I very clearly remember the moment I realized that this time there was no turning back and I was really going to have to change. It was this day that the beginning of my relationship with recovery began.
I was lying on my bed at my aunt’s house. She lived on the North Shore of Kauai, so it was rainy and damp, and the sun had set just a few hours before. The withdrawals I was experiencing from my last binge back in Florida were the worst I had ever had.
My stomach and back were aching; I could hardly walk or even get up from the bed. The only thing I could get down was water. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so hopeless, sick, tired and depressed.
That was when my aunt appeared and stood at the foot of my bed. She looked at me in silence for a minute and then she said, All right, get up. We’re going to a meeting.
I adored my aunt and trusted her above all others, so I took her hand and she helped me up the steps and into the car.
I was sitting in the meeting, breathing in the smell of coffee and cake, the warm, wet wind blowing through the open windows, all the people smiling at each other and at me. The secretary was just reading the opening paragraphs.
I looked down at my hands, consumed with fears and doubts. How could I ever do this? How could I ever really stay sober? What about my friends back in my hometown? What would I tell them? How could I say no when they offered me drinks? What would my life be like now? What if I fail? HOW CAN I POSSIBLY STAY SOBER?
Right as I thought that, a stronger wind came up, and one of the metal AA slogan signs flew off of the wall and landed on the floor right next to my foot. It made a sound so loud I nearly jumped out of my chair. I looked down and my mouth dropped open when I read the words But For The Grace of God.
That’s when I was filled with a feeling of peace and a strong knowing that I was doing the right thing, and my Higher Power would help me when it came time to face my peers and my hometown.
Of course that was just the beginning. Even after the initial realization that I was going to join AA, I had moments of doubt. I was only 18, so others and myself often used that as an excuse to question whether I was an alcoholic or not.
But those first four or five months I was on what you’ll hear in the rooms as a “pink cloud”. I didn’t work the Steps, and I only went to about one or two meetings a week. Not a great idea! I don’t recommend that. I managed to stay sober for six months before I moved to my aunt’s house on Kauai, but it wasn’t as easy or as fun as it could have been if I was involved in the program more.
But what I would ultimately like to say about my experience starting recovery is that it’s a time of excitement, hope and great change. I often felt like I was starting on a brand new adventure and I had no idea where it would take me! It wasn’t easy to turn down drinks offered by my friends, mostly because I really wanted to fit in. But I would constantly take my mind back to when I was shivering and sick at my aunt’s house, barely able to move because of the withdrawals. I reminded myself of the hopelessness I experienced before admitting I was an alcoholic.
I reminded myself that I was now on the adventure of sobriety and recovery, and no drunken night could ever top that. I knew even then it wasn’t always going to be easy, but ultimately, it’s worth it.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.