August 18, 2015 was the day I packed my bags and left my home in Georgia, headed to treatment for my first (and God willing, my last) time. Little did I know, that morning would be the last time I would, to this day, abuse the drugs or alcohol I was so chemically dependent upon.
Checking into Stepping Stone Center for Recovery that afternoon, I was full of nothing but fear and tears. Up until that day, I had been doing every drug in existence for more than half of my life.
This time, it was heroin that brought me to my knees, harder than ever. It became more important than any family event, holiday, relationship, and even my dignity. I became an absolute train wreck. Somehow, I still had my apartment, my car, and my family… but what most concerned me was the potential for my life slipping right through my fingers. I felt like I was close to the end. Anymore of this pain and I felt and all hope would be lost. I was losing my desire to live.
My first 12-step experience was inside the rooms at Stepping Stone. I won’t say that I enjoyed my first meeting (I was detoxing from heroin), but it eventually all made more sense to me and continues to this day. When I started coming to, I realized I no idea how to stay sober, and that I needed the people in the program. We would read “How It Works” from the literature, but I needed to be shown How It Works in real life.
I completed the treatment program at Stepping Stone, and when it was time to leave, I decided to move to an all-women’s halfway house in Florida. I had no idea what to expect, and once again came up with a head full of fear.
But this time, the fear felt healthy, and it wasn’t going to hold me back from me moving forward with my life.
I found a group of 12-step meetings and got some phone numbers. I wanted change and I wanted it fast, so I quickly reached out to women who had what I wanted. I found an ah-mazing sponsor who took me through the 12 steps.
The experience has been one I can’t entirely describe in words, but I will do my best. Going through the steps with my sponsor allowed me to love myself again. I was shown a purpose for all my pain. It may sound a little crazy, but I learned and became thankful that I am an alcoholic/addict!
Had I not known the addiction, I would not have known the recovery! The steps set me back on my path, and they led me into a spiritual life full of faith and meaning – keeping me going, one day at a time. The steps gave me a chance to reach out to women who feel as lost as I was that first day in treatment. I get to show them they too can recover from a dark and hopeless place, to a life of light and freedom.
Today, I suit up and show up. I have a roof over my head, a job (where I got a promotion!), and a family I am there for. I even have hobbies! Who would have thought, I would enjoy cooking? Most importantly, I have faith strong enough to conquer any fear that comes my way. Life isn’t always perfect, but I don’t have to drink or get high to cope with the problems I face. I am so happy that I have a network of sober friends and an amazing God to guide me through life today. Alone, I cannot do this, but together WE can.