Recovery Hero of the Week:
Shirl Martin


Sober Recovery Expert Author

"I truly believe that I was trying to kill myself with alcohol poisoning, just to end all of the pain."

Age: 27
Administrative Assistant
Sober since December 2011
Currently living in Wilmington, DE

Looking back now, I realize that I have been different all my life. Even though I did not start drinking until my late teens, I always felt that something was not quite right in my life. Ever since I can remember—being 3, 4, 5 years old—I felt different. Isolated, alone, etc. Which never made any sense to me back in those days because I had a great family life. Presently, this makes sense to me, because I was born an alcoholic—I just did not know it!

Anyway, despite having a good family life, I had a very painful childhood. Without going into specific details, I was bullied, harassed, ignored by other kids. I never made any friends. As hard as I tried, I just could never seem to. This made my early pre-teen and teenage years a literal living hell. In addition to all of the natural hormone changes and angst, I was EXTREMELY depressed far beyond normal teenage depression.

Somewhere around age 17, I met a 21-year-old guy and we began dating. (Yes, my mother approved of this.) Because he was old enough to drink, our relationship introduced me to alcohol. And so began the greatest friendship of my life. Jack Daniels and I hit it off right away. He took away all of that pain and loneliness and depression.

Read our hero Shirl Martin's story and be inspired today!

In the beginning, I was a light social drinker. I guess we all start out that way. And then I turned 21 and was able to purchase my own liquor. I no longer had to bribe guys, or beg borrow and steal to get my booze. Now I could just walk right into the store and get anything I wanted. Sadly this is what I did for the next 3 years of my life. I neglected bills, ran up credit cards and put myself about $15,000 in debt—all because of alcohol.

Physically, I was entirely dependent. I started drinking at 9 a.m. and kept on until I passed out every single night. Somehow I managed to keep my job. I'm not sure how but it’s probably because I had a desk job and could hide most of my behaviors behind the computer monitor!

Some time around October in 2011, I decided that I might have a drinking problem, so I was told to try and quit for 30 days and see how I felt. This I did with no problem, so naturally I thought, "I'm not an alcoholic, I can handle it now!" which then began my last and worst downward spiral in all of my drinking career. By Christmas I was just a wreck. I drank 24/7 and hid from my family. My boyfriend (who, by the grace of God, is still with me today) began to make comments to me about my drinking, but he never pushed it too far.

A week after Christmas I had my very last drink. I drank so much that I got sick, and after I got sick I proceeded to drink some more. I truly believe that I was trying to kill myself with alcohol poisoning, just to end all of the pain. It was a horrible, horrible experience.

I do not remember the next details, my boyfriend filled me in on them the next day. Apparently I grabbed the car keys and headed down the apartment stairs (three flights of stairs, to be exact) and fell head first down two of them. I somehow miraculously got up without anything broken or bleeding and he brought me back inside our apartment. I began to cry. And he said, "You have a serious problem with alcohol and you need to get some help. It hurts to see you like this."

I will never forget the look of pain on his face at that moment. I never want to cause anyone that amount of pain ever again.

The next day I went to my first AA meeting. As much as I didn't want to go, I forced myself. I forced myself for 3 months to go, even though I hated them.

Eventually, I started to like the meetings, even love them. Now, I look forward to going to them 3 to 4 times per week. I have made true friends in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Today I live one day at a time, and I pray every single day and thank God for being alive. I have healthy relationships today, and I am no longer angry at the world!

I hope if there is someone out there who is new, in pain, and struggling, that something in my story gives you some hope and strength. Thank you for letting me share my story.

Would you like to be featured in our Recovery Hero of the Week series? Send in your story (500–1000 words) to [email protected]com and you might just be selected as our next featured hero. Thank you for spreading the message!

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