I got drunk for the first time at age 13 at a teenage drinking party in Avalon, NJ. There was a large punch bowl filled with grain alcohol jungle juice and I was eager to try alcohol, as it was a constant in our household growing up. I wanted to be cool and fit in – feel a part of. But it was never the taste that made me chase alcohol, it was the effect – the buzz. The effect that it produced in me is one that I loved and looked forward to. When I tried cocaine at age 16 for the first time – it was euphoric. And that combination of alcohol and cocaine together, it was like BAM — I’ve arrived! Within a few years, I was dating the local cocaine dealer and my usage increased. My 20s were a bit of a blur and wild, and by 30 I had become a “recreational” weekend cocaine user and daily drinker. I also had a thriving career, so I was considered a high-functioning alcoholic. I was able to make my weekend drug use and daily drinking work within my lifestyle, as I only hung out with others that drank and used the way I did. I thought I was your typical party girl and by age 32, I had racked up my first DUI. I had also moved over 22 times during these years and would keep jobs for 2-3 years until I knew they’d find me out. I was able to maintain pretty well, but I knew I had a problem, I just didn’t really care. Alcohol and cocaine were the two things that made me feel normal and happiest. They were my solution.
In November 2003, I was drunk and typing in my journal about how messed up my life was. I knew I needed help, but I was too scared to ask anyone. A few months later, at age 37, I received my 2nd DUI in San Diego – a town I had been living in for the past few years – and sitting in that jail cell for 11 hours really made me think that I needed to do something different. In May 2004, urged by my attorney, I walked into an AA meeting. I left that meeting and quicker than you can say alcoholic, I went out and drank for a week – during that week I had my moment of clarity. My first real A-HA moment; I realized that everything bad that had ever happened to me during my life was from drinking and drugging. I figured I had nothing to lose and that maybe I’d want to give the sobriety thing a try. So, that’s what I did. I had heard Hope in that first meeting and I clung onto that Hope and walked into recovery with complete blind faith. I had no idea what to expect as I knew nothing about sobriety. I got sober the AA way; 90 meetings in 90 days. I got a sponsor, I worked the steps and I did what the woman in recovery told me to do. I didn’t want anyone in my family or corporate life to know what I was doing, so treatment wasn’t an option for me. I’m grateful I got sober the way I did and I’m so appreciative of the Fellowship where I got sober. I wouldn’t change a thing. AA doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s just what worked for me.
I’ve been able to live life today free from the bondage of alcohol and drugs. I don’t hang out in seedy places, I don’t get DUIs, I don’t wake up in stranger’s beds and I don’t have to wonder what happened the night before and who I pissed off. I have been able to get married in recovery and share my journey with someone else who gets me and who is also in recovery. I rescued my constant companion dog, Lucy, and she brings me so much joy. I have been able to maintain and make new friendships – I get to live and participate in my life today. The freedom I have today is just amazing and the fact that I get to live my life today without lying, manipulating, cheating and stealing is all just gravy to me. I am just so happy that I don’t HAVE to drink today. I am a strong supporter of AA and helping others and being of service. I am grateful I don’t need a drink to manage my life and that I get to have choices today – healthy choices on who I want to be, not who alcohol and cocaine want me to be.
That drunken journal entry turned into a Memoir that I recently launched via Kindle, “Last Call, A Memoir”. It’s a story of my experience, strength and hope. My hope is that I can help someone – anyone – that may be able to relate to my life as a “social party girl” and realize that they too have a chance at a better life. A life where they will be able to wake up in the morning and have dignity, integrity and self-love – because that’s what living a clean and sober life has given me. I also have a blog where I write weekly about living a life of recovery.