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Old 04-29-2019, 08:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
Life is Grand
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,758

Surlyredhead/My Story

25 years ago , I walked into a treatment facility, more dead than alive. I was there as indigent, basically, I was homeless and had no money. I had one bag of belongings, everything I owned in the world, and it fit into one bag. I was so sick, my hair was like straw, my skin was red and peeling, if I coughed or sneezed, my nose would bleed, I was bloated and in a lot of mental and physical pain. I had two warrants out for my arrest, I had lost my marriage, I had also lost my Son, my family, my job, my license and everything I owned. I had moved from place to place 19 times in less than two years until I ended up in the streets of Detroit or in a shelter, if I could find one I had not been kicked out of for not being able to stay sober. I had been stabbed and it took 28 stitches to close my arm, I had a gun put in my face and I had been beaten black and blue more than once. I was tired, more tired than I could ever imagine being without losing consciousness. I wished that I would die more times than I could count, but I was too chicken to do it myself. I was 28 years old and totally worthless in my eyes. Then I ended up on the couch of someone who saw something in me that I did not see in myself, he took me to the Health Department for a referral to get into treatment. I walked into S.H.A.R. House on April 27th, 1994. My first day sober.

I stayed there for the 90 day inpatient treatment, not easy at first. I needed to learn the most basic life skills again....sleep at night, awake in the day. I had a job function and I had to be responsible, I had to follow rules and face some pretty hard truths. Somehow I managed to complete the program. It took over a month of detoxing to not sweat through my night clothes every night. It took two solid months to start to feel like a human again. It took much longer for my short term memory to come back. But I made it, 90 whole days. After I completed, I put in a proposal to stay there, I would live there and work with the newcomers, I would get a small stipend, but I would have a roof and I would be safe. Thankfully, they accepted me. I stayed 18 months total.

After that, I got into there shelter plus program, basically, a small apartment that I would pay 30% of my income for and I would need to attend aftercare groups. I found myself pregnant before I moved and I had my now 23 year old Son after I was in the apartment. We lived there for 5 years, sharing a bedroom. But it was ours. I raised my Son alone, it was not easy, but we made it. I eventually found a job making $6 an hour, but it was enough to take over my apartment. During this time, in the beginning, I had trouble sleeping, I would wake up feeling scared or sick, thinking about what I had let myself become, of things that had happened to me, or how I had lost my family etc. I could not go back to sleep, so I usually just got up regardless of the time. My Family was cautiously talking to me, but the trust was not there yet. I had to let them vent out there feelings to me and just take it, after all, I had put them and myself in that situation. As time went by, the trust returned and my Mom even told me she was proud of me! I also remember the first time I had woke up with that sick feeling in my stomach and I was able to say "Thank you God, that I am not that person anymore." and roll over and go back to sleep!

Over the years, I have spoken at a few schools about addiction. I was invited to speak at a S.H.A.R. Graduation, I have been a mentor and I give back whenever I can. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am in recovery. If someone actually tries to make me feel bad, I just say, "Are you actually trying to make me feel bad for being a success story? Who does that!"

The next years seem to have flown by, I got my license back, took care of my warrants, I got us a bigger apartment, got a better job and a car. Got an even better job, a better car and bought a house! Nothing big or fancy, but it is MINE. I was even able to buy my Son a small car on his 16th birthday, all by myself. He is now a Deputy Sheriff, and a GREAT person. He knows that I am in recovery and always has. He tells me how much he respects me and is proud of me.

Has it been easy, no. Is it worth it, ABSOLUTELY. I am the Daughter my Mom Deserves(my Dad is gone) I am a great Mom, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Employee and, if I do say so my self, a pretty Awesome Gal. I understand that I am one drink away from losing it all. I understand that my Sobriety has to come before everyone and everything, because if I lose my Sobriety, there is no more Cathy. I have found an inner peace that only comes from Sobriety, self forgiveness, and self love. I understand that I can only keep what I have, by giving it away. I understand that I must never forget and always be aware that Addiction is lurking around every corner, waiting to get me back. I refuse to fight Alcohol, it wins every time, the only way for me to win, is to stay out of the ring. I am truly powerless, and in knowing that, I am free.

Today, at 53 (no one thought I would make it to 30) I am 25 years Sober, who would have thought? If there is anyone who doesn't believe in Miracles, I am here to tell you, they happen, I am one of God's own.

Thank you all for helping me make it One More Day, Tears are flowing as I type, but they are Good Tears.

Gratefully, Cathy
Every Saint has a past and every Sinner has a future!
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