July 24, 2004 – It’s funny how my day goes by and I seem to have forgotten what I ate yesterday, or to even run an errand today. But this day is as clear to me now as it was 8 years ago. I was 25 years old and a single mother living on welfare and barely hanging on to sanity. I remember constantly changing the color of my hair to redecorating my home. It wasn’t till my journey began that I realized, I was really just trying to change me on the inside by changing me on the outside.
July 24, 2004 – My hardest fight began; I was sitting on the floor in front of my closet mirror doors. I was curling my hair and drinking a Budweiser. I looked down the hall and saw my son in the reflection. That moment I knew I was done. I looked back at me and didn’t even recognize the woman that gazed into my eyes. I no longer acted like the woman I knew I wanted to be. I was no longer the mother I needed to be for my son. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. That moment was the moment that saved me from me! I had hated my own father for his alcoholism but didn’t realize my son was witnessing my own.
I do not even remember the drive there but my next recollection was walking through the doors of AA. The meeting started and I was like a scared kid on the first day of school with no friends. I sat and listened and let the tears flow. I didn’t care anymore. I knew I was going to change. I had to change. Admitting to myself that I had been blacking out months prior, putting myself in situations that were clearly unsafe, waking up and not remembering where I was or how I even gotten there, barely escaping imprisonment or losing my child or possibly my life. I began my recovery process and the program suggested to me was to go to 90 meetings in 90 days and to get a sponsor. The first 90 days flew by and it was exciting but almost depressing. I had to separate myself from the life I once knew and start rebuilding the foundation that I had destroyed. The people in these meetings were men and woman from all walks of life, joining together for one common purpose to fight, to live, to recover.
I had started when I was 14 years old covering my emotions and feelings with narcotics. I had learned to numb feelings of joy and feelings of sorrow with getting high . When I was 17 years old, the urge to continue my drug use left my body and my pregnancy was healthy and full of happiness. Only days after delivering my son, my drinking started. The drugs may have stopped but the numbing and masking of my own emotions continued. The previous 11 years were spent under the influence of some sort of substance.
The first year of my sobriety is almost like a movie, separating myself from the bars and distancing myself from the friends that allowed and even encouraged my reckless behavior. The first year was baby stepping everything, learning life all over again. Then reality came through my life like a tornado, powerful and destroying all the things I had built. I buried my grandmother and, shortly after, my other grandmother, then my grandfather. In 25 years of life I had to learn what pain was all over again and how to get through it with out drugs or alcohol. I remember feeling hurt like I never imagined, but feeling joy like I had never knew existed. It was how to feel, I was learning, all the emotions, the good, the bad and actually understanding the physical effects that came with it.
The hardest part of my recovery was learning how to forgive, For some reason it was easy to forgive other people. But learning to forgive myself was my hardest hurdle. There was so much that I was ashamed of, embarrassed of, and even refused to admit. But when I did, the healing process truly began.
In the 8 years of my sobriety, I have dealt with being a single mother, losing loved ones, changing jobs, discovering a lump in my breast, ending relationships, surgeries, and my son being diagnosed with a rare DNA mutation, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is my sobriety date – July 24, 2004.
Today after all my black outs, all my memories, all the trials and tribulations, I can now look at myself in the mirror and I see me in the reflection. 33 years later I can finally say, I like me. I am now discovering hobbies and the joy and strength that comes with building healthy relationships with other women. I have a wonderful teenage son, a house that is safe and secure, a car that is reliable, and a career I love.
I HAVE ME ……
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.