Hello. My name is Carrie and I am a grateful alcoholic/addict in recovery. Growing up my life was far from normal. I grew up in a trailer park in Ohio with an alcoholic/pill addict mother and cocaine-addicted father. We would often go without heat, water, and food. My upbringing brought forth a lot of pain, discomfort, along with a few instances of sexual abuse.
Even before I ever touched a drug or alcohol, I knew something was wrong with me. I battled with severe depression and can remember attempting suicide by the time I was eight years old. I had attempted to beat my head in with a heavy book and tried to hang myself with my blankie. Fortunately, those attempts were unsuccessful.
By the time I was 12, I had lost my virginity and began drinking and smoking marijuana. My mother suffered from severe mental illness along with her addiction, causing a lot of turmoil in my life. She would send men or teenage boys into my room while I was sleeping and encouraged me to be sexually active. Fortunately, even as a young woman, I was quite feisty and would fight off any advances. She believed that I would make an excellent stripper when I grew up, which caused me to develop an exceptionally low sense of self-worth and confusion. I have a vivid memory of when I turned 13, she had tried to convince me to commit double suicide with her and end it all. Shortly after that incident, she attempted suicide on her own. I was alone in the home with her and one of my friends. She took 40+ Xanax and drank a fifth of vodka. Child Protective Services were called but it never went any further than an investigation.
My parents decided to pull me from school and “homeschool” me in the 7th grade. In all reality, I had dropped out of school and never completed another grade. At this point, I had turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. By the time I was 13/14, I was doing ecstasy 3-4 times a week, smoking pot every day, and doing any drug that was put in front of me. A drug was a drug, did not matter what it was if I could numb the torment and discontent from within.
Fortunately, my father had cleaned up and stopped using cocaine. He worked three jobs and was never home to see or witness the dysfunction. If he had known what was occurring within the home, I know he would have tried to stop it. When he was home, everything was relatively normal. He would not allow men or teenagers into the home and would not allow anyone to bring drugs into the home unless it were pills for my mother. Since I was deep into my addiction, this caused a strain on my relationship with him. I wanted to get high and since I had practically raised myself, I refused to take any direction from either parent.
While I was in my addiction, at 14 years old, I met an older man who preyed on my situation. He was indeed a pedophile and manipulated me in any way he could. I will not go into details, but his control went on until I was 16 years old. I had cut all ties with my friends and family and felt very alone and trapped. One day, I had the gift of clarity and I recognized the relationship with this man for what it was. I immediately seized communication with him and was able to get myself clean from drugs, other than marijuana.
It was at this time I decided to date an old friend of mine who was the same age. My thought process did not care about his personality much, but the fact that we were the same age, and both smoked pot seemed like the normal route to go. As we dated, my mother became gravely ill from her addiction and was dying of liver failure. She turned jaundice and had delusions. We did not have health insurance at the time, so the hospital sent her home without a care plan. She passed away a month before my 17th birthday.
The abnormal relationship with my mother caused a lot of co-dependency. Even though she was the mother, I played that same role for her. I took care of her. I would always check to make sure she was still breathing and alive. After she passed, I was lost. Who would I care for now? Surely not myself. I needed to care for someone else. My boyfriend and I decided to try and get pregnant and it was a success.
This was a huge blessing. I remained clean and sober, refrained from marijuana use and alcohol. I never wanted my child to go through what I had to endure. While I was able to stay sober and take on the mother role, my boyfriend did not seize to stop partying. He continued with his old lifestyle of smoking marijuana and drinking and partying with friends. The parent role seemed too much for him and he would act out in fits of rage, putting holes in the walls and screaming at our baby. I decided enough was enough and I left him when my child was around two.
Around this time, I turned 21. I did not want to smoke marijuana, but I enjoyed drinking. Little did I realize that I was an alcoholic in the making. There were many precursors that I would become an alcoholic, but I did not recognize the signs. I would drink until blackout and have no recollection of the night before. Once the alcohol would hit my lips, it would never be enough. I would pass out at the bar and my friends would have to carry me home. I would wake up with anxiety, fear, shame, and regret, never knowing what I had done or said. Eventually, those heavy drinking nights caught up with me and I was sexually assaulted on my birthday. Of course, I blamed myself in true alcoholic/co-dependent fashion and decided the best course of action would be to run away.
At this time, my sons’ father left for boot camp. I knew that he could not hurt me in the way I had just experienced. The next time he called, I told him how much I wanted him back and we married within a few short months.
