Recovery Triumph: Alcohol & Drugs
I celebrated 23 years of sobriety this past January and finished my final project for my Master’s degree last week. I am an A student by the grace of God, and I put my all into my work no matter what the task or requirement is. I reflect back to the 92 pound near death mess I was upon my final surrender to alcohol and drugs. With my sponsors (and her sponsor) strong suggestion of long term treatment, I went out to Los Angeles to one of the two sober living places available where women and their children were accepted. My heart was breaking watching my then 4 year old stay by my side, trust me to step into the fear and the unknown, supporting me and saying to me ‘Mom, don’t you know I love you no matter what?’ No wiser or more beautiful words have ever been spoken to me. How I loved hearing her say later on ‘Mom you rule!!’ The shame and the guilt was so overwhelming-something I can spot in any room or situation I walk into. Women die of Mommy guilt every day. I use my voice today to educate and try to rid the stigma of those who still suffer and self destruct, and that minimize and lie about what is really going on in shame and fear of judgment, punishment and retaliation for having an illness. I had a series on ‘mini-strokes’ (not mini when they happen to you!) and could not get through the intake even unable to remember my age. It was frightening-but when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I am eternally grateful for the women staff at this place who loved us until one can even begin to consider loving themselves and stick with the grueling daily routine of chores, lecture, meeting s, and the hardest part-living with others for a solid year. What an eye opener my sponsor would say! It was a ‘buddy’ experience downtown LA for a court hearing that I was asked to do that changed my life. I watched a woman who relapsed in the transition stage to ¾ house of the program and lost custody-permanently-of all 6 of her children for this relapse. I will never forget the look on her face as long as I live. I froze-and somehow was determined to stand up and speak up when I had some sort of foundation, some semblance of self -esteem, and forgiveness of self and others. It took years, but I will not stay quiet-I will not be silent-I will use my voice and experience. How we tire of being looked on with contempt. Hate the disease, not the person suffering with the disease. They already hate themselves. Sadly, this includes in the rooms as well. We are fair game. Guys are arrested, pee in public, make asses of themselves and they get laughs and an attentive audience when they tell their stories-we are sluts and bad mothers.
In the Big Book, p.67 in How It Works, it states; This is a sick man, how can I be helpful to him? How about her? Yes, the book is dated, but there is still a separation and a stigma. The definition of stigma- ‘a distinguishing mark of social disgrace’ and as one writer stated ‘who would take a stand and admit this and try to change things? Me. I will not stay silent. Some of my greatest struggles and disappointments are my greatest motivators. There is a spiritual or existential dysfunction to the point of intolerable in a person’s emotional and mental life and this is an ongoing process. Alcohol and or drugs are but a symptom of the illness and the pharmaceutical industry is not creating cures, it creates customers. I know this by the dozens of women I have crossed paths with and witnessed many taking prescribed medications to numb them out, keep them down and not feel. They simply exist, a few of them that lost a baby end up giving away their living children as they are ‘not worthy’ of having them for what they have done. The ultimate martyr-and this contempt often comes from family and very often from our society. Some of the said cleverness that these women have tolerated and then shared with me is a form of mean spirited trickery for sport or personal gain- unspeakable blame and cruelty that does nothing but keep her down. I lost my first born to SIDS over 30 years ago. With decades of sobriety now and a trusted position to counsel others, I always said a prayer and asked for guidance before I met with each and every client I ever had. I noticed one day that on my caseload of about 24 to 26 women- I counted 9 of them had lost a baby to SIDS. Coincidence? No way. How am I the trusted servant here? I don’t want the job I said to the God of my understanding- I am indeed one who appears to be a chosen comforter-truth teller, and an opportunity to connect with humans on a level I never thought possible. I recall some of the people years ago that told me there was a reason for all this and it would be revealed someday.
Rid the stigma-treat the illness that it is. There are now treatment centers that take women through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters to get the baby here safely-period. There is gender specific treatment- finally.
You are not bad and you are not broken. You matter and you are loved. I am determined to lift the fallen, restore the broken and heal the hurting. Let go of what you can’t change. Healing does not mean the damage never existed-it means that damage no longer controls our lives (Healthpalce.com). Never regret or apologize for having the sense to let go of nonsense that causes you stress, negativity or drama (Bale). Be soft, loving-but also take nobody’s shit. Don’t be ashamed of your story-it just might inspire someone. Separate yourself from blessing blockers-they purposely distract you with sin, drama and fear because they can’t stand to see you happy. (Toby Mae).
Please don’t think for minute that I have not taken major heat for this-some from ‘professionals’. But as the heroin and meth epidemic sky rockets-so will the insanity that comes with it. Ohio reports and increase in addicted babies at 750% in a month. More mothers self destructing because of the unthinkable. 9 out of 10 alcoholic/ addict women have been sexually abused, raped or tortured in their youth. We must get down to causes and conditions and discuss solution-no matter how painful it is. Then you redefine yourself as an independent victor in your own life.