Q: When did you realize it was time to get sober?
A: When I had lost everything I ever owned, including my children and family. When I was homeless living in public bathrooms and trap houses. When my family completely cut me off. When my mom filed for eviction and got a restraining order against me. When I realized I needed to make my father proud.
Q: Did your friends and family try to help you get sober? A: Yes, for years, but I didn't want it. They finally stopped enabling me and stopped any and all communication with me.
Q: What does your sobriety mean to your family? A: There's nothing more in this world that could possibly come close to meaning more to them than sobriety. After 30 years of severe alcoholism, drug addiction, and ultimately being given less than 30 days to live due to cirrhosis, he [my father] overdosed and died in my arms. Banyan Treatment Center saved my life, and if I am not sober, then not only will I not have myself or family, but they won't have themselves or me either. Lack of sobriety would destroy their souls.
Q: What does your sobriety mean to you? A: Sobriety means a future, a successful future. It means that my two sons get to have their mother back. My mother gets to have a daughter for the first time in 14 years. My brothers get their sister back. Most importantly, I get to find out who Jamie is for the first time. I walked into Banyan not knowing anything at all about the real me. Now I get to meet and experience all the amazing qualities about myself. Sobriety and recovery are what I live for. Anything that I put before recovery I will lose, so sobriety couldn't possibly mean more to me. Because of it, I can start to understand and feel feelings today, the good and the bad. It allows me to grieve my father's death today. There is nothing that I wouldn't do for sobriety.
Q: How has sobriety improved your life? A: I have clarity today. I can see the damage that I've caused, and I can work on fixing those mistakes. My relationship with my children and family has improved immensely. My education has improved because now I am finishing college. My bipolar, depression, and anxiety has improved. I don't need nearly as many medications. My overall health has improved. I'm not under or overweight anymore. I can eat today. I can sleep today. I can make real friends and be a real friend today.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your journey? A: Turning my life and will over to the care of God. I have severe rejection issues, so it was very hard to give my all to something. Taking my guard down played a huge part in accomplishing that.
Q: Do you encounter triggers for relapse? How do you handle this? A: Absolutely. I call my sponsor, family, or sober support. I go to a meeting. I read my old journal entries. I go to the gym, read, and/or meditate. I think about the last 48 hours before I entered treatment.
Q: What’s one of the biggest benefits of sobriety? A: Understanding that I have a God that will guide me through everything and never let me down, as long as I continue to accept what he will always be offering.