My name is Jess, and I’m a recovering alcoholic. I don’t say I’m recovering because of ego or for appraisal, but I say it because it shows the newcomer that this program really does work. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York in a very dysfunctional family. My immediate family is all addicts and alcoholics. Growing up, I experienced a lot of trauma and emotional abuse. I was the ‘fixer’ of the family, I was the older sister and needed to take on the world, and make sure my family was happy, which took a really big toll on me and forced me to grow up too quick. Growing up I felt like I didn’t fit in and that I was different than other people. I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt so out of place, but I just always wanted to run. Due to the fact that I didn’t fit in, or feel comfortable in my own skin, I sought out an escape in all things, sex, food, drugs, anything that would fill that hole I had in me. Drugs and Alcohol was that solution for me. I drank essentially because I liked the effect produced by drugs and alcohol. It gave me a feeling of euphoria, and I wasn’t the scared, insecure, out of place girl anymore, I felt like I had confidence, and friends. Today I realize that that was just a facade and a faulty perception of happiness.
My drinking and drugging became unmanageable, I would drink and drug as soon as I woke up in the morning. I wouldn’t go to school or work without my fix. Drugs controlled me. Drugs ruined relationships in my life. Drugs made me financially unstable. Drugs took away my ability to think straight or have any form of a healthy relationship in my life. Drugs took away my happiness and my ability of choice. I was using to live, and living to use. My life was unmanageable. I needed a solution. I was given an ultimatum to get out of my parents’ house, or go to treatment. By the grace of God, on July 30, 2014, I made the decision to come to Florida to come to treatment. I was coming for 30 days, and i was going home, without any exceptions. I jumped on a plane, landed in West Palm Beach, Florida to a man with a sign in his hand with my name on it. This man took me to a treatment center called The Watershed.
I arrived at detox in Boynton, befogged, jittery and miserable. My intentions we’re to feel a little bit better, and take advantage of the food and the sun. I now realize that the food and the sun wasn’t what was going to keep me sober. In the Boynton detox, with my intentions being to stay for 30 days and to return home to NY, there was a program offered to me called ‘PHP’ (Partial Hospitalization Program) and i was absolutely not going to PHP, I didn’t need it, it wasn’t for me, my life wasn’t so bad, I thought. By the grace of God, I went to PHP. found a job, moved up in the program, eventually I relapsed. I did the cycle in The Watershed for about 8 months. I did not get sober at The Watershed. I was not ready! My life was run on complete self-will. It was my way or there wasn’t any way. I had no understanding of God in my life then, and although that was my journey, I needed to relapse and get a taste of how much worse it can get out there, and I am eternally grateful because God really was always on my side the whole time.
Fast forwarding a little, I got kicked out The Watershed because I wasn’t willing to change anything about myself, or my defects, or do any internal work on myself. I ended up getting high again. I ended up in a motel room, here in South Florida, miserable. I ended up going home for a few weeks because it was easier for my self-will run riot to play out there. After about three long weeks back in my hometown, I had a deep want in me to finish what I started in Florida, and I booked a plane ticket and I came back down to do things right, and not for ego, or my family, or a vacation, or the sun or the food, but for me. This was on April 10th, 2015, and I’ve been sober since, and that was the best decision of my entire life. I became willing to do the things I didn’t do before.
Willingness was the foundation to my recovery. Being willing I found God, worked with a sponsor, went through my steps, maintained a home group and do service for them, chair meetings, speak for meetings, and I now manage my halfway house full time. The promises in this program were promised to me if I was willing to pick up the spiritual tools that were laid at my feet, and by the Grace of God I was finally willing. Life has its ups and downs for me, but that is just life on life terms today. Drinking and drugging weren’t my issue, I am my issue, and if i continue to take personal inventory, and live on a spiritual basis and do what I’ve been doing since April 10th, 2015, there is very little doubt of my recovery, and that is promised to me because it shows the newcomer that this program really does work.