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I began my drinking at age 16

I began my drinking at age 16, and within three years my life was going down-hill.  Once I got into college, drinking started to affect all areas of my life.  By 2010 I had been in detoxes, hospitals, counseling, and in trouble with the authorities.  Outside of these circumstances I was feeling more and more alone, detached, lost, and worthless.  It was a pitiful and demoralizing existence.  There were many times I would be determined to quit or control my drinking only to find myself with a drink in my hand once again. This cycle continued over and over for the last two years of my drinking as each spree got longer and closer together.  I was drinking/using pretty much every day not drawing a sober breath for several years.  By 2010 I was going on 3-8 day binges once I picked up that first drink.  These sprees would go until I could no longer physically consume alcohol.  I was broken, lost, frightened, and filled with despair as I entered yet another detox in April of 2011. While in detox I was offered the opportunity to go to NOVA for treatment.  This option was presented to me once before, but I refused.  With nothing left, I chose to go to residential treatment at NOVA. NOVA was the beginning of a life I could never have imagined and would have come short of dreaming.  While in treatment, I was for the first time, around people who I could truly relate with and who could relate with me.  I saw for the first time that I was not a terrible and... read more

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

A constant vague, yet overwhelming feeling of foreboding, mind-numbing depression and anxiety, a suicide attempt. These are just some of the legacies I have from years of booze and dope. Are there some good memories? Yes, but I have completely accepted the fact that they can never be recaptured. For so long I refused to believe that I was an out-and-out alcoholic. I therefore didn’t have to worry about the disease being progressive. At least not for me. Both my parents were alcoholics whose symptoms got worse with time, so I was too smart to fall into any kind of trap like that. It was just a matter of control, of keeping my drinking in perspective. I went to work almost every day, kept a roof over my family’s heads and food on the table. Sure, the hangovers were getting worse, in fact were a constant part of my life. But I could “handle it”. Gradually, though, the control started to slip away, eventually becoming nonexistent. Every day I would tell myself “I can drink today, just not so much. Like they say: Easy Does It”. But once I started, I had no control over how much I drank. I had as much as it took. Trying to fall asleep sober had become impossible. I had read somewhere about Maintenance Drinking and knew I might be in trouble when it became apparent that’s what I was doing.  It wasn’t about feeling good anymore, just trying to feel half-way normal. AA talks about surrender, and that’s what I finally did….to whiskey and beer. Alcohol had become my complete lord and... read more

My name is Kathy, I am an alcoholic and addict.

There was a time where those words brought denial, shame, and anger but today they are words of acceptance, grace, and serenity. Before I got sober my life was spinning further and further into chaos.  My marriage was a glob of secrecy, lies, and lack of trust.  My husband wanted a divorce; not out of lack of love but to protect himself from liability in case I hurt myself, others, or property. I quit my latest job before I was fired.  In a series of previous positions I failed because I couldn’t stay sober long enough to reach unrealistic goals.  I had gone back to school but failed to finish; ending up nine credits short because I let alcohol and the fear of success pull me down.  My finances were a mess.  Personal and familial relationships were tumultuous.  My self image was distorted and morose. During my first time at Nova I learned much about myself and my disease but made two critical mistakes.  I accepted my alcoholism on an intellectual level but not truly within my heart.  Secondly, I opened myself up but not completely.  Rather than practicing honesty, openness, and willingness I deferred to my old defense of lying by omission.  I had become skilled at giving just enough truth without revealing my true motivations and fears.  It seemed more comfortable than disclosure. Those mistakes insured relapse.  Four and a half months after leaving Nova I was back and broken.   I finally internalized the truth, I am a drunk.  I was more open and honest with others-and myself-than I had ever been in my life.  I went... read more