To be able to see the world clearly now is a very new and exciting experience for me! On October 29, 2014 I celebrated two years of continuous sobriety, it was the first time in two plus years since I was 14 years old and I am 53, so very cool. For anyone who thinks it has been too long for them or they are too old or it is too late, think again. I am here to tell you life can get better, some relationships can be repaired, and a new life awaits you if you want it. New experiences, new people, and new possibilities are waiting for you but it will take a commitment of working for it. Sometimes it will be challenging because the people who you think will support you end up running from you, but others will emerge as your biggest boosters.
I was so afraid to admit I could not stop alcohol and prescription abuse, and I did not and could not stop on my own. I did not know where to start. Eventually, I told someone close to me that I couldn’t stop on my own and I’m scared as to where this was going. I was blacking out at times and had a seizure. Eventually, I got myself into a 30 day program and was able to keep it going with the support of family and friends. I was so afraid to let my family down and was embarrassed at what my employer may say, and what people would think. Funny thing was, anyone that I told I had a problem and needed help was not surprised. People were very supportive of me and all knew for the most part I needed help. If I could go back in time I would have spoken to people earlier and sought out help sooner.
The support you receive from others in recovery is amazing. I realize I am not alone and not only can I receive support I can give it to others. Everyday, I give thanks that I am alive and can be a better person. My family can respect me and trust me. I am where I say I am, and I am doing what I said I was doing. I am able to run 5k charity races and support local non-profits. I ran for a citywide election and topped the ticket winning a 4 year term, something I always dreamed of doing!
As I move forward, I would like to be a leader in support of people and their families who are in need of help. I am deeply concerned that individuals are so embarrassed and feel they have nowhere to turn, so they do not seek out help. Unfortunately, when they do there may not be help available with lack of funding, resources, or no community support for people with addictions.
I want to work to remove the stigma associated with people in recovery and their families. To often, families do not want to talk about their loved ones struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, they look at it as a failure of the family. This disease can affect any family regardless of their position in the community. I find that if I talk with others in recovery and continue to offer help to others that anything is possible. I feel that even at the age of 53 anything is possible. I have recently changed jobs and may even run for another elected position in 2015. I am excited to be part of this project and hope that by me standing up and saying, yes I am in recovery, it may help remove the barriers of others in seeking help. I want to speak out in my community to raise awareness and funding resources for people needing support. I feel there is a new world out there and I look at the world with ‘new eyes.’