Recovery Blog Post – Wendy

In 1990, living in Westbrook, CT, I was aggressively trying to die. Why may you
ask? On the surface, my family lived a wonderful life. My dad was a top executive
at an insurance company, and my mom stayed at home taking care of the children.
Our house was only a hundred yards from the beach.

However, my parents divorced when I was in 1 st grade, and later I had to come to
terms with an angry, alcoholic stepfather. At a very young age, I learned that the
sensation of a substance brought a pause to my pain. There was instant euphoria,
and I spent years chasing that feeling. It never came. Instead, darkness gradually
set in. Insanity and anger developed and grew.

Every cell of my body and wave of my brain grew dependent on having either
alcohol or an illicit chemical running through my system. Toxic, exhausted and
without the will to live, I attempted suicide and by some power greater than myself
I was spared. I ended up in a psych ward. I was 18 years old.

When I came to, I was furious. Repeatedly I insisted to the psychiatric staff of the
locked unit that I had no willingness to live. Gradually, my anger dissipated and
apathy set in. I remained spiritually flatlined for 10 days. Until one moment in one
day, when something magical happened. I suddenly realized that I had a problem
with drugs and alcohol, and I was worthy of life.

On discharge, I started a recovery journey based on 12-step fellowship. Magical
things happened in meetings: I was welcomed every day with unconditional love.
An older woman named Mary became my Sponsor and took me under her wing.
She guided me with unwavering faith in my ability to heal. I started to believe
things would be okay. No matter what.

There have been a lot of “whats” along my journey. Big ones, including death,
divorce, bankruptcy, and emotional abuse. Terrifying, paralyzing “whats”. Yet
Mary and the other members of my fellowship carried me through.

One of my three children became a heroin addict. Matt has been revived from
death numerous times. The pain nearly broke me. I had every right to lose hope
and my sobriety. I knew I couldn’t save him by fixing him. Matt saw that I
believed in the magic. Now he does too.

After being away for many years, my personal and career journey has taken me
back to Westbrook. I’m just a few doors away from my childhood residence, where
on the surface I had the ideal upbringing. Those appearances were deceiving.

While I now have 33 years of continuous sobriety, my journey remains about the
day. Each day I wake up and pray that I will be humbled, remembering my time of
maximum apathy at 18. I remember my first fellowship meeting, where Mary
stepped forward to help me. I continue to use 12-step fellowship to be of service to
others who struggle, and in a major career move that brought me back to
Westbrook, my job is about that service, too.

Mary moved away to the West Coast years ago. And as fate would have it, I’m
now attending that same Westbrook Early Riser meeting that had been so important
to me years ago. As I look out my window at the beach in the distance, I have only
4 words to say about my recovery life: “My blessings are immeasurable.”