfortable in my own skin, and I had what felt like a giant void inside me from a very young age. I turned to drugs and alcohol over the years to help cope with all of that — and as the Big Book tells me, I am an alcoholic because of what happens to me when I put those substances in my system. I lose all control.

I took my first drink at the age of 12. I acted out a lot at school, I failed all my classes, I practically lived in detention. And this behavior continued to an extent through high school. In high school, my drinking was basically just on the weekends, but I smoked weed every day, as much as possible. It was all I cared about. For Senior Superlatives, I was voted Smartest Slacker. And that was the epitome of who I was. I was an incredibly intelligent young woman with all the potential in the world to be anyone I wanted to be, and I couldn’t have cared less. All I cared about was doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. There was no telling me anything. And I stayed stuck in these ways well into my adult years.

I had no dreams, goals, ambitions. My life was going nowhere.

The summer after high school was when my drinking and drug use really progressed. From the ages of 18 to 25, my life was a vicious cycle of partying, black outs, sleeping most of the day away, barely making it through the parts of the day I was awake, and going out at night and doing it all over again. I couldn’t keep jobs. I failed out every time I attempted to go back to school. I had no dreams, goals, ambitions. My life was going nowhere. I even moved across the world to Europe, for a year, in a desperate attempt to find myself and find some fulfillment in life — but I took all those bad habits with me, and I was in an even worse place out there than I was at home.

I came home and went to treatment for the first time. And unfortunately, it was the first of many times. I had many relapses over the next four years. I got pregnant during a brief period of sobriety and when I gave birth to my daughter in April of 2020, I thought that was it — that was my solution. I had never loved anything or anyone more in my entire life. And I believed that the love I had for her would keep me sober. But I learned, in what would be the hardest lesson of my life, that no human power can relieve my alcoholism. No amount of love for anyone else could keep me safe. I had to find a higher power, I had to find meaning in life, and I had to diligently work a program of recovery.

No amount of love for anyone else could keep me safe. I had to find a higher power…

I made the choice to go to the Jean Marie House in June of 2021 and it was the best decision I have ever made. I owe that house more than I could ever repay, for so many reasons. It shaped me into the person I am today, it gave me a beautiful life, incredible friendships, and it taught me what it means to be a sober woman in Alcoholics Anonymous. I was still a spoiled, entitled, irresponsible, 29-year-old child when I first moved into that house, and I left there a strong, responsible, capable adult woman. Being away from my daughter while I was there was hard, but I knew that it was necessary for me to sacrifice that time with her in order to give her the rest of my life, and to become the mother she deserved to have.

Today, I have a life that I can’t even believe is mine. I am consciously grateful of everything I have today because I never want to forget that at one point, it was everything I prayed so hard for. I have a place of my own to call home, an inseparable bond with my daughter, good relationships with my family, financial stability, and most importantly — solid sobriety and genuine happiness. My gratitude for the Jean Marie House and for the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is immeasurable because it made all this possible for me. Now, I do my best to give back what was so freely given to me, and to be the good example like the alumni of Jean Marie were for me when I first came in. It has only been a little over a year and a half since that first day I walked through those doors, and my life has improved so drastically, but the best part is, I know it’s just the beginning.

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