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.