Speaker: New Directions for Women presents From Addiction To Recovery. Inspirational Stories of Courage.
Shay: Hi. My name is Shay. I’m an alcoholic and I wanted to tell you a little bit about my story, about where I came from and what happened and how I got here and a little bit about what it was like was that I was on a spiritual path and I was studying Buddhism and I was doing a lot of meditating. While I was meditating, I was trying to quit drinking. Being on a spiritual path, I recognized that this was really inhibiting anything that I was doing, any growth I could make, any growth as a human being. Meanwhile, I started having some turbulence in my life, family and otherwise, and I noticed myself instead of going in that spiritual direction I wanted to go in drinking more and more and more. What happened was that it got to the point that I had a friend of mine say basically, “If you don’t quit drinking, you’re not going to be a good mom. You’re not going to be a good mom to this little girl. You’re not being a good mom right now. You’re not present. You are a wreck more or less.”
I decided to try to to get sober on my own, so I spent about 100 days white knuckling it, bloody knuckling it more or less. It was really painful. Every day I would wake up and think about my daughter and I would try to pull through. Eventually, I actually scheduled a surgery I probably didn’t even really need just because I wanted to check out so badly. Being sober without a program was horrific and I think that’s when I really kind of understood you know what I’m really an addict and an alcoholic. What happened was I went and I got that surgery and I talked them into staying there for like an extra day and got double prescriptions and was absolutely beyond checking out than I had ever checked out in my life.
I was really surprised as my using pretty much doubled in that maybe two or three weeks. It’s a really scary thing for me to have a two and half year old little girl that I was basically responsible for and that I love more than anything, but to also have this addiction. I asked my husband what I should do, where I should go and we actually already talked about it. I was like, “Can you help me start making some of these phone calls?” I took some time off my life, came to treatment, stayed in treatment for eight months and was able to, thank goodness, get sober and stay sober a little over two years.
Getting sober for me was not just about putting down alcohol or pills. It was changing the way I lived, changing the principles of my life, the meanings behind things and really that driving force of my higher power and spirituality in general get a lot more out of meditating sober than I did when I was hangover and toxic. I also feel like I’m a much better mother today. I’m able to be present and deal with life’s challenges head on instead of having to run away from them. I went to treatment for about, again, about eight months and I had my beautiful daughter with me, so I was lucky to do that. I can’t imagine having to go to treatment without her. I could have probably gone for 30 days, but I wouldn’t have lasted any longer than that without my two and a half year old as we were very close.
The thing I really liked about New Directions too is they didn’t make me feel like I was like a bad mom for coming there. It was that obviously you want a better life for you and your child, so we’re going to treat you like that and so I felt comfortable having her here. She got wonderful care. I did my thing and she did her thing and we came out of it, me sober. She says she’s allergic to alcohol too. She knows the Serenity Prayer and she sees a big white drive off and she wants in. I’d like to introduce my daughter Lily to you. Lily, you want to come over to mommy? Come here, baby. Let’s get you. This is Lily. Lily, say hi.
Shay: Lily, let’s say the Serenity Prayer together, okay?
Shay: Okay. God …
Lily: God …
Shay: Grant me the serenity, can you say it with mama? God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen. You’re a little shy today?
Speaker: Do you know that your mommy is sober?
Speaker: What does that mean to you?
Lily: I love you mom.
Shay: Why would you say that?
Lily: I love my mom.
Shay: Being a sober mom is actually pretty fantastic. It makes it a little more difficult to get to meetings, but I’ve been able to find a couple of meetings that we really enjoy that have child care, so when I’m in the meeting, then Lily gets to go play with her friends and she can check in with me if she needs to, so that’s kind of what we do as far as that goes. I have a lot of mommy and sobriety friends and stuff like that. There’s even where I live, there’s even a speaker meeting that kids can on their time can go to, so she likes to play with the kids during the meeting.
I think my bottom was putting my child in danger and I had one night where my body, like I had a seizure basically and I was by myself and I was very scared and I was wondering if my child was going to have a mom. My life today is that I have a lot of friends. I have a wonderful boyfriend. Lily has tons of friends. She goes to school. She’s happy. She feels complete. We have great family relations and I have a wonderful relationship with my higher power and we have a lot of fun today. I think that’s a big part of it too is that that year that I was struggling the most, I felt so dark and I hadn’t had a horrible life. I actually was a pretty happy person for most of my life and did a lot of fun things.
That year, that one year especially was so dark and just sort of dismal and I felt very alone and there’s nothing, I never feel alone now. Every once in a while I want to feel alone because there’s so much action, there’s so much going on and we have so much fun. My daughter has an amazing life. We’re living too of a great lives on this planet right now. We’re very extremely blessed and lucky to be living in this much love that’s why we’re loving it.
If I had to tell something to anybody struggling with an addiction, to alcohol or anything that’s in the way would be to do something crazy. Do something crazy like change your whole life and go to treatment. Do something that’s big. Do something that’s bigger than you are because that’s what it felt like for me. It felt like, okay, I’m going to give up every little bit of security and my job, my relationship which wasn’t so great anyway and all of these things. To go ahead and be sober and to live a different life and I’m so glad I did that. It’s made me open to challenges in my own life now because what can you lose when you’re going to get sober. If you’re going to get sober, it’s worth giving up anything that seems like you can’t give it up because you can. I’m a living proof of that. You can walk through anything and just go for it. What do you have to lose?