My name is Angie and I’m an alcoholic. My story starts like many. I grew up in a lower-class family. I am the oldest of four children. My father worked 70 hours a day so that my mother could stay home. I went to Catholic school my whole life. From the beginning there was a different standard set for me as opposed to my siblings. There was an expectation for me to be perfect at an early age. I internalized that expectation and made it my mission to be perfect at all costs.
I met my husband when I was 15 years old. We began dating when I was 16 and got married when I was 20. We had our first daughter when I was 21. I graduated college when I was 22. I began teaching elementary school in a prestigious school district in St. Louis. I had my second daughter when I was 25 and my third daughter when I was 27. I was the perfect teacher, mother, and wife. Lessons were always done, students were always learning, children were always taken care or, dinner was always made, laundry was always done. I was perfect or, so I thought.
I maybe drank a handful of times in high school. I never felt the pressure to drink or use. As I entered college, I had a boyfriend in a fraternity and I worked in a bar/restaurant. So, the opportunities to drink became more readily available. I started to drink more heavily. However, I was able to maintain being on the Dean’s List, so I didn’t’ think there was a problem.
As I grew older, I drank with friends on occasion, but I never had any consequences. I would get drunk but there were never any problems. As I had kids, I would have the cliché couple of glasses of wine before bed to unwind from the day. I began to realize how the wine made me forget any time that I felt I was being perfect, so I continued to drink more and more. I increased my consumption to two bottles a day. At this point my husband hadn’t noticed I was deathly afraid of tarnishing my perfect image, so I started buying liter bottles and adding water and food coloring to them so that you couldn’t tell how much I had drunk. Until one day my husband poured me a glass of wine only to discover that it looked more like grape Kool-Aid than wine. He talked to me about being honest about how much I was drinking, not that I might have a problem. I took that to mean that I needed to be sneakier about it. So, I began to drink vodka in secret before my wine consumption began. Then I noticed how the vodka made me feel so I stopped drinking wine all together.
I increased my consumption from a half pint to a pint to a fifth to two fifths to a half gallon to a gallon. My first major consequence was being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning with a BAC of 0.5. I could have died. My next major consequence was a rollover car accident that totaled out my car with me inside. Then came a suicide attempt. The next major consequence was a massive stroke that left me paralyzed for 3 months. Then came another suicide attempt. Then the DUI.
In the process I went in and out of rehab 9 times and in and out of the rooms of AA and CA over the eight years this was all happening. And I separated from my husband twice and was living in halfway houses and friends’ couches. My family wouldn’t let me stay with them and would barely talk to me. I had lost my family. During my 9th treatment I had 6 months of “sobriety” and moved into an apartment. My children were visiting me, my husband and family were talking to me, things were looking up.
One day that little voice in my head started lurking in and telling me that I could handle one glass of wine. And instead of using my tools to handle the situation or reaching out to my sober supports, I decided to test it out. So, I bought a single serving bottle of wine. I drank that and then went out and bought a half pint and drank it. And I stopped. I thought I had it under control. Before I knew it, over the course of 4 days, I was back to drinking a gallon of vodka a day. My 16-year-old told her dad she would visit me anymore because she didn’t want to find me dead. My husband told me that there was no hope of reconciliation. So, I had lost my family once again.
I decided to deal with this once and for all. 9 trips to rehab hadn’t done it. I decided what I needed was time. I needed time to figure out how to live my life on life’s terms. I came to the Watershed 12-16-17. I was onboard to stay for 6 months. At six months I decided to stay and finish my steps. Then I stayed 5 more months. At 9 months I decided that I wanted to go home. My family let me know that they weren’t ready to have me. I had to be understanding of their feelings as I always put my needs before theirs. At 11 months sober we were all ready for me to go home. I even had the blessing of sponsoring a woman for some time. It was one of the biggest blessings of my life. I finally realized the purpose of this program. How its not all about me but about bringing the message to others.
The Watershed afforded me the ability to go through a step own process so that I could learn to live life on life’s terms. I learned how to live without using alcohol to deal with the curveballs we get thrown. I then learned how to live life on life’s terms while working a recovery program. I then learned how to live life on life’s terms while working a job and working a recovery program. I learned how to be a productive member of society again. I learned how to live before introducing being a wife and a mother once again.
Through this process I have reconciled my 21-year marriage and rekindled the loving bond with my children. I have regained the trust that I lost so long ago. Today I have just a week left until my I year anniversary. I thank my higher power, this program, and amazing sponsorship for what I have today. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams.