I grew up the youngest of six siblings, most of which used drugs and alcohol openly in front of me. I couldn’t wait to join in on the party and began drinking alcohol and smoking weed at the age of 14. At first, it was fun for me and I finally felt like I fit in. However, it was at the age of 16 when drugs and alcohol started to become a way of coping with life for me. I lost my sister to suicide and was confused, scared and sad. Alcohol and drugs helped numb those feelings for me. Even though I was using almost daily, I was able to maintain good grades and always kept a smile on my face, so no one ever became concerned. As the years passed, using caught up with me and I became extremely depressed and began isolating from my friends. However, I did not think I had a “problem” with alcohol or drugs because I had gone to college, had a good job and a nice place to live. However, I was empty inside. I hated myself. I sought help through attending therapy when I was 25 years old and it was suggested to me that I give a program of recovery a try. With a combination of attending therapy and 12 step meetings, I was able to stay sober for almost an entire year but then I stopped attending both therapy and meetings and did not continue to use any of the tools I learned. It took me almost two years after that to ask for help because I was scared and my pride kept telling me I could do it on my own.
Finally, just after I turned 28, I had had enough and humbled myself to re-enter treatment and ask for help. That was 11 and a half years ago and I have been sober ever since. It hasn’t always been easy. I had to learn how to deal with uncomfortable, difficult feelings, but with the help of a sober network of people and ongoing treatment, I have been able to deal with “life on life’s terms”…a saying I hated when I first got clean. Not only is recovery possible, but if I stay sober, anything is possible. I no longer live in isolation, stuffing my emotions and hiding from relationships. I can communicate effectively with my loved ones and have built long lasting friendships. I went back to school and earned a masters’ degree and have a job that I love. But most importantly, I know who I am and I love myself. One thing I thought when I got sober was that I would never have fun again, I was so wrong. I have had my best times, belly aching laughs in recovery and the even better part is, I remember all the moments. Not like when I was drinking. Each day is not perfect, and it’s not all roses and dandelions but my life today is beyond my wildest dreams better than it ever was even on my best day using.