My Story- Alaina_742

Old 06-06-2012, 01:31 PM
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My Story- Alaina_742

Background: Parents separated when I was a baby. My mom left and took us to her parents' house, where they raised us. Dad was a raging alcoholic for over 30 years, got sober a few years after the separation in AA. Mom was emotionally immature and did not stay home often. Overall, we were well taken care of and didn't suffer from neglect because of grandparents.

At 7, out of nowhere, my grandfather had a massive heart attack and died 3 days before Christmas. Things began to fall apart. Financially, the situation went from stable to very unstable, my grandmother was depressed and ill and my mother was absent. In an attempt to add male companionship to my life, the following year, I began to spend any time I could with a man my mother was dating, a drug addict and alcoholic, who molested me. No one believed me when I told.

Life after that was pretty routine, although the pall and sense of struggle and loss never really left. At 12, my mom moved home for good, where she would engage in daily drinking and the associated mele. My grandmother's health began to decline, in which case I stepped up to take care of her since Mom was emotionally absent or at work. She died when I turned 18, which understandably sent me into a depression.

What Happened: The following summer, I began to experiment with drinking with my friends. I never saw the point in "having a few" and always went into it with the idea of getting totally wasted. At one point, the first time I blacked out, I was crying and upset, and my best friend at the time was very comforting and understanding. It was a whole new experience- first of all, alcohol enabled me to release my feelings, which I couldn't, or wouldn't do sober, secondly, I was comforted and cared for, and third, I went into a black out, which seems cool and mysterious when you are 19. I liked the experience, oddly enough.

At 19, I moved away to go to the same college my sister attended. Now keep in mind, after spending my formative years taking care of my grandmother, hiding from my mother, and working, I had absolutely no idea who I was and what I wanted to be, and I also had no social skills. So college didn't exactly go as planned. The first semester, I hid in my room (earning a 4.0.) Second semester, after my sister left, I began to come out of my shell, with the help of alcohol. I began the binge drinking again. I continued the pattern until I met an older stable man, who I had a relationship with for a year.

Things Got Worse...After I ended that relationship, I was almost 21. I was attending a military training course in Texas, where we were allowed off post frequently, and the binge drinking returned. In the fall, when I got back home and to college, the roll did not slow. I turned 21 shortly afterwards, and discovered the joy that is going to the liquor store for yourself. I spent most of the year in the nearby city of my birth, at the bars. At the end of the year I withdrew from college with a 2.0 GPA.

I moved back to the city, into an apartment I couldn't really afford, with a job I didn't want to do because it interfered with my drinking. I remember doing shots at the bar on a Sunday afternoon and then going to work 11-7. Driving drunk was a recurring theme. The man I was in a dysfunctional "relationship" with was also a heavy drinker, and that is what my social life revolved around. Even when I wasn't beind "social" I still drank- a LOT. I would down bottles while staying at a friend's house when he was at work all day. At this point, the only job I could hold down was at a bar, where I could and did drink while at work.

Things Got Even Worse...In January 2003 I was arrested after a horrible fight with the man I was involved with. I had been drinking the entire day previously and was acting irrationally. Unfortunately, the charges stuck, so I had to go back to court over and over again to deal with the issue. We hired lawyer after lawyer, all of whom proved to be incompetent. On June 6, 2003, I was arrested at court for basically losing it. I had been awake for 36 hours and had taken at least 6 xanaxes (among other pills) the morning before court. (I had switched to pills, as I had the theory that if I was pulled over, I'd pass a Brethalyzer test that way.)

Moment of Truth: Waking up in jail, after a blackout, unsure of what had actually happened. I stayed in there for 26 days, which offered me a chance to sober up completely, get off pills, out of bars and into some sort of normal life routine. It wasn't rehab but it certainly helped. After that, I went to intensive outpatient rehab for several weeks and joined AA.

What Really Happens When You Get Sober: This is usually around 6:55 in a meeting that ends at 7:00 when a person is leading, so they take a cursory glance at the wristwatch and wrap it all up with a quick "then I got sober, met friends in AA, met my sponsor, worked the Steps, and now my life is complete! Thank you for allowing me to share." Well, thanks for sharing, but this doesn't really tell the newcomer what recovery is like. We all know what it was like using, but for some reasons most leads focus the energy on that part of the story...

