On Wednesday, August 30th at NCPSG’s 7th Annual Community Addiction Awareness Vigil, Keri Crossley shared her story of recovery from alcohol misuse as a teenager. Her parents, Tracy and Debbie, introduced her. To view the video recording of her Vigil speech click here. We also share her testimonial in full below. Thank you, Keri, for being so open about your recovery!
My name is Keri, I’m from Trumbull, and I am an alcoholic. I have never had a legal drink. In my early teens, I began to feel an intense inner sadness and deep level of isolation. I had no desire to continue living.
To self-medicate my pain away, I turned to drugs and alcohol.
Quickly, things got out of control. I began facing consequences and lost the trust of my friends and family. I had a mental and physical addiction to alcohol.
In October of 2014, I surrendered and asked for help from my family. My parents supported my decision to find a treatment center and guided me during the admissions process. Within days, I was admitted and beginning my lifelong recovery journey.
I completed my inpatient program and had a strong aftercare plan in place. I continued participating in local outpatient programs, developing my support group of other young adults. My peers and I began to build our new lives in recovery. We tried new restaurants, planned park outings, and went on hikes.
Together, we created a community of young adults all sharing the goal of sobriety. We constantly showed up for one another by answering the phone, carpooling, and holding each other accountable.
This group lifted me up when I needed it and continued to push me to be my most honest and authentic self. One day at a time, I continued to take the suggestions of those around me. I leaned on my peers and began to feel better mentally and physically.
I’m so grateful for all the people who have reached out to me when I needed it, and I’m honored to be that person for someone else who is struggling.
My recovery community has become my extended family. These peers have empowered my recovery. I hear first-hand personal experiences… and learning how others handle the inevitable trials and tribulations of recovery guides my daily decisions.
My immediate family – my mother, father, and brother – participated in my treatment and received individual support and education. We all learned about multiple pathways to recovery, including 12-step meetings, spirituality, and parent support groups.
We healed individually… and as a family. Our family relationships strengthened through honest conversations and a willingness to seek outside support when needed.
I want to take a moment and thank my mother and father, who never gave up on me in my journey to sobriety. They provided unwavering support and understanding when I needed it most. They cheered me on every step of the way and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.
Today, I identify as more than an alcoholic. I am proud to call myself a daughter, sister, hard worker, partner, friend, and sober ally.
I earned both a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Fairfield University. I navigated college and my early twenties with the support of my like-minded peers. I stayed sober on my twenty-first birthday: instead of alcohol, I found myself drinking in so much love and support from those around me.
I now have more than eight years of continuous recovery. I will always encounter challenges and sadness on my journey, but that is life.
I can now say I have also experienced a level of freedom and joy I had never felt before. Success in recovery is because of one thing: Learning that continuous recovery takes continuous work.
Entering treatment was the first time I admitted my powerlessness over alcohol. I realized I am a person with the disease of addiction who has an abnormal reaction once I put a drink in my body. By listening to others who had an air of peace and happiness… I began to feel better, slowly but surely.
Years later, I now work at Caron Treatment Centers, the organization I believe saved my life. I continue to sustain my own recovery by listening… with open ears and an open heart… to others who are struggling themselves. I feel blessed to be working with patients and loved ones in the early stages of recovery. I realize I can be uniquely useful to others by sharing my experience, strength, and hope.
I encourage people seeking recovery, people in recovery, family members and allies to continue this conversation after tonight. These conversations can be difficult, but they can also lead to healing.
Continue to utilize resources and reach out to others.
Recovery is real. Recovery is possible.