Jennifer is a grateful alcoholic

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I don't really know where to begin...

My childhood was dysfunctional. My mom suffered from depression and anxiety.  She was barely a functioning human being let alone a mother to us 4 children. Which left the burden of parenting and adult responsibilities on my shoulders. I rebelled greatly against her and my father and began running away at a very young age. I met a man when I was 16 and fell in what I believed at the time to be love. I dropped out of high school and moved in with this man. Into a drug house with drug dealers. I was quickly introduced to weed, cocaine, ecstacy and alcohol. I loved every second of it. We lived at that house for several months till the money ran dry. I saw things in that house that I'll never forget. 

At 20 I became pregnant with my son. I stayed completely sober throughout my pregnancy and gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful child. However shortly thereafter I started drinking nightly and was finding it hard to wake up every morning with my son. Cocaine became a every weekend thing, then to almost every night. My boyfriend was my perfect codependent partying mate. We fed into each others addiction. However I always felt I was a bit worse than him. It was never enough. Always trying to fill some bottomless void. I carried on for years partying with vodka and cocaine.

On the morning of July 3rd, 2005 I woke up with possibly the worst pain I've ever felt in my stomach. I knew something was seriously wrong. We proceeded to go to the hospital where I waited 8 hours to be seen. After urine tests and blood work the doctor came in and said "Not to worry, we're checking you into the ICU" Not to worry? 

I was diagnosed with pancreatitis. My triglycerides were 9000. Triglycerides are the bad fat in your blood. Normal is 200. What's ironic is the gallon of red wine I was drinking every night at the time was thinning my blood out enough to keep me alive. I was put into an induced coma for 2 months. Intubated with a trach. My body swelled to twice it's size and all my organs began shutting down. My surgeon later told me he had never seen a case as bad as mine. Apparently I'm in a medical book now because of all the procedures they had done to me to save my life. I obviously don't know everything I went through. 

I was taken out of the induced coma 2 months later. I has no idea what happened. It was a long road to recovery. I lost temporary use of my legs. So I had to learn to walk again. I had several surgeries to remove cysts off my pancreas. I had tube coming out of either sides of me to drain other cysts. It was horrible. By far one of the hardest thing I've had to go through in my life. I was a miracle.

You would think my addiction would have stopped there. Nope. Cunning, baffling, and powerful.
I didn't drink. However I was prescribed several different pain medications. At first took them as prescribed. But one day I thought if one feels this good how about 2 or 3 or 4 more pills. 
I had trasferred addictions. I was a full blown pill junkie. Dr shopping. ER visits. My boyfriend bought them from dealers from me.

16 months later we took a family vacation to Jamaica. I told myself I've been good. I deserve a drink. My boyfriend agreed. I nearly lost my life and was about to drink again. I did. Right back where I left off. Drinking every day. Taking pills. And eventually smoking crack cocaine.
I carried on this way for several years. Hospital visits. Couple trips to the psych ward. Every day drinker. I was dying on the inside. I was becoming physically violent. Blacking out. I lived to drink. Eventually money ran out and my boyfriends patience. He (who was a junkie himself) was sick of my shit.  

When your life becomes waking up, popping pills, drinking and smoking crack there isn't much to want to live for anymore. I wanted to die. My dad (who I consider a practicing alcoholic) looked at me one day and said "get help."  I finally agreed.

I went to detox in the ghetto of Chicago. I spent 5 days with heroin junkies.  I asked myself how it got this bad.  I knew I wasn't far from or above shooting up myself... Afterwards I spent 31 days in treatment, best thing I ever did. I was hurting. My childhood had me scarred. All these things that had happen to me left me damaged. I was trying to cover up all the hurt.

I decided the best thing for me was to move into a recovery home for women. Set a foundation for my recovery. I spent 13 months there. I started attending meetings at a local AA club and got a sponsor who took me through the steps. I got heavily involved in service work. Chaired meetings, gave leads and sponsored other women. I had no idea what AA was. I was scared. But I knew I couldn't drink anymore and I was willing to do whatever it took not to. I knew I was an alcoholic. There was no lurking notion that I could ever safely drink again.

Sobriety isn't easy. My mom died suddenly last year. I have known tremendous pain in my life. This was like no other. I sat in two meetings that day crying my eyes out. Luckily I had a firm foundation and AA was there to save me again. 

I'm a grateful alcoholic. There is so much freedom in surrending. I'm powerless over alcohol. But I found my power again in the rooms of AA. I'm grateful for every single thing that has happened because it got me to this point.  We do recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

-Jennifer