I am a grateful recovering alcoholic from Armstrong County, born in Fort Worth, Texas. In the 1980s, before computers, cell phones, and before I even had a car, I was drinking heavily and blacking out constantly. I had been driving a tractor trailer cross country for a company in Fort Worth. My career ended on I-10 in New Orleans, Louisiana in April of 1980. I rear-ended another trucker who stopped suddenly in front of me, and I could not react in time. I was hauling a cab-over freightliner. The steering wheel kept me from flying through the front windshield; those trucks did not have seatbelts then. I pretty much partied the rest of that year away. I was living in Fort Worth, and I began using marijuana. There were plenty of people around that were running with the same crowd as me. I carried a bag with me at all times, full of pot. I became mentally dependent on it.
After some time, I got a job as at a local hospital as a unit secretary. Before every shift, I would smoke a joint in my car before I had the courage to go into the hospital and start working. No one ever said anything to me, but I’m positive my coworkers smelled it on me.
In efforts to get clean, I went to a counselor about my drinking. I told him I thought I was crazy. He told me to constantly remind myself of these three things: one, I am not crazy; two, I will never hurt myself; and three, I will never hurt anyone else. So, I promised him I would do that until our next session. I have not gone back to see him since the 1980s, but I know that I am not crazy, I have not hurt myself, and I have not hurt anyone else intentionally.
I moved back to western Pennsylvania on New Year’s Day 1981, and I have been clean and sober since February 24, 1981. I still am not crazy, have not hurt myself, and have not hurt anyone else intentionally.
This is why I am sharing my story. Currently, I work in the Drug and Alcohol Addiction field at an addiction recovery center, and I love my job. It’s so fulfilling when I see someone “get it.” I have stayed clean and sober one day at a time by working the 12 Step Program with a sponsor. I have found a power greater than me to guide me. I know I am not able to do this on my own. I must be willing to surrender my will, be honest, and open-minded if I want to maintain my sobriety. I write this to let others know it is possible to remain clean and sober long term if it is taken one day at a time.