Rose is a passionate member of the recovery community
One of the first things that I really connected to when I finally washed up in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous was the fact that other people felt just like me. That other people knew what it meant to live in active addiction and had found freedom from that hell. I remember that it was earlier on in my recovery and I was sitting in a meeting and the speaker said that she had felt different from people for her entire life and that nothing she did, besides drinking or using drugs, seemed to bridge that gap of dis-connectedness. When she said this I almost shot out of my chair because I was floored that she was able to, in a room full of people, express something that I had thought about for most of my life. She went on to tell us that she didn’t feel that way any longer and that she had finally found her place in the world and it was right there in that room, with a crowd of drunks.
I spent most of my youth abroad because my parents were missionaries. We lived in Costa Rica for a time and then moved to Peru, amid the political instability and infighting that was going on at the time. At night I would hear bombs going off and gunfire was not an uncommon sound around where we lived, but interestingly enough, none of that really concerned me. I was more so concerned with the fact that I felt completely apart from all of my peers because I had red hair and freckles and was from a different country. It really messed with me growing up and I sort of just turned that anxiety inward and attempted to deal with it in the best way I possibly could.
My feelings of being a part were further exacerbated by the fact that I was the victim of sexual trauma by someone in a position of power this further exacerbated the feelings of being alone. I mean that is a lot for anyone to handle, let a lone a little girl, and so I sought escape in order to quiet the voices in my head and the constant stress I felt from just wanting to be anyone but myself.
My alcoholism and addiction didn’t start with drinking or using drugs though; it started with binging and purging. I was about 14 at the time, and it started out with me just overeating and then throwing up once a day. It gave me relief and I felt like by doing this I could control the madness going around and inside of me, but the problem was that I never really had control.
By the end of that first year I was throwing up, upwards of 10 times a day and I would take all of the money I could get my hands on and secretly buy food. I would then stash the food away and a part of me felt proud of this. I felt like the food was mine and mine alone and no one could take it away from me.
Around this same time I was prescribed Adderall for my ADHD and that was a match made in heaven. Not only did it get me high but it also pretty much eliminated my appetite so I could constrict my eating and lose weight a lot more easily. I also started to smoke pot during this time period and that is where I truly found my calling. It relaxed me, when almost nothing else on this planet could and I thought that in Adderall, Alcohol, pot, and binging and purging I had found my answer to living.
Writing out those five things now, it is so evident that they were not the answer I was looking for, in fact that is a lot to keep up just to function in life, but being a teenager I didn’t know this, and so I did the best I could with what I had.
I burnt out pretty quickly and wound up in my first treatment center when I was 17. I was semi-aware that I had a problem, but not in the same way I am aware today, and so when I got out of there I pretty much continued on the war path unimpeded. I will say that there was a brief period where I was able to keep it together, but I was nowhere near ready to get sober yet.
Over the next few years things got worse for me and the only thing that really changed was that I got married, albeit to a man that no one wanted me to be with because he was abusive, and we had two children. The abuse in the relationship was ongoing and it fed my disease, allowing me to continue to drink and act out because I felt like I deserved it. If you had my life, living with this guy and having to stay in the marriage for my children, you’d drink and use drugs just like I did.
After 7 years of this, I eventually left him and moved in with my parents. I just couldn’t do it anymore and to be honest I also really wanted to get sober. I knew that I was hurting my kids by doing what I was doing, but I just couldn’t seem to stop. I’d get a day or a week here and there, but nothing sustainable and each time I relapsed I felt worse and worse. Until one day when I really hit a bottom emotionally because I knew that I couldn’t fight this thing on my own any longer. I asked for help and I was sent to a treatment center in Pennsylvania.
I stayed there for a month and then I was sent to a long-term treatment center in South Florida, where I stayed in treatment for another 5 months. I really needed the time and the help because I was a complete shell of a woman when I got there. I hadn’t processed any of the traumas of my past and I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I weighed 126 lbs. and I looked like I was dying.
I did what they told me to do and amazingly I started to heal. I got a sponsor, I participated in the groups, and I worked with my therapist in order to begin to heal the damage of my life.
It didn’t happen all at once, and in fact it really did take some time, but through working the Steps and private therapy I actually started to feel better. I started to believe in God again, and not the God of my childhood, but a personal God that loved me unconditionally. I began to make friends, some of whom are the closest people in my life today, and I also began to experience peace. I started to get the feeling that maybe the storm was finally over and I could begin to try to live the life I always knew I wanted to live.
Sobriety hasn’t been all peace and love for me though and I have experienced a lot of difficulties over these past 2 1/2 years. I moved back home to be with my children and in doing so I had to learn how to deal with my ex-husband on a sober footing. I became a mother again, but because of the tools that had been given to me in recovery and God, I am able to meet these demands and meet them pretty well if I do say so myself.
I have a job today that I love, writing for an amazing company, that allows me to talk about recovery and try to help others. I never would have guessed this was going to be the case and it is all because I finally surrendered and decided to try a different way of life.
Recovery has transformed me into a person that I like today and while the road may be rocky at times, I know that there is nothing in life that I cannot make it through as long as I have my God, my friends, and my recovery program in tact.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.