Years One and Two: I will lump them together, because they were similar, both in terms of life events and recovery stages. I was very dependent on AA, in a good way. I needed several meetings a week. I attended therapy, but did not find it helpful. Interestingly enough, I have never been a relationship person...but my one and only long term relationship began at 3 months sober and lasted for about 2 years. It was unhealthy and I don't reccomend this approach. It just postponed me dealing with life feelings that I could have been learning to deal with in recovery instead of avoiding with a weak relationship. I went back to college part-time.

Recovery-wise, I had a firm grasp on the fact that I was an alcoholic, I had a Higher Power. Steps 1-2-3...done! I was perpetually working on my Step 4 during this time. It was seriously becoming a novel...

I had to go back to court and eventually ended up on probation for 18 months. This is an important part of my story, because, NO...everything does NOT get better after you get sober...everything does not always work out. Because of the terms of my probation, I was not allowed to go on deployment with my National Guard unit, a decision that paralyzed me with depression and self-loathing. Which leads me to...

Years Three and Four: I managed to get through life, albeit barely. I felt much guilt over my stateside status. This is one of those periods of recovery where you "get through." You aren't really happy, but you just do what you have to do- an important life lesson. During this time I graduated from college and, despite my stellar criminal record, got a pretty decent job. I felt overwhelmed with loneliness now that I was single and had moved about an hour away because of my job. I stopped going to meetings as often.

I did a formal 5th Step with my sponsor at the time...which for me was a very freeing experience. Then I went home to my new country residence and burned the thing in the backyard. I was one who felt a great release from doing the 5th Step. I felt free.

Year Five: This is when the good stuff started to happen. Everyone had come back from Iraq safely. My job was going well. I bought my house in 2007. I began to establish myself, as who I was as an adult. I was living where I wanted to live, I had a nice vehicle, a stable job and I was still moving up in the military despite my lack of combat. I had developed hobbies. I didn't automatically feel sad when I woke up in the morning.

As for Steps 7 and 8, I made amends by living them. The person I most hurt in my alcoholism was ME...all I could do for the others was to not act in the same manner anymore. Old friends who had been hurt or shoved away came back into my life with the help of Facebook and MySpace. We are all now on good terms.

Years 6 and 7: I began dating again, and had one relationship which ended pretty badly. I dealt with the depression pretty well. I began thinking seriously about long-term stuff: did I want to go back to school? Did I want to stay at my job? No real actions, lots of thoughts. Was handed an incredible amount of responsibility in the military and did well with it. My job was going well. I still felt somewhat isolated, but I knew what to do in those times and was getting better at...not letting things built up until I was completely depressed and felt "unmanageable." I did, and still do daily inventories of what I've done in each day to try to see where I'm right and wrong in my life.

Speaking of which, my father went through many medical trials and tribuations during this time, and I was able to be an adult daughter and be there to support him. This is something I'd have been incapable of while drinking.

Year 8: In fall 2010, I was informed that I was not eligible to re-enlist in the military...which brought about many changes in my life. I no longer had the identity of soldier, but I also no longer had an anchor to one geographic area. Who was I, who did I want to be now that I wasn't defined by this aspect of my life? For some reason, I began to feel very strongly that "this is the time." I applied to graduate school out of state, and although I was not accepted, it is the first in what will hopefully be many attempts to change my life for the better. This past year, I have traveled....spent far more time with my family...worked diligently to begin to pay off my debt...listened and processed things in thereapy...and that's just the beginning.

What's Ahead: I know I do not want to do my job forever. I can't just up and leave, however. So I am researching options where I can change careers successfully while still working as I complete education (if I choose to go that route.) I am still working hard to get out of debt, which I hope to accomplish by the end of summer. I am more social than I have ever been. I have even begun dating again. I'm no longer afraid to do something because I have a record. Some people will never accept me, some will. I have applied to the state for clemency- which, if approved, will erase my criminal record and further improve the quality of my life.

Things could always be worse, and I'm glad I made it out alive. I was truly depressed and suicidal when I was drinking, because I didn't care if I lived or died. Today I care. Today I'm grateful to be here. Today I don't hate myself because I've been arrested, or because I wasn't deployed, or for anything else. Today I know I can do pretty much anything, espeically after going through such a rigourous application for grad school. Today I can try for things and even if the answer is no, I am okay with that.

I guess that's the end!
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