My name is Grace, and I am an alcoholic. I never thought that I would be an alcoholic, or abuse drugs, or sleep with men for drugs/alcohol. I never thought that I would end up all alone, isolated in my apartment, lying in my bed with an open switchblade, running it up and down my arm. I never thought I would have to drink to function, drink to slow down my racing thoughts, drink to stop shaking, wake up and drink, pass out, blackout, wake up and drink again around the clock. I never thought that I would drink and drive…over and over and over again. I never thought I would get caught. I never thought I would marry an alcoholic. I never thought my brother would kill himself from his alcohol/drug use. I never thought that my husband would die from alcoholism. I never thought….
I was born into a dysfunctional family. I don’t really remember much of my childhood. My mother was a binge alcoholic, my father was never around. I am the older of 2. My parents divorced and I had a new father. My mother was a cold, mean, very abusive alcoholic. My step father turned out to be an alcoholic/addict who gambled the family money away and was abusive in other ways too. They had 2 sons. I was born in New York and when my mother and step father got together, we moved to Jersey. I was in 3rd grade when we moved to northern Jersey. My teacher told my mother that I needed professional help. That didn’t happen. There were already too many secrets, and the motto was, “children should be seen and not heard”.
Life was very chaotic, to say the least. When I was 16, I had my first drink. It was shortly after that, that I got drunk at a neighbor’s house and was raped. There was already sexual trauma in my life. It was my step father. He had also been drugging and raping my little sister. She was sent away to live with a relative…and mom brushed it under the rug. I was afraid, alone, felt less than, unwanted and unloved. When I was 18, my best friend said to me, “You know what I like the best about you when you drink? You have confidence”. My drinking career took off. I began blacking out in my 20’s. Woke up in strangers beds, strangers houses…hated myself for it, swore I would change, moved, burned the bridges and did it over and over and over again. I was in my 20’s when my acquaintances began to tell me that I drank too much. I wouldn’t date a man that didn’t drink like I did. A date without drinking was unimaginable. And pretty soon, a day without drinking was not only unimaginable, it was impossible. And my life continued like that until I found a man that I fell in love with, got married and had a daughter. I lost the urge to drink when I was pregnant. It was gone, just like magic! I still had all of the bad feelings in my head. I stayed sober throughout my entire pregnancy. My husband, on the other hand, drank more. When I was able to, I drank again and was soon back to where I left off. I went to college, earned 2 degrees, became an RN. I left my husband, my daughter was drugging, I was miserable. And I began that whole ugly cycle again. Insanity. I was out of control. I made sure my daughter was ok. I put her into rehab. I figured it would help her. But, she just kept coming back to drunken divorced parents…that family dysfunction that I grew up in. I never thought…insanity.
I got together with 2 or 3 more alcoholics, lived with them…now cops are getting involved here and there and more insanity. I was getting involved with men who were abusive verbally and emotionally. I drank to feel better, to stop feeling…I moved out to live on my own, and I descended into a dangerous, dark, lonely rabbit hole. And I wanted it all to end, I wanted to die. My head was filled with the voice…I call that the voice of the beast. That beast grabbed me as hard as he could and I don’t remember much that happened from the night of July 4-8, 2016. What I do remember is the following: finding The Watershed on Google, calling them and my insurance company. Having a flight booked for 11:30 AM on July 9th. Being in dt’s (again), being brought in by wheelchair because I had such weakness and shakes. My first thought when I was brought in was Thank God! And I have not looked back.
The staff at The Watershed treated me with so much dignity and respect. I vowed that I would stay for the whole experience. I had never felt like that in the other places that I had gone to. I had been to 2 other treatment facilities and countless detox centers and hospitals. This was different. I was with people who were mostly around my age, we could smoke, the food was good and I loved the classes and groups. From the Boca facility, which is now closed, I went on to PHP and moved out of that building to TWA. I went to groups and classes at Quantum then began to go to outside meetings. I loved all of it, especially my therapist Alan, and I went after my sobriety and recovery like my life depended on it. My life did depend on it and it still does. I became very active in the community, chaired meetings, spoke to groups, became sober support, had a sponsor, and started working the steps. By the time I moved to the 3/4 living, I had been back to CT twice, my daughter was speaking to me, I was speaking to some of my relatives, regained trust from my friends, completed the 12 steps…I was sober for holidays!!! I was sober for my birthday! I was fully into recovery! I had feelings, I wasn’t angry, I had no desire to drink…I entered the Watershed on July 9, 2016 and stayed until January 31, 2017. I moved into a private home with a woman that was my roomie in halfway. And all of this happened in 27 weeks!! I was 54 years old when I entered treatment. That was 38 years of fear, self-pity, self-loathing, building resentments…and wanting to die. I found God…I never thought
So many more great things are happening, still. I have decided to remain in Florida. I have a beautiful sponsor, a great home group, and friends. I have my CT nursing license back and I am getting my FL nursing license. I was already offered a job in my field. Just waiting for the license. I am moving to another apartment with a roomie that has more sober time than me. The apartment is RIGHT ON the intercostal! I wake up happy and grateful and ready to face the day. I pray, go to meetings and I am experiencing life like I never thought I could…I never thought.
One of the best things that has happened for me because I am sober is that I have my daughter back in my life. And, I am going to be a grandmother sometime around Halloween. My daughter tells me she is proud of me! And I am proud of myself! Today is July 27, 2017, and my sponsor presented me with my 1 year medallion. My name is Grace and I am a very grateful recovering alcoholic. I never thought…