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From hopeless to grateful

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From hopeless to grateful

My grandparents were alcoholics, my Father was an alcoholic who left our family when I was four and I was raised with an alcoholic step father who was very abusive. I left home at 13 searching for someone to love me. I thought there was something wrong with me, unlovable, stupid, ugly, I didn't trust people and I started drinking and using drugs to numb the feelings of pain, loneliness and sadness. It started out just drinking and smoking a little pot but as time went by I used more and more. I had my son at the age of 17 and raised my son in my addiction. I had no idea how much harm my crazy life would bring to my son in his later years. My son's father was an addict and very abusive and it reaffirmed my feeling of not being good enough. It took me 12 years to get out of that relationship and it wasn't long before I was in another relationship with another alcoholic addict but this time I married him.

I was a functional alcoholic addict working and putting on a mask pretending everything was alright. At the end of my disease I would start my day with a pint of brandy at 8:00am by 11:00am I would be looking for cocaine and another pint of brandy. By 2:00pm I would get more cocaine and drink more brandy trying to balance my high to be able to work. I would keep doing this over and over every few hours until 10:00pm. I was not present for my husband or my son, when I got home I would take narcotic pills to go to sleep only to wake up and start this all over again. My body and mind could not take this day after day after day but if I tried to stop I would get physically sick. I didn't know how to stop, it hurt so bad if I didn't drink and use. I was trying to figure out how to commit suicide in a way that I wouldn't survive. I visualized myself in a casket with my son looking down at me and I was leaving him with these horrible people who did not love him.

You may think I didn't love my son but that is not true, I loved him more than anything but I couldn't put the alcohol and drugs down it made me so sick if I did. My husband threatened to leave me, throw me out and that's when I started looking for help. I decided I wanted to live so I walked into a rehab one day and told them I needed help. I detoxed from alcohol, pills and cocaine and stayed in the rehab for 30 days. They told me something so simple that I will never forget it, they said would anyone ever force you to drink or use, would anyone ever tie you up and force you to use alcohol Or drugs? No ......well that means that my own hand was putting the alcohol and drugs in my body own hand.....and if I never put a drink or drug up to my mouth I would never get high again. It meant I was the cause and I was the one that had the power to stop. What a concept.....What my biggest problem was to figure out how to deal with my emotions without numbing them with alcohol and drugs, how to live without drugs and alcohol to do everything. All my friends and most of my family drank or used drugs so I thought I would be alone, sober, lonely and bored but I was so wrong. I told everyone I knew that I was quitting drinking and drugging so I could live a better life and if they wanted to still be a part of my life they could not drink or drug around me. I lost about half of my friends and the other half are still my friends today. I was told I needed to go to a meeting every day and get a sponsor so I did as I was told, you see if they told me to stand on my head in the corner for an hour and it would make you better I would have done it. They said if I do everything that the big blue book of AA said I would get better so I listened and followed their direction, that gave me hope. I hurt so bad inside, all the things I had done to myself in my addiction, all the things I had done too my son in my addiction, and all the things I had done to my family in my addiction. I lied, stole, sold my body, sold my sole in my addiction and I had lost myself, gave up my morals and felt hopeless. I was told I could not go into a bar to drink soda, I couldn't go into a liquor store to get my cigarettes , I couldn't Carry cash, couldn't hang out with old people, in old places. It was very hard trying to deal with my emotions, I didn't know how to do anything sober so I went to meetings everyday.

At first I didn't share I hid in the back but I soon realized that I had to talk, had to share my pain and in my sharing people reached out to me, accepted me, loved me for who I am. I came home sober and my husband kept drinking he didn't stop. I was told I would have to leave him but I didn't listen, we stayed married for 15 years before the disease of alcoholism killed him. He was getting thinner and sicker every day but I could not force him to quit he had to want it. I left one day only to come home to a dead husband, his liver gave out, I will never forget that vision, my first thought was I want a shot of alcohol, my second thought was it won't change anything. I lived through the worst pain I had ever had finding my husband dead and living without him. I lost 50 lbs in a very short period of time, suffered from depression and it was a long road coming out of that without using any substances, but the rooms and people of AA and NA helped me through it.

A few years later my son was full blown into his addiction, you see ....he too had become an alcoholic growing up in this dysfunctional life he turned to alcohol just like I had to numb his own pain. He was killing himself in his disease and I was totally powerless over his addiction too. I was so afraid that I was going to lose my only son I thought I was going to lose my mind. My son rolled his car and was flown to a trauma center and that is what got me into the rooms of Al-Anon. I not only learned how to live and love my son through his addiction but it helped me work through my childhood issues growing up in an alcoholic home. AA and NA saved my life but Al-Anon helped heal my wounded spirit and taught me how to live and be happy.

Today I am a certified addiction specialist and work with people who have alcohol and drug problems, Mental Health issues and Domestic Violence issues. Who would have ever thought that I would be helping people after living the life I did. No matter how much recovery I have or how much I know about addiction I can not make anyone quit even my son, I can only support them, love them and share my experience, strength and hope that it can get better if you really want it. I'm married to a wonderful man who loves me dearly, I own my own small home, own my own small car, have 3 doggies I am crazy about, have a good job, have two wonderful healthy grandchildren, garden, hike, live , laugh and I am at peace and content today. My God is good and I can't imagine doing life without recovery, the people I have met in recovery are true friends, honest and loving and even though my journey to get here was hard it was so worth it. If I can do it so can you, just reach out and ask for help and don't stop asking for help until you get it.

This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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1. Jane
great story! really insparational.