My name is Linda and I am a recovering alcoholic. Notice I said recovering and not recovered. I will never be recovered as I live one day at a time – it is a process.
When I had my first drink is not important but where my drinking took me is very important. I was a binge drinker whose life of social drinking was short term. Booze did to me what it did not do to others from the get go. However, I refused to acknowledge the signals – after all, I was in my early twenties and could not possibly have a drinking problem. I certainly did not grow up wanting to be an alcoholic. I stayed in denial for quite sometime; my family had me see someone they thought could help me straighten things out, issues I had; then I would no longer have a drinking problem. Wrong! I was told by a fellow alcoholic that if I continued drinking three things would happen, jail, mental institution or death. Thus far, by the grace of God, one has not happened.
To stay sober on a daily basis is a process, something I cannot take for granted. My disease has stripped me of my well-being and total sense of self—self worth (of which I didn’t know what that meant anymore); the list could go on and on. I wanted out; I was tired of it all and felt like I was in this deep black hole. I did not want to open my eyes anymore.
My life entailed a 38 year abusive marriage that was both physical and verbal. I would often self medicate my pain. I believe my higher power helped me to endure all of it, and it was truly by the grace of God I survived! My greatest accomplishments were giving birth to my two sons. I am proud to be their mom and their support is vital to my sobriety. There is no greater love than that of a child. To regain trust is huge. I attended AA meetings but soon discovered that alone was not enough for me. I had to reach out to other resources to help me deal with deeper inner issues that played a big part in my sobriety.
That resource was Acadia Hospital. The groups and programs I attended faithfully have saved my life. It was hard but it had to be done honestly – I did “walk the walk” and am still walking. I got to start seeing possibilities in my life instead of obstacles. My self-esteem, confidence, and liking myself is coming back (as I have stated – it is a process). Dealing with life on life’s terms has become huge but having healthy options and using coping tools that have been acquired is greater.
I have learned to grieve in a way I never knew I could. I am no longer banging my head against a brick wall. I love being sober and never want to lose sight of “remembering when”. As I changed, people around me changed. I have been blessed with so many good friends. I strongly feel that for me knowing all I know, should I ever pick up a drink it will be because I’d rather be drunk than sober. I accept myself as I am – the good and the bad. I am a neat person even though I have some rough edges. Today, I am not well, but I sure am better!