RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH
Sobriety Date:. March 2, 2021
My name is Nicole and I am an alcoholic. Thank God today I not only know that, but I feel it deep in my soul, because there is a solution for my problem. I was first introduced to AA when I was 22 years old and today I’m 32 with 1 beautiful year of sobriety. It’s been the most challenging but rewarding year of my life because today I have serenity that I am absolutely not willing to give up for any drink or drug.
I grew up on the east side of Cleveland in the suburbs with my mom, dad, brother, and sister. Growing up I always knew my dad didn’t drink, and that it was because he was an alcoholic, but I had no idea what that actually meant. My dad was not involved in AA by the time I was born. By all accounts I had a good childhood. I was very close to my grandparents and spent a lot of time over their house.
When I was in 8th grade I took my first drink. I can vividly remember feeling relaxed and free, I loved the way drinking made me feel. I cannot remember a time I didn’t set out to get drunk… after all that’s the point, right?? Throughout high school it stayed a weekend thing, but by the time I got to the end of high school, drinking absolutely took priority. I quit the dance team and dropped out of cosmetology school. Two things that at one time meant everything to me. I barely graduated, and in fact I got drunk and high before walking across the stage at graduation. Around this time my parents got divorced, and my dad basically disappeared from our lives because he started drinking and drugging again.
I barely graduated, and in fact I got drunk and high before walking across the stage at graduation.
Over the course of the next 13 years I would be introduced to different forms of alcohol, and I would accumulate three OVI’s (Operating a Vehicle Impaired). I spent time in jail, wrecked cars, stole from my family, and did whatever I had to do to stay drunk. It just wasn’t an option to stop. Short periods of sobriety would follow when I was on probation, but what I know today is that I never fully surrendered. I always had that lurking notion that I could one day make this work. I was in complete denial, because I didn’t want sobriety to be my only answer.
In January 2020 my grandma was diagnosed with cancer. This is a time in my life that I desperately wish I could get back. I really thought I was there for her because physically I took care of her. What I know now is that I was only able to be there for her as much as my alcoholism would allow me. Mentally and emotionally, I was checked out. This woman was my EVERYTHING. Today she motivates me to stay sober, because I NEVER again want to have to make amends to someone when it’s too late.
When I walked into The Jean Marie House last March, there were no more options, no more ways to manipulate this thing. I didn’t have charges over my head, I was still working a full time job, and quite honestly not many people knew I was using again. It was the feeling inside that brought me to my knees. I was having daily panic attacks because the weight was too much to carry. I was always living in fear of being found out and living a complete double life. I developed an eating disorder and was more lost than I’ve ever been.
I started to come alive again, I started laughing again and feeling all those feelings I muted for so long, good and bad.
It’s hard to put into words what this house did for me. The community of women lifted me up out of my darkest hour. I found a sponsor that I was drawn to right away, and for the first time since I was 13 years old, I got really honest. That is something I believe wholeheartedly saved my life. I have never stopped being honest and talking about what’s going on in my head. I worked through my steps and I stayed very busy in AA and at the house. I started to come alive again, I started laughing again and feeling all those feelings I muted for so long, good and bad. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through this process is that it’s okay to be uncomfortable. The more discomfort I go through, the more I get to grow, what a gift that is. Today I am hungry to grow and change because I spent way too long just existing.
I stayed at the house for a year and just moved out two weeks ago, back home with my soon-to-be wife. She and I have been through so much over the last eight years, and we finally have a real chance at a long lasting relationship. I owe so much to Jean Marie, Katie Patton, Michele, my sponsor, support group, my higher power, and the program of AA. Thank God no one gave up on the women before me because now I get to help the girl that just walked in those doors today. My sponsor always tells me I have to give this thing away in order to keep it. Today I have two sponsees, and working with them has changed my life. My dad has two years sober, and we get to walk this journey together. I have so many solid people in my life that are on this spiritual journey to be free from suffering. I don’t have to drink just to get out of bed. I get to discover who Nicole really is and it’s a beautiful thing. I’m actually proud of her today.