RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH
Sobriety Date: October 30, 2017
My name is Maggie and I am an alcoholic. My sobriety date is October 30th 2017. I was born and raised on the west side of Cleveland with my Mom, Dad, and an identical twin sister. For years I thought I had a “normal” childhood. It wasn’t until the age of about 15 or 16 I started to realize I did not. We moved around a lot and I remember seeing alcohol-fueled violence between my parents at a very young age, and the phrase “Dad ran away” was common. He always came back and it was swept under the rug. Divorce was mentioned but never happened. We tried to move forward as a family but the tension was always there.
My mom always did the best she could to make holidays special with traditions, but sometimes the disease of alcoholism overpowered everything. My sister and I spent about 9 month in foster care, and our parents got us out “in record time” according to Children and Family services. My dad was a functioning but angry drinker, and my mom had periods of sobriety early on in my life but was a black out binge drinker and eventually became a daily drinker. I don’t ever recall thinking “that will never be me.”
My sister and I would sneak sips of beer every once in a while from our parents’ hidden glasses on top of the kitchen cabinets. My first real drunk was at age 12. One night my mom passed out with a bottle of Black Velvet, and I chugged close to half of the bottle in minutes. I don’t remember much until I woke up on the bathroom floor covered in my own vomit. My mom wasn’t mad, and I stayed home from school.
One day we became the bad kids parents didn’t want their kids around.
Over the next few years my sister and I started skipping school, drinking whenever we got the chance, smoking, and hanging out with “the bad kids.” One day we became the bad kids parents didn’t want their kids around. This progressed for years, and alcohol and drug charges started to follow. I turned 19 and was introduced to strip clubs. The night life and what felt like endless amounts of money brought me to a life of drinking and partying where I met the man who became my daughter’s father. The relationship was toxic and abusive, there was no trust, and we both just wanted to party and have fun.
Somehow I barely managed to stay dry through the last 7 months of my pregnancy. Shortly after my daughter was born I started using pain pills from the hospital, was drinking again, and back in the strip clubs. I was leaving my daughter with whoever I could. My life was unmanageable and out of control.
I discovered two other forms of alcohol, and they took me down quickly. They were all I needed, and all I wanted. I was at the point where having my daughter with me wasn’t an option. I told myself I was doing the right thing for her, and I was, but my motives were selfish. Alina’s paternal grandmother never hesitated to take her in. In between stints in detoxes and rehabs I would take her back but it never lasted.
Less than a year later my daughter’s father died from an overdose from drugs I bought.
One day I found my mom dead as a result of this disease, and that gave me the excuse I needed to stay sick. Less than a year later my daughter’s father died from an overdose from drugs I bought. By the grace of God I had enough fear and some level of conscience to not leave him there, even if people close to him still see it differently. I stood next to his casket after using before the funeral, promising him that I would get my life together for our daughter. I was indicted with numerous felonies from his death and went on the run for two years, only getting worse. Going in and out of my daughter’s life, causing her pain and confusion while continuing to destroy my own life. I have done all kinds of things I deeply regret and may never fully be able to make amends for.
In May of 2017 I was arrested on my warrants and went to county jail with the delusional mindset that I would be out soon. I did what little I could to look good for court, but using was always in the front of my mind. My last use was in county the night before I was sentenced to four years in Marysville.
Something changed in me the day I went into that prison. I saw writing on the walls of the admissions dorm that said “use this as an opportunity to change the direction of your life,” and that really stuck with me. I figured I would make the best of prison, try to learn something, and stay busy. I hoped I would get an early release, but time after time it was denied. I was eventually accepted into a program called Tapestry, and it changed my life. That program got me to a point where I felt more free in prison than I ever felt in the outside world. Now that I’m in Alcoholics Anonymous, I recognize all the similarities between these two programs.
… I knew I had to do something different. This was probably my last chance.
I was released in April of this year, and I knew I had to do something different. This was probably my last chance. I wrote letters to Katie Patton, and she assured me I would have bed at Jean Marie the day of my release. Coming to this house was the best decision I’ve ever made. As strong as I have felt for years now in my desire to stay sober, I was not willing to take the chance trying to do it on my own. This house, and the women I have met because of it, Kattie Patton and Michele Taft, have given me things I can’t even put into words, and have taught me things I didn’t realize I needed to learn. I have accomplished simple yet amazing things in such a short time that I never imagined I could.
Today I can be a role model for my sister and the women in this house. I can use my experiences to teach my daughter. I have a sponsor and many strong sober women in AA who I can run things by before I make decisions in life. Things with my daughter still have a very long way to go. I may never earn forgiveness or trust from her grandma, and that relationship may never be mended. But today I have hope that there is a promising future, something I’ve never had before. By living sober, and with the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I truly believe that I will have a relationship with my daughter in God’s time.