SUBMIT YOUR STORYSUBMIT
I Knew It Was Time to ChangeI do this one day at a time and sooner rather than later- you will have some time sober. Love yourself and be gooder than yesterday!
The Moment I Quit Drinking, I Was Born Again
I wasn’t my true self. People lost trust and respect for me. I lied to cover up my addiction. I stole money for my next drink. I carried bottles of hard liquor in my purse so I could have enough to drink, but it was never enough. I was homeless. I lost my apartment because I didn’t want to pay rent. I couch surfed. I remember waking up at Anchorage Safety Patrol (formerly known as CSP). I thought I was in Anchorage jail again. I had served time at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center for my 2nd DUI. With my 1st DUI, I was so ashamed to be seen at Hiland I requested for an ankle monitor which was granted to me. I had to rent a breathalyzer machine, call Anchorage Police Department before I left for work and before I left work to go home. I was lost. I was miserable. I was happy when I had a drink in my hand, but not happy that I had another black out drunken experience. I couldn’t even tell you how many of those I had. I lost an amazing boyfriend because I was hurting him from drinking. I chose alcohol over him and even over my kids. I couldn’t take care of my kids like a normal parent. I was too selfish with my time. I hated myself. I had a love/hate relationship with alcohol.
I was ordered by the judge in court for me to go to treatment. I had several different options for different treatment centers. I waited to get into Cook Inlet Tribal’s treatment program but the wait was too long. Even tho I wasn’t ready to go to treatment, I still had to go otherwise I’d have to serve time for non-compliance. I decided then to go to Jet Morgan’s Treatment Program. I remember I lied in my assessment because I didn’t want to do residential treatment. I knew if I gave true answers that they would have to put me in a residential treatment. Jet Morgan’s, according to my assessment, required me to attend outpatient treatment 3 days per week. I remember my attitude was, “Nobody will make me quit drinking, not this place, not even the judge.” My first night of treatment, I walked out with a changed attitude. My instructor said, “When you get home tonight, I want you to look in the mirror. I want you to pretend you are looking at someone else. I want you to ask yourself, ‘Do you like what you see? Do you like the lifestyle of this person?” I closed my eyes pretending I was looking at myself. That was the moment I realized how much damage I’d done because of alcoholism. I realized how much hurt and pain I had caused within my family, work, and myself. I decided I was done. I called my then-12-year-old son, “I’m calling to say I am sorry for all the hurt I’ve caused you. I’m calling to let you know I quit drinking. All those times you tried to speak to me and I acted like I didn’t hear you or cared, I heard you. I heard everything you said. It helped me to be closer to quitting. Thank you for not giving up on me.”
I wrote a book about my experience of domestic violence, not receiving the counseling I needed because I did not want to run into another person who would not understand me or my culture or how to help me. Our traditional ways were banned by the missionaries. I wrote about how I turned to alcohol for security and how over time it became an addiction. I wrote about my experience at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, I wrote about treatment, I wrote about my “aha moment” to quit. I have been sober since January 5, 2012. I love my sobriety. I am real, as my husband says. I help people with many different things. Sometimes I raise funds to help those in need.
Today I feel like since the moment I quit drinking I was born again. I began to get to know myself all over again. I also realized that I had spiritual gifts as a healer. Since my sobriety I have received Traditional Healing (our ancient ways of healing) for 6 months. Traditional Healing was much more effective to me than the Western ways of counseling. This is how our ancestors received healing. Today I do healing work with all walks of life. In the Western sense people like myself would be known as a “Shaman”. I do not use the word because it scares people, so I refer to myself as a Traditional Healer or Tribal Healer.
Wake Up, Show Up, Don’t Give Up, Sober is Doper
In my addiction, it was the biggest misrepresentation of who I truly was- as a human being, son, brother, father, and friend. I wore layers of masks to hide to the world who Jason really was. I dwelled in self-pity and used shame to keep myself stuck in my addiction, in a pit. I got complacent and comfortable in this pit and felt normal only when I used a substance to help me avoid my LIFE.
In the 15 years I struggled with my addiction, I had 4 years sober, where I didn’t pick up, but I wasn’t living a recovered life. So when things in my life turned, I relapsed. In the past 4 years, I went hard in the paint. I went to 7 different treatment facilities. I still wasn’t ready. I was dying and had felt like I had no purpose other than staying stuck. I was at the point where this lifestyle of avoidance and my addiction was progressing to dangerous points in my life. I was drinking about a gallon of vodka a day and mixing drugs into the occasion. I needed to change my position in life.
I went to a service at my church and heard a sermon that changed my life. It brought me to the heart of God. If I want to change my position in life I needed to change my principles. I was tired of being stuck. I wanted to live a life that God intended me to live. I decided to check myself into a treatment facility 13 Jan 2017. This was not a typical program this was an eight-month-long work/therapeutic based program, and it changed everything for me by the grace of God. I am not sober, I am grinding daily for recovery. There is a difference.
I have eight months in recovery. I mentor others with the message God has built in me. Life is still life and it is ever fluid but I have the ability to sit with it. I stay teachable with experience and understand. I am going to be ok and even when life is not. I started my own recovery brand (SoBur Supply Co.), which is more like a movement, to help change the stigma others may have with addicts and addiction. I am living a life now that God intended me to live and my grind is to help others see/feel/share that it is possible and to believe in themselves. Love is going to free us, not shame, guilt, or punitive measures. I wake up- show up- don’t give up- SoBur is Doper!
I want to thank my family and friends for the support and love to help me get to this place in my life. I want to thank CITC Recovery Services their beautiful programs and staff, who truly love those they help.
