I sat in my car with tear filled eyes, gazing up at the dilapidated old building I lived in wondering, how did I get here? How did I go from enjoying a successful career, living and working in a swanky highrise in downtown Dallas to a shaking shell of the person I once was? I knew it had to stop, I begged for it to stop. I was a nightly blackout drunk. I couldn’t not drink and I couldn’t drink. I was lost in every way a person can be. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually.
I was always uncomfortable in my skin and I was always a rule breaker. Rules never mattered to me, I was an exception to the rules anyway. So I thought. At the age of 16, when my grandmother went to work, I skipped school and invited some friends over to hangout. It would be the second time I tasted alcohol and the second time in my life that I could exhale. The first time I tasted alcohol, I was date raped. Why on earth would any normal person drink to that extent again? Welcome to the diabolical sickness of alcoholism. And so began the vicious cycle of trying to chase down the “fun” I thought I was having until I nearly chased it to an early grave.
My childhood was full of fear, loneliness and despair. I had absolutely no roots. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old and myself and my sister were tossed around to different family members, foster homes, emergency shelters and the list goes on. We were broken and unloved. Thank God we had each other. I can’t imagine enduring the habitual abuse we did alone. It was not until the moment I felt alcohol course through my veins that I felt, for the first time ever, relief. A false sense of relief of course, but at the time, it was everything I thought I wanted. It numbed the pain.
I spent many years trying to escape. Escape reality. Escape fear, feelings, consequences. What I found is the only way is through. And escaping all the “bad” things in life also prevented me from enjoying the good times in life. Because when I came down, all those feelings that I was trying to escape, well, they were still there. Those consequences that I tried escaping from? Yep, those were still there too, except they were worse. Figuring out that feelings pass and that I don’t have to act on every single emotion was mind blowing. I can feel the feelings and let them pass! I don’t have to self destruct every time I’m uncomfortable.
I thank God for directing me to Alcoholics Anonymous and for the subsequent life I am able to enjoy today. I am beyond grateful for all of the hell that I have walked through — because without it, I would never have stumbled upon my own strength. And without my strength, I never would be able to reach out and serve the next suffering alcoholic. That is how this thing called recovery works, in my opinion. We do it together. One. Day. At. A Time.
I can’t help but wonder if I made it to where I am now so I can share my story to help others. Maybe sharing my story will help one person feel like there is hope? Maybe. I don’t know. But I do know I am extremely grateful for this beautiful, difficult, crazy, amazing, sober, fun, wonderful life of mine. I’m grateful I’m here today to tell my story. I’m grateful I get to see my son smile every single day.
If you are struggling please know you are NOT alone. Never alone! There is help. Don’t give up. Reach out. Ask for help. You matter. Your story matters. You are loved. You have a purpose. There is hope. I promise you, life can and will get better.