An inside look from a resident’s perspective
(Mary J. was a resident of Tara’s program. She graciously agreed to share her experience, strength and the message of hope in this issue of our newsletter)
My name is Mary and I am an alcoholic. Those words flow from my mouth on almost a daily basis now, but for years I refused to acknowledge or accept that I was a woman dying from the disease of addiction. I came to Tara desperate for change in my life, and I am so grateful for the new life I found since beginning recovery there.
My story is very similar to other stories I have heard from women in recovery. I began using drugs at age fourteen, and started drinking at 15. I never quite “fit” anywhere as a kid, and I discovered drugs and alcohol did everything for me that I couldn’t do for myself at that age. I learned while at Tara that addiction is a progressive, fatal disease. There was never a recreational phase with my drinking. By my early twenties I was a daily drinker. This made life a little difficult. Things like school, work, and normal relationships became increasingly difficult to handle. I can’t say when or where I crossed
the line, but at some point I no longer drank to feel normal, I drank to function.
As my disease progressed my life fell apart. At points I was unemployable and I carried huge amounts of guilt and shame for the way I lived my life. I did not want to accept that alcohol was ruining my life. I thought if I knew how to manage my life better, I would not have to drink so much. My family tried to help and got desperate to save me. Most of my friends chose not to watch me kill myself with alcohol and I constantly felt desperate and alone.
In early 2011 I was going to lose yet another good job because I could not stop drinking. So I panicked a little and decided to check into a detox facility. While there, I agreed to go to Tara. I put in my thirty days, and really wanted to turn my life around. I did not follow through with the aftercare plan they gave me. I did not continue to go to meetings. I did not change people, places, and things. I did not get honest about still wanting to drink every minute of every day. I went through the motions to appease my family and thought deep down, this time I will control myself. This time will be different. And so within a week of leaving Tara I picked up a drink, and had the worst four months of my life. It is very interesting what drinking again with the knowledge of my disease did to me. I knew the moment I picked up a drink again it would only get worse, and it did.
So I began recovery on October 1, 2011. I returned to Tara to repeat my thirty days, and stayed in the TR program for another four months. I can’t tell you how broken I was coming back through that door. I was hopeless. My family was done with me. The man I had spent the last eight years of my life was done with me. I was a 28 year old college drop out with nothing in life. Addiction had taken everything from me, and I was broken on the inside, yet still I wanted nothing more than to drink.
This time around I got brutally honest about how much I still wanted to drink, about how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin every second I was sober, about all the things that I had been too afraid or ashamed to say until this point.
What a huge difference that honesty has made in my life today. I got a sponsor and started working the steps right away. I read everything I could get my hands on about my disease. I listened to other women share their stories and began to hear bits of my own story in theirs. I became open to having a relationship with God. I started getting better. I began to understand and own that I was not a bad person trying to be good; I was a sick woman trying to get well. I owe everything I have in life today to recovery, and I would not have a life of recovery without Tara treatment Center.
Today my life is nothing like it was in 2011. I still go to meetings on a regular basis. I still have the same sponsor, and we still work the same steps. I still work on that relationship with God. I have the most amazing fellowship and friendships with other recovering people. And most important, I have not picked up a drink. I have a peace in life today that I never thought was possible. AA has taught me a new way to live. Once I knew how to stay sober one day at a time, I learned how to enjoy life sober one day at a time. I am so grateful to Tara treatment center for showing me the way to recovery, and so blessed to have such a good little sober life.