Allison's Recovery Story

"The way we look at addiction is wrong. We think people are sick and they're not sick. They are just reacting to the life they have and the environment they live in."

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My name is Allison and I have been sober since late July of 2013. I am from Massachusetts and live with my husband (who is also sober) and two dogs.

Seven years ago in July, sitting in an outpatient substance abuse program, I realized that I wanted to stop. I wanted to stop the insanity. I wanted to stop the 24/7 drinking. I wanted to stop the blackouts and mornings of shame, wondering what I'd done or said the night before. I wanted to stop the hangovers the left me shaking and sick until I put more alcohol into my body. I wanted to stop losing relationships, friends, jobs, homes, freedom, and self- respect. In July of 2013 I was at my lowest spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I was so badly beaten down by my addiction that I had lost all hope for a better life. I’d tried everything (or so I thought) to get and stay sober.

I fell in love with drinking at I was 14 years old when I realized I had found something that made me feel “normal”. Something that made the constant anxiety and worry dissipate. A natural introvert, I found myself able to talk to anyone, to feel that (false) confidence that comes with a drink in the hand and in the brain. I loved drinking. For years, I thought that alcohol made me a better version of myself. That all began to change around the time I was 18 years old and in college and symptoms of my un-diagnosed mental illness started to come to the forefront.

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From 18 to 26, the age I got sober, alcohol made me a sloppy, argumentative drunk who was just as likely to bust into tears as to come at you with a fist. By the age of 26, my alcoholism had devolved into daily drinking so I wouldn't get sick. I had been self- medicating for years and my psychiatric symptoms got worse the more I drank. No matter how much I tried, or wanted to stop drinking, I was unable to. It was the only coping mechanism I had. By the age of 22, I'd already been arrested for DUI, in and out of detoxes and outpatient programs, in psychiatric hospitals, and on medication that promised of sobriety but didn't change a thing.
I don't know what happened 7 years ago in that outpatient program that changed the course of my life. Something happened that made me lose all interest in drinking, and to this day that continues. I can only concede that a Higher Power entered my life and restored my broken mind to sanity.

For about a year, I attended AA and NA meetings almost everyday. I developed a network of people to help me stay sober and accountable, and even met my husband in the halls. Therapy was key, as was getting a correct diagnosis for my mental illness. Today I still attend therapy, take medication to help control the symptoms of my mental illness, and lead a full life that includes traveling, hiking, camping, and working with others who want to get clean and sober