A Wild Ride Through the Mud Turns In To Hope and Happiness
My name is Ashley K., I am a recovering addict. I have been sober for 2.5 years. My life is pretty great for the most part. But it wasn’t always that way.
I grew up in Southern California, with two parents, neither of whom are addicts or alcoholics. I grew up in church, I am the oldest of three kids, and I grew up on a military base. My father was in the Marines, so you can guess that my home life was pretty structured and strict. We went to church every time the doors were open, and I went to church school all of my life. You would think that I would grow up to be a successful, level-headed human being. That is not the case.
From a very young age I can remember not being okay with Ashley. I didn’t like the way I looked, I didn’t like my clothes, I felt I never fit in anywhere and I always wanted to be someone else. At sixteen years old I found alcohol and weed, and I fell in love. They made me feel like I was the prettiest, skinniest, funniest person in the room. My friends did not feel the same way. I can tell you that I was a blackout drinker from day one. But I loved every moment of it.
At sixteen I couldn’t get my hands on anything when I wanted, so I just did it whenever I could.
But at the age of eighteen, I moved out of my parent’s house and went wild. I did as much as I could, of whatever there was, every day. Weed, alcohol, pills, meth. If it was there, I was going to do it.
Within eighteen months I was homeless, strung out, miserable and alone. I decided to go to rehab for the first time. Mainly to get away from the people I had been hanging out with, and to get some much-needed rest. I stayed for 28 days, but continued to take pills and have an affair with a married man. Needless to say I was not ready yet, but at the time, I didn’t know that.
After rehab I went to my first halfway house. They told me to get a Big Book and read it, get a sponsor and work the 12 steps, and to help others. I went to meetings to check out guys and socialize; I fooled around and didn’t listen in meetings; and I changed sponsors a bunch of times, because that way, I never had to actually do any work… I did not stay sober.
I ended up getting pregnant and moving in with a very abusive man and using through my whole pregnancy. They told me that I was powerless (which I did not believe) and that I needed a God of my understanding to tap into a Power that could keep me sober. What I heard was, “You need to give up your life to a God that is ready to punish you for your sins and live a boring sober life.”
I was not going to do that. So I stayed sick and powerless and used during my pregnancy and stayed in this abusive relationship. FOR SIX YEARS.
Six years of misery. Six years of loneliness. Six years of going from domestic violence shelter to back to my ex.
Six years of using every day, as much as I could to numb the pain. And it stopped working, and eventually I tried to kill myself. In these six years I had another baby, and dragged both of my beautiful children through the mud with me.
There were moments of sobriety in this time. At one point I had seven months, but I always ended up going back to the drugs and alcohol to cope with my life.
On November 11, 2015, something changed. I had been relapsing for months, I was once again alone and miserable, and I knew I was going to die. I decided to check back into a halfway house, and try this thing one more time, but this time to do everything that the people in this program suggested. Go to meetings, work my steps with my sponsor, help others, and be of service.
It was not easy. Actually, some days in the very beginning, I really didn’t think I would make it. But I used my tools – reaching out, finding someone who needed help, sponsoring others, chairing meetings, praying. It actually worked!
In my first year of sobriety, my ex served me with termination papers and tried to terminate my rights to my children, my best friend died from an overdose, I lost numerous people to this disease, and did I mention my children live in Utah and I live in Arizona? But guess what? I got through all of that sober! With my family in recovery, and the tools in this program, I have not had to use.
I also had a baby in my first year of sobriety, got married to my best friend (who is also in the program) and have gotten to see lots of people grow!
Today, as I write this, I am currently undergoing a miscarriage. This is been one of the most painful things I have endured in recovery, And I know for a fact that I would not have been able to get through this without my recovery family and the tools I have learned in the program.
I cannot say that I don’t ever think about using or drinking, because for me that would be a total lie. But I can tell you that even when those thoughts come, am I SO GRATEFUL to be clear-headed enough to THINK and not just react.
My husband and I currently run a sober living house. We live in a cute, humble little home, and we own a car. I get to go see my older two children every few months, and they know that mommy is a recovering alcoholic, and they are proud of me. Our beautiful daughter never has to see either one of us loaded, as long as we keep doing this deal to the best of our ability.
I have seen so many people grow in to amazing human beings through this process. I have a bunch of wonderful friends who I call family today, and who would be there for me if I ever needed ANYTHING – and I get to be there for them. I couldn’t say that a few years ago.
If you want to get sober, but can’t seem to figure it out, I get it! Stop trying to figure it out and keep it simple. Find some meetings to go to, find a sponsor, do the 12 steps, and start helping other people, and get tapped into a Power greater than yourself. It will save your life, and you are so worth it! If no one has told you that they love you today, I LOVE YOU.
Ashley K. Recovered Addict