I Love and Trust Myself Again
In one year, I survived extreme violent trauma, a family crisis, and the death of my father. I was left to pick up the pieces of my soul, but I had no healthy coping skills. I turned to alcohol and drugs to numb my deep pain, PTSD, and sorrow. I also suffered from bulimia. My addictions caused so many new problems. Worst of all, I grew to hate myself and I thought I’d never be able to recover.
After almost a decade of living in fear, pain, and lies- I came to a turning point. I knew that if I continued this way, I would lose everything, including my life. I went to a 12-step meeting and decided that I would do everything suggested for one year and if my life wasn’t better in a year I would go back to using. I did the opposite of my first thought for at least six months, since I knew my brain wasn’t serving me. I showed up when I said I would. I led meetings. I worked the 12-steps in twelve months. I had a sponsor and sponsored others. I branched out to find authors, speakers, musicians, and gurus who had a message I resonated with. And I didn’t pick up…one day at a time.
Today, life is un-fucking-believable! I’m nearing six years clean and sober. I have two children who have never seen me high. I own two businesses that are both dream jobs of mine, as a Singer and an Empowerment Coach! My life today is dedicated to helping others heal in the ways that I have. Best of all, I love and trust myself again. Life is beautiful!
You are divinely worthy of seeing how amazing your life can be. Give yourself a chance to remember who you came here to be. You CAN recover!
Recovery is a Beautiful Thing
My name is Wesley, and I am a person in long-term recovery. What that means for me is that I have not used a mind-altering substance since February 6th, 2013. I was actively addicted to drugs, alcohol and a lifestyle of crime for 12 years. I lived to use and used to live. My life in addiction revolved around getting, using or finding ways to get drugs. I was homeless, hopeless and jobless. I found myself in detox, running scared but desperate for something different. After spending 8 days in detox I decided to go to a long-term residential treatment program on a pig farm in the middle of nowhere.
Two months into treatment the Federal Marshals came and arrested me and took me to jail for a warrant I had. I fought from jail to go back to treatment. About a month later the judge granted me permission to go back to the pig farm. This pig farm became the battle ground in which I fought my inner self and got down to the causes and conditions, the reasons why I used. It was not easy, sometimes taking life one minute at a time. I had lots of ups and downs. I wanted to run, but I made the decision to try this new found life without substances for one year; if I didn’t like it I could always return to the misery of addiction. I could finally look at myself in the mirror and slowly I started to enjoy life without drugs and alcohol.
The treatment center required me to find a sponsor and work the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous before I graduated. I rebuilt relationships with my family I had destroyed in my addiction; I learned how to live life on life’s terms. Upon graduation, I was accepted into a sober living program while I waited to go to court for sentencing for my case. At sentencing, I received credit for the time I spent in treatment and was sentenced to another year in jail. I felt let down, but I was not going to give up. I knew everything happened for a reason and this was only a part of my journey.
After being released from jail I continued to do the next right thing- I stayed clean, I attended meetings and church, I surrounded myself with others in recovery that I looked up to. I was determined not to let my past determine my present. I was accountable to not only myself but also my family. I was just recently released from supervised state probation. I currently work for an organization which helps those struggling with addiction and I was recently promoted to Supervisor. I get to show up and positively impact people’s lives. Today I advocate publicly for recovery whenever and wherever I can, because when the stigma is removed, and the love, hope and success are highlighted instead of the suffering, drama and tragedy, recovery is such a beautiful and inspiring thing, to me.
My Life Changed Overnight
My name is Keith and this October I will be seven years sober. My life before recovery consisted of me drinking all night and trying to have enough alcohol to last me until the liquor store opened at 8 a.m. the next morning. The turning point for my addiction was when I started hearing the voice of my deceased brother who committed suicide several years before.
During the time I’ve been sober, I have coached our local high school basketball team for five years, I have been on the village council for two terms, village corporation board for one term and on the local church board for two terms. Life has been so fulfilling since I’ve decided to walk away from my addiction. It literally happened overnight. My faith in Jesus Christ has transformed my life. I reflect on what my life was as an addict and what it is now that I’m sober and I feel like I’m looking at two different people.
Edna Towarak’s Story
My new life started 8 months ago. That is the day I gave up drinking alcohol and started my journey to recovery. After years of addiction, I landed in the Emergency Room after drinking way too much and unfortunately, this was not my first alcohol-related trip to the ER. The look of concern and fear on my son’s face as doctors worked to get me back to health sparked a call to action for me. I knew at that very moment, I could no longer put my family through this chaos anymore. I have not had a drink since.
I wish I could say it has been easy. The decision to stop is one thing but the reality is, I am still an addict craving alcohol and I have had to fight daily to overcome the cravings. I do it because I have no desire to go back to my old life. It was an awful way to live and even more awful to know that the people closest to me had no trust in me. I used to tell myself I was only hurting myself but that was a lie and I knew it. My husband and children were being impacted in big ways. I had lost several jobs and could no longer hide my addiction. It feels so amazing to live a life with no more secrets and shame.
My new life without alcohol is awesome and to see how happy it makes my family watch me live a sober life is perhaps the best part! I now own a successful business and have a truly meaningful quality of life. I broke the cycle of addiction in my family and have high hopes it ends with me.
Both of my parents struggled with addiction and looking back now, I realize alcohol impacted my life in ways I never considered. My hope is that others consumed in the cycle of addiction know there is a way out, there is help and that a better life is possible. There are several forms of support and several ways to stay on your recovery journey, don’t stop searching and trying.