RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH!
Sobriety Date: September 17, 2014
My name is Mara and I am an alcoholic. I am 42 years old. I have a great family. I do have alcoholism in my family, but that is not why I am an alcoholic. I can remember feeling different from everybody else as early on as five years old. I often say in my lead that I feel like everybody in the world around me was given the handbook to life and, for whatever reason, God forgot to give me a copy. I just never quite felt right in my own skin. I felt afraid all the time. I always wanted to be either the center of attention or hidden away in darkness alone. Being present, in my own skin was a terrifying feeling. No one did this to me. I have no story of abuse or trauma. Thank God. This was just me. I had a hole in my soul and little did I know, I would spend over 30 years trying to fill that hole. With every person, place, thing and substance possible.
I had a hole in my soul and little did I know, I would spend over 30 years trying to fill that hole.
I went to treatment for the first time when I was 18 years old. My mother had gotten sober by this point, and I was bringing chaos and drama into the home where she was still raising my two younger sisters. I stayed in treatment for over 90 days and jerked around the entire time. I knew I was supposed to get a sponsor, and I knew that I wasn’t supposed to drink or use, but the steps confused me, and I really was not interested in putting any work into my recovery.
I got into a relationship with a man when I was about a year sober. A year later he began his first relapse and my life took a turn. Although I stayed sober for many years, he was my drug. His drama and chaos became my driving force. I had no God. I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t working steps. I was dry and so very sick. I lost jobs. I caused chaos in all my relationships. The only thing I was not doing was ingesting any mood- or mind-altering substance. I say this because I want to say how important it is to work the steps. Not drinking and going to meetings is not enough. I did all the outside stuff to appear like I was living right. But inside my soul was rotting. I was lonely and afraid still. I was lost. I didn’t believe those steps were the answer. So, I never tried to work them.
A human being can only live that way for so long, and I needed something to really make me happy. By this time, I married that man and we decided to have a baby. I really wanted to be a good person and I thought maybe a child would help me focus. Sadly, she didn’t, and I can honestly say that I had no business bringing a child into this world. My husband continued to relapse after her birth. I was in pain. Physically (back problems), mentally and spiritually due to untreated alcoholism. I began to seek out doctors to help me with my “anxiety.” They would prescribe medicine that I justified taking. I had no business taking it. My anxiety was completely caused by not working a program.
And within a few months—after not taking a sip of alcohol for 17 years—I started drinking.
I found another doctor to treat my physical pain. And within a few months—after not taking a sip of alcohol for 17 years—I started drinking. By this time, I had lost my job as a drug and alcohol counselor. I was no longer taking care of my daughter correctly. I was unable to pay the bills in my house. I wasn’t showering. I was taking my 3-year-old with me all day to steal and buy drugs. I tried detox and left early. I wanted to die. I couldn’t die. That pissed me off. Finally, God intervened, and I was arrested for possession. Thank God my daughter was not with me.
My mother is old school AA, and I knew she would not bond me out or let anyone else do it. That was September of 2014 and I’ve been sober since. My mom is friends with Tommy Botz who, at the time, was running the Jones Road house. She asked him for help. He called Katie, and without ever meeting me she gave me a bed. The gift was presented to me in a holding cell before I went in front of the judge for sentencing. It was accompanied by a note from my mom telling me that I could take the bed, or I could finish my time in jail and forget that I had a family. I knew she meant it. So I took the bed. I got driven to the Jean Marie house by my mom, and she dropped me off with a carton of cigarettes and asked me to please leave my family alone until I actually demonstrated being a different person. I had no clue what that meant. All I knew was that I had spent the last 20 years of my life doing everything except working a program. So I surrendered and I started to actually put work in.
Through working the steps, I began to pray to the God of my understanding and listen to God’s will for me.
That house was such a blessing because, for someone like me, daily life was so overwhelming when my insides were so crippled. That house gave me a routine and structure and daily living skills that I had forgotten while I was out there on the streets being a monster. Through working the steps, I began to pray to the God of my understanding and listen to God’s will for me. I began to understand the concept of integrity and the importance of doing what I say I’m going to do, and not just talking about it. At a year sober I lost my husband to a drug overdose, and I was surrounded by people in this fellowship who just put their arms around me and carried me.
In sobriety, I made the very difficult but necessary decision to leave my daughter in Arizona where she was, and still is, being raised by my sister and her husband. The program taught me that parenting is a privilege and not a right. Today I have an amazing life. I make sure to pray daily—usually all day. I sponsor. I go to meetings. I do acts of service without expecting anything in return. I try to act with love and grace and integrity. I fall short a lot, but through leading an inventoried life I have the tools now to make things right. I have an amazing relationship with my mother today. I spent so many years blaming her for everything, and I have a lot of lost time that I would like to make up for. I am so thankful for this life, and I would not change one thing that has happened, as they have all taught me such valuable lessons.