Meet Recovery Rockstar Abbey

Hi my name is Abbey, and I am an alcoholic. My current sobriety date is 9/17/11. I say current because I believe I am only one arm’s length away from that first drink. And for this alcoholic, to drink is to die! This is my experience, strength and hope. It’s an honor to share with you all.

Born in the mid-70's, I was an only child raised in an alcoholic home which was a chaotic environment during those formative years. I was known as a good girl – studious, smart, talented, pretty, popular, and funny. Not at all what I felt deep inside. I rarely felt like I fit in. I always believed I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, funny enough, etc. These were feelings I carried for 30 years before recovery. My drinking took off at 14 and soon after all sorts of drugs. I will not lie, it was so much fun through my teens. Nothing happened yet to cause me to want to stop any of it. I felt invincible! The chaotic home I grew up in was a distant memory, and I was out on my own living it up by the time I was 16. Little did I know how progressive alcoholism and drug addiction would become.

WHAT IT WAS LIKE AND WHAT HAPPENED

At 18, I met a man whose family greeted me with open arms and understood what had been happening at home. I finally felt like I fit in, and in order to keep that feeling of “fitting in” I began putting myself in situations that were dangerous, humiliating, violent, and against the law. I began using on a daily basis, from morning to night, regardless of any consequences. At the end of 1993 we were arrested. We decided to move to another state. You know the mentality of “leaving it all behind.” As you may know, relocation does nothing. We sought out drugs and started down the same path of destruction. Losing places to live, no food to eat, more dangerous situations and more episodes with the law. Things had not changed. They became increasingly worse. I was losing the trust of my family and began needing money to “help out” all the time, even though I was employed. No one in my family knew how serious things had become by the time I was 21.

In late 1998 I moved back to California. Again, the same old routine: moving from place to place, giving away possessions, losing jobs, quitting jobs, losing cars, lying and I continued to con money out of family, friends and even people I didn’t know. Eventually, I was living out of a motel room with two other addicts. My sanity was slowly leaving me and I was becoming sicker and sicker from using. I was arrested again on a warrant and spent some time in jail. After that point, I tried to reconnect with friends who weren’t using drugs and just drank. I tried for a couple months just drinking on the weekends but I was soon back to using again. I started stealing from friends and once again I was back in a motel. I moved again a couple more times and by that time all I had was one suitcase and a box of items to my name.

In 2000 I moved to the San Diego area and met the father of my two beautiful children. I felt so free because I didn’t know anyone down here to get drugs from and once again thought if I just drank, I wouldn’t do the absurd and tragic things, not to mention it was legal. I always had a justification for everything I did. I took no responsibility. It didn’t take but a year for my drinking to get out of control. Blackouts, dangerous behavior and lying all became they way I lived my life, once again.

In 2002 my son was born. Shortly thereafter, I was diagnosed with mental illness. When my son was 2 months old I came to the conclusion that why have a full mixed drink, when I can just take the shot and chase it. That allowed me to have multiple shots with one can of soda, instead of just one shot in a glass full of soda. To me that was an excellent plan!! I lost more friends and no one wanted me around. I was driving drunk with my son. The physical addiction had begun to rear its ugly head. I was constantly falling down injuring myself. I would black out 90% of the time I drank, and was aggressive and violent. You never knew what you were going to get with me. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome!! I was dirty, wouldn’t shower, and lost days at a time due to black outs.

In 2006 I decided to have another child because that would surely stop my drinking, so I thought. I drank at least 5 days a week throughout the whole pregnancy. By the Grace of God she has no disabilities!! Within a month of her birth I once again was in and out of hospitals for broken bones, and psych holds due to suicidal behaviors. The night of March 29, 2010, I was rushed to the hospital with a BAL of .395 and my last drink had been 12 hours before. The nurse told me most people die at that level, and I laughed and said I drank like that everyday like it was something to be proud of. I came to in the waiting room with no one willing to come get me. The next day I saw my doctor and started the process of recovery. I was terrified of not drinking, but I was also terrified of drinking. I had no where to run anymore. I had to try something. I was paranoid, insanely jealous, angry, violent, cruel, depressed, anxiety ridden and full of hate for everyone in my life, but mostly myself. I just wanted out of the self-imposed prison. I was so angry at God for making me an alcoholic.

I had a friend in the rooms and she started taking me to meetings. I didn’t know what else to do but with the help of my physician and proper medications, I continued going to meetings. Soon I got a commitment, a sponsor and began working the steps. At about 9 months I stopped doing the steps, got fired by my sponsor and began living alcoholically, just without the alcohol. My behavior was once again spinning out of control. I was disappearing for days, just like when I was drinking. I had no regard for my children, or the people I dragged into my chaos. I relapsed after 16 months of sobriety. I blacked out at work, fell and cracked my head open and broke some ribs. I had to be rushed to the ER – again. I was fired and my health insurance was revoked. I was broke and being evicted. There was an APB out on me because I was drunk driving, friends and family couldn’t find me. I had sliced my arms up trying to commit suicide and my sponsor took me to the psych ward and I got up and walked out before they found me a bed! The very next day I was arrested and placed on a 72-hour legal psych hold. All this happened in just 20 days!!! I came too wondering how I was going to get myself out of here. This time my lies weren’t working. I had truly reached incomprehensible demoralization, but in hindsight it was the gift of desperation. That night I was on my knees praying for the obsession to be removed. I immediately reached out to my prior sponsor and started going to meetings again.

WHAT IT IS LIKE NOW

Amazing!!! I have been shown mercy in being relieved of the obsession. I never believed it could happen to me. I am constantly in the steps, have commitments to my home group, and I sponsor other women. My children are back in my life, and we were blessed with not being evicted. I am also properly treated for my mental illness. Working the steps has been the biggest benefit in my life. I learned that my life was unmanageable when I drank. I thought just because I worked, paid my bills and got my kids to school each day, I was doing just fine! Step 4 was the best thing that could have happened to me. All the years of resentments were finally being unleashed. Like the flood gates opened!! I learned my part in each of my resentments and learned more about my character defects. My relationships with friends and family began to improve. Steps 6 and 7 are my favorite. Learning about my character defects and being given examples of how those character defects manifest into behaviors or thoughts, has been the most liberating feeling. I intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle me. When my sponsor told me she saw this growth, I knew that was my spiritual awakening. I whole heartedly believe I can be sober for the rest of my life – ONE DAY AT A TIME!! I have learned how to spot check myself through Step 10, and simply be more aware of my shortcomings and how they can affect my daily life. Steps 11 and 12 are a pathway to a connection with my Higher Power, and to be of service to those still suffering from this disease. When I practice these principles in all my affairs - to the best of my ability - I am much more humble and can see the forest for the trees. I have bad days like everyone else, but today I have a choice in not picking up that first drink. And any day I don’t pick up a drink is a great day!!

I thank God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous for saving my life! I have new sober friends who care about me, and who I genuinely care about too. I am a worker among workers, and a friend among friends. I am a spiritual being having a human experience, which I welcome today. I still go to meetings at least 4-5 times a week. I live by many of the slogans in AA. I am able to bring recovery home now instead of being a drunk mother stumbling around blacked out. My life has taken on new meaning! And to watch those around me recover, is a beautiful miracle. Please know recovery is possible and is worth it!! One day at a time my friends!! Thank you for letting me be of service. Take care!!

Abbey G.