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 on to Terra, where more growth through counselors, staff, my sponsor, and others in recovery occurred.  I can’t stress enough how important others were and still are in my recovery.  They’ve taught me to be true to myself, love myself, trust others and learn how to live a fulfilling life in sobriety.  Conscious contact with my Higher Power strengthens and guides me on this path. The lessons have been valuable thus far, and as long as I stay sober I have a feeling I will keep learning and growing one day at a time.

I used to think that the promises were a lie; a lofty dream few realistically had a shot at.  Today, I believe.  Quickly and slowly, I see them materialize in my life and in the lives of those who surround me on our sober journey.  What joy, what serenity!