We moved to North Carolina and life was good. I was sober, married, and had a family. In 2011, I became pregnant with our middle daughter and nursed her for a year, which aided to my sobriety. I was blessed with another pregnancy in 2013 and nursed her for over a year as well. This was my motivation to be sober for about four years, although at this point I still did not believe myself to be an alcoholic.
Eventually, we received military orders to Fort Benning, GA for my husband to become a Drill SGT. I had stopped nursing and started drinking occasionally, just on the weekends with a group of friends and it was manageable. I still drank until I passed out or blacked out, but it was not a regular occurrence.
I managed to hold everything together but, in the meantime, my husband was changing into a person I no longer knew. Yes, he always had a temper, but he would bring his Drill Sgt. persona back home with him. He started to become verbally and emotionally abusive once again. It took its toll and I had started battling with my depression once again.
Within a couple of years, we received military orders for Alaska, and I was apprehensive about coming along. I knew that as soon as I arrived in Alaska, he was to be deployed. With my depression and our marriage on the rocks, I did not know how I could handle going into an Alaskan winter, alone with no support and 3 children. He told me that if I did not go along with him, he would divorce me. I was not ready to give up on our marriage yet, so we packed up and moved to Alaska.
Upon our arrival, we decided to buy a house. We lived in a hotel for over a month which was a strain in and of itself. The hotel did provide free alcohol every night though, and that was a plus for a potential alcoholic like me. After we moved into our home, I discovered that my husband was cheating on me with women on craigslist since we arrived in Alaska. A week after my discovery, he deployed to Afghanistan.
I resorted to the old coping mechanism that I had as a teenager. This time instead of drugs, it was alcohol. I drank to numb the pain and it spiraled out of control quickly. I gained a lot of weight and when my husband returned from his deployment, he was in shock at how I now looked. I was no longer the skinny fit wife. I was destroyed from the inside out.
He started becoming even more verbally, emotionally, and financially abusive. I was repeatedly told I was a fat disgusting waste of life. I amounted to nothing. During this time, Alaska had an exceptionally large 7.0 earthquake and everything was shut down. I went and bought a ton of alcohol and started drinking from the time I woke up until I passed out. I started to get the shakes in the morning and took Klonopin to ease the symptoms until I could drink again.
I had tried to stop on my own, but no matter how much willpower I had, it was of no use. I finally got the gift of desperation and was ready to end my life. I had a plan but luckily a friend happened to call me before I could follow through. It was then that I realized I needed to get help. The next day I searched treatment centers and by the grace of God, I found Transformations.
I left for treatment on April 28th, 2019, and have remained sober ever since. Transformations allowed me to work through a lot of personal problems and were a starting point for discovering the underlying causes of my addictions and alcoholism. Transformation got me sober, but AA has kept me sober.
When I left treatment and arrived back in Alaska, I had no intention of going to AA. I thought of AA as a cult. Luckily, a friend had convinced me to attend a meeting. I received such a vast amount of support from everyone there and immediately got a sponsor. The one key component I had to help me in AA was willingness. I did not need to believe that it would work, I just needed to have a willingness to do the steps and hope that maybe it will work for me.
I jumped into the steps with both feet and worked the program to the best of my ability. Steps 1,2 and 3 came very naturally but when I did Step 4, I learned so much about myself and why I made so many choices that put me where I am today. I continued working the steps and within a few months, the 9th step promises came true.
It is imperative that I continue to help other alcoholics and addicts. I know that I cannot keep the peace and serenity I have without giving back to others. I sponsor women, continue to do service work, and stay connected with my sober support. I also pray daily and still routinely check in with my sponsor.
AA and sobriety have done so much more for me than keep me sober. AA and the principles have completely transformed my way of life for the better. Because of AA and the steps, I have been able to accomplish and go through so many trials within my first year of sobriety. I am going through a divorce, my aunt had brain cancer, we lost a family friend at a young age in a motorcycle accident and lost a family member to coronavirus. I have been able to stay sober through it all and face these trials with a bit of grace.
By turning everything over to my higher power and letting go absolutely, my life has turned into something better than I ever could have imagined. Thanks to the program and treatment, my children have their mother back, I have an amazing relationship with another member in AA and I have been able to be a fellow friend to those around me. If I trust God, clean house, and help others, I can continue to be all these things and more. I trust in God’s will, not my own and I no longer live in fear. When I turn everything over to my higher power, my life continues to amaze me. My life continues to get better by the day, and I could not be more grateful.
If you’re an alumnus of Transformations and you’re struggling, PLEASE, reach out. We are ALWAYS here for you!