Never Took a Legal Drink
I hope I never forget making the call to my parents, asking them to come pick their 15-year-old daughter up from one of the grimiest, most drug laden areas of Cleveland's inner city with two of Cleveland's finest in tow. They, having been raised in very safe, loving households, wisely decided that they should pick up a couple of policemen to protect them from the 40-year-old convicted felon, fresh out of jail, whom I had decided to party with that night. I won't go into the gruesome details, because I think that, if you're reading this, I probably don't have to prove to you that I'm an alcoholic. But, suffice it to say that the moment I heard the banging on the door and a man yelling, "Cleveland police! Open the door!" I was absolutely convinced that my life had just been saved.
That night was two years before I finally got sober. My sobriety date is September 10th, 2005. I'm 24 years old and got sober at the age of 17. That is my only sobriety date. I say that because it's important. I say that because it disgusts me to hear the frequently thrown around cliche that "relapse is a part of recovery." It doesn't have to be, and I am the proof. God willing (and if I stay willing) I'll continue to be that example.
Before my parents finally became strong enough to press charges on me for the only thing they really could press charges on me for--doing drugs in their home--I was failing every single one of my high school classes. I had no self-respect. I was self-mutilating. I disrespected and degraded myself and the people who love me the most. I did my best not to think about these things. In fact, the goal of not thinking was one of the key reasons I stayed high and drunk for so long. I didn't want to recognize what my life had become.
Eventually, the charges my parents pressed on me led to a program called "Drug Court" and an inpatient rehab near my house.
I was high when I went in, but slowly I began realizing that if I did the same things over and over, I would get the same results. I started to follow my sponsor's suggestions (go to a meeting, and they'll tell you about sponsors). I made a list of friends I could never see again and of friends I could see sometimes. I did what the people I truly respected told me to do.
The story of my recovery is a long one. It's really cool that I've been sober now for longer than I drank and used. I went to meetings regularly (at least three a week for most of my sobriety). I worked my steps and continue to work them in my daily life. I gave back the gift of sponsorship by sponsoring others. I developed a relationship with a higher power I could believe in and rely on. I continue to do all of these things and more to the best of my ability.
Here are some of the things I've been granted as the direct result of my sobriety:
~the ability to truly love others
~a great relationship with my family
~parents who trust me again, love me, and, crazy enough, like me, too!
~a Summa Cum Laude (3.85) degree from a highly accredited university and my mother's alma mater--Kent State University
~a job teaching English in the school district my mother worked at for over 30 years and recently retired from
This list could go on ad infinitum. I am so grateful, paradoxical as this sounds, that my Higher Power was able to work through my parents and give them the ability to love me enough to do something they knew would probably hurt me in the short term.
If you love an alcoholic or addict and are reading this: Please, check out the 12-step program Al-Anon. Your addict/alcoholic may never get sober, but you can develop the ability to "detach with love" from the disease your loved one suffers from.
If you're reading this and think you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol, hit up a meeting. Google it. Alcholics Anonymous meeting in [insert your city here]. Get a sponsor. Do what they say. Give it a shot for a year. If your life doesn't get any better, we'll gladly refund your misery!
Life is good. Thanks, friends.
Peace and love,