Peeling The Onion

The darkest days of my mental illness and addiction were spent hopeless in a bathroom throwing up and frantically stuffing my mouth with food. My struggle with anorexia, bulimia, over-exercising, and compulsive and destructive behaviors began at too young of an age. I can remember that I took my first drink at the age of 12, and at age nine I began to realize that by not eating and exercising I could lose weight. I took all of my behaviors to the extreme, not knowing where the beginning or the end was. I lived a life of unconscious for a very long time. However, age 18 is when I began my journey of sobriety, and then at age 27 emotional sobriety. I am now 28, I have still more work to do, but I now realize my behaviors are a result of my beliefs of myself. I now make CHOICES...
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Saving Grace

Addiction was nothing new to my family. There's a long line of alcoholics and my parents had been through this all with my brother years before me. The first time my parents dealt with addiction, they lost their son. I lost my brother, my niece lost his father, a small community lost a beloved friend. He was the kind of person that lit up a room no matter how dark it was. A truly amazing human being. My moment of truth came as I sat on my bed, crying and alone, holding my brothers t-shirt. My boyfriend had been arrested and incarcerated the very day I found out we were going to be parents! In walked my niece, beautiful and innocent but with pain in her eyes. "It's okay if you miss daddy, I miss him too!" That moment, I decided my child would never have to feel that pain....
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The Day I Changed ...

There was a point when I went from being "dry" to being in recovery - a pivotal moment in my life. Until that day I had been in a 12-Step program, taking part, happy to be sober. But there was a nagging thought I frequently ignored. I felt that I was "unlucky" and that it was unfair others still got to party and I couldn't. In other words - I was a relapse waiting to happen. Then, one day - I had a moment of clarity - what some would call a spiritual awakening. It happened when I got real and said, "I CAN drink." I CAN have my old life back." But my higher power gave me this additional insight. "I cannot choose drinking and have my new life. It's one or the other." After that is was a simple decision - my old life ... or my new,...
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The “High Bottom” Drunk Who Mostly Drank Alone

I was a “high bottom” drunk and did most of my drinking alone. Most people I knew had no idea that I even had a problem. But, I had a problem, for sure. For years, I used to go home and get drunk alone in my apartment. There were some events that were bottoms, in retrospect. I got drunk at dinner with friends and acquaintances. It was embarrassing for them. They had never seen me like that. I knew they were embarrassed for me, and it caused me shame. When I told some people close to me, they told I was mistaken, that I could not be an alcoholic. But yes, even if you get drunk on two to three glasses of wine, you can still be a drunk. (If you drink like that, by yourself, with the sole purpose of knocking yourself out, every night, for 10 years straight…...
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From Recovery House to Buying a House

I am a person in long-term recovery and what that means to me is I have been drug-free for over 8 1/2 years. I started using at age 12 and couldn’t stop. I found heroin at age 17 and my life started to go down hill. Nothing was important to me but using drugs, not even my daughter. I was in and out of treatment for years until I finally threw my hands up and gave myself to recovery. The life I was living was disgusting. I was done with the pain and the shame of addiction. I am a proud wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend and CEO of The McShin Foundation (Virginia’s Leading Recovery Community Organization). I came through McShin's Female Housing Program with nothing but about $40,000 in debt and wreckage. Living in that house years ago I never would think my life would be where it is...
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How Addiction Saved Our Family

OK, I knew he drank, but don’t all teenagers? Then came the drugs. He’s finding himself. Experimenting. That’s what I believed, sitting and watching from my corporate management job. I take care of 40 employees. How is it that I can be so disconnected from my own family? When my perception started to clear, I had to face it. My son is addicted to drugs and alcohol. Off to Al-Anon I went. That’s what people do, right? They will tell me how I can get him sober. During my first meeting, I listened to a woman tell of how she set up healthy boundaries for her relationship with her adult daughter. She recounted for us how they bake and share such wonderful experiences. Wait, bake? My life is completely out of order. I immediately wanted what she had. After the meeting I approached her to see how to get it....
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Thriving in Recovery

I was a lost soul growing up, mediocre at school and sports and deeply ambivalent about my future. Middle school brought painful bullying and crippling anxiety. In 10th grade, some of the “popular kids” found out I was on ADHD medication and convinced me to crush one of my pills and snort it with them. Although terrified, I snorted the crushed powder and felt the greatest rush I had ever experienced. I progressed to abusing alcohol, weed, cocaine and pills. Kicked out of college after one year, life unraveled, and soon I was stealing money from my parents and selling drugs to support my daily cocaine habit. After intensive residential rehab, I got clean and am now one of millions of Americans living in long-term recovery. I've been fortunate to help many others who struggle. Freedom from addiction is possible, and I can assure you that life gets better in...
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Katrina’s Story

I’m a person with lived experience, mental illness and addiction. I've been over nine years clean, and it was the toughest thing I've ever had to do. I was addicted to Methadone, taking lethal amounts everyday. From passing out behind the wheel on the interstate and hitting a tractor trailer, to losing everything and everyone I loved, and eventually becoming homeless. I know what it feels like to have lost all hope, feel alone, and that no one understands, not to mention the judgement and isolation that comes with being an addict and having a mental health illness. I felt so alone that I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. I describe the pain as if I was on the top of a burning building with no way out and I only had two options – do I stay and burn to my death or do I jump!? Addiction nearly ended...
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New Beginnings

I came into recovery following several suicide attempts. I was depressed. I felt like I was a complete failure, as a parent, an employee, daughter, sister and member of society. I was psychologically dependent on alcohol and hated that I was. I wanted to control it, but ended up in an abstinence group where I learned the seriousness of my illness and that it was progressive, something I think I knew deep down. I threw myself into recovery, and started working with others like me. I have helped women to rebuild their lives and have focused particularly on women with children. I have watched women rebuild their lives and handle problems that they couldn't handle before. I was privileged to be a part of it. I watched my own children blossom and flourish as they no longer had to live in fear that they would lose their mum. I have...
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One Day at a Time

I am Suzy and I have been sober for almost four years. I know I cannot give my life story in 1,000 words, but I can say that my life has been a roller-coaster with many bumps along the way. My story begins like many other addicts: I had dreams and ambitions and never thought I would become an alcoholic, but 20 years of my life became ruled by the bottle. We all know, as addicts, how sad our lives become. I have yet to meet an addict who loves his or her life. My life has changed dramatically in these last four years, all for the better. I have control over my life now, and it has been a very rewarding, yet an emotionally exhausting process. I often get asked “how do you remain sober?” and “how do you stop yourself from drinking?” and my answer will always be...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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