Community Conquers Isolation: My Story of Recovery from Alcoholism.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. 14.4 million adults in the United States suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (18 years and older, 2018 NSDUH). I am one of them. In 2014 I had been living in a haze of probably the worst case of alcohol addiction imaginable. Looking back, I am still shocked how quickly alcohol took over my brain, my body, and my soul. The complete powerlessness that I had over my addiction is something that I still, to this day, have trouble comprehending. I drank off-and-on over the years, having my first drink at fifteen, but in 2014 alcohol almost took my life, and wreaked a path of destruction for me and anyone who came close to me.
I drank all day, every day. If I stopped, I would go into a sickness that I could not bear. I ended up in the hospital, time and again; - not knowing what happened to me. I end up in jails, also not knowing what I had done. I had completely isolated myself from the world. Sometimes I would lose entire days to unconsciousness. This went on for what seemed like forever. I was absolutely broken, without hope, and I was out of options after my last hospital visit.
My “moment of clarity" was not just one moment. I honestly had a few moments of clarity, that were like puzzle pieces that came together on their own to push me forward to treatment. It was not easy. What was my first “moment of clarity”? My sweet son. My mom had allowed me to visit him. He looked at me and said, “mom, when are you going to get better and take care of me?”
Moment of clarity number two, a judge said to me while waiting on my sentence: “You are either going to die or end up in prison.”
I could not let either of these things happen. I missed my children and they deserved to have the real me back. I needed to fix everything that was broken in me. I went to treatment. I fell, slipped (relapsed), got back up. Slipped again. It was very, very hard. The process was unlike anything I ever had to endure. I could not give up. I had a lot of amazing people pushing me, little by little. It became the absolute greatest, most life-altering thing that I could have ever, ever hoped and dreamed of doing.
Looking back - when I was in active addiction – I lived the most horrific existence. I was not living at all. I was barely subsisting, and I thought all was lost. I could not be prepared for the life that I would be living today. On my road to recovery, I gained everything back that I had given away to my addiction.
I got my children back. A career. I have met the most amazing people and made the best friendships, and sober support. I got my family back as well.
Presently, I am thriving; promoting recovery and helping restore hope in others where they might be struggling themselves – with substance abuse issues. This is truly my passion, my purpose. This is where I am meant to be now.
I could go on and on about all that I have attained in my recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder. The most important thing, though, is that here I am at peace, and I am free.
In addiction I learned that I numbed all feeling, and that included happiness. In recovery, I can feel everything. I have learned the proper tools to cope with things that come along the way. I am worthy of recovery; I am worthy of this beautiful journey. It has taken years for me to say that.
The one thing that I can say to someone who is beginning this journey of recovery:
“You are worthy of recovery, and it is never too late to start over, never”.
Iva Sereno, BrightView Peer Recovery Support Specialist - in recovery since May 16, 2016
Image courtesy of: http://www.picserver.org/highway-signs2/a/addiction-recovery.html