"The people who helped me in treatment told me things could happen beyond my wildest dreams, and they were right."

My recovery began on November 7, 1988 in Morristown, New Jersey. After years of drinking and using pretty much whatever drugs were available, I came to a point where I could not stand to live in my own skin for another day. This was my bottom, and although there were points in my life that were worse, this feeling of utter despair and self-loathing told me I had to make changes.

I was 37, and had two adult children whose lives were out of control; they grew up in foster homes, since I could not care for them properly. When I was pregnant with my third child, who is six now, I came to the realization that I needed to do something to stop drinking and doing drugs immediately. I believe he was sent to me by God to save my life. Shortly after he was born, I started smoking marijuana, because I thought alcohol was my only problem. Before long, I was taking amphetamines, and other pills. I thought I would be able to maintain my alcohol sobriety, but I quickly started drinking too. For two years, I binged on drugs and alcohol until I came to what I call my surrender.

Because I stopped drinking while my son was pregnant, I spent those two years thinking I could stop whenever I wanted. I eventually found out I was wrong. During those two years, I got involved with a man much younger than me, who I ended up marrying. The real craziness of that marriage was that I knew it wouldn’t last; I just thought I would have one more adventure before I stopped using forever. All of a sudden, I was drinking and using all the time, even during work. I usually started off as a happy drunk, but I would always get mad and turn to violence.

After bad nights, my husband and I would agree we need to stop, and go to AA meetings. They had peace of mind, something I wanted but never had. I had been to court-ordered AA meetings, but this time was different. I realized I needed to do it without my husband because he was a part of my problem.

This is why I am sharing my story. It has been a long journey. I went to meetings for years and worked a recovery program. When I was three years sober, I got my GED. I continued to work at what I consider to be my first career, a waitress. Eventually, I got laid off, so I went to college. After graduating, I worked in a short-term rehab center where I realized this is what I was supposed to be doing. I went back for my MSW, and have been working my dream job ever since. I know this is where I was meant to be. I love being able to see other women grow in their recovery and helping them to be all they can be as they transition back to life outside of treatment. The people who helped me in treatment told me things could happen beyond my wildest dreams, and they were right.

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