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Finding A Way Forward

Patricia, VA

My story, like some of the other stories in this program, begins at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio.† My mother was a nurse in the first alcoholic wards there and she knew Sister Ignatia and Dr. Bob.† I was born at St. Thomas Hospital years after she worked there.† I never would have guessed, despite these coincidences, that I would discover this program and be filled with such gratitude to have chosen this way of life.

My parents were not teetotalers, but they didnít keep alcohol in the house and they only served it or consumed it when having guests.† I didnít take my first drink until I was 18, and I drank socially until my early 40ís.† No one in my family was an alcoholic.† I never saw this in my future.

I finished college and graduate school by my mid-20ís, got married, and steadily worked my way up to become a Partner at a large consulting firm by my mid-30ís.† †The years from my mid-20ís to my early 40ís are a blur of hard work and difficult times with my then-husband, with the added burden of having to support us due to his many failed financial ventures.† By the time I reached my early 40ís, I was turning more frequently to alcohol to try to calm my panic attacks and to numb the stress, resentment and emotional pain that had become a constant in my life.† By the time I reached age 46, I was drinking every night and my job performance and relationships suffered markedly.

Early in 2011, I realized I had to make big changes.† I realized I could not, and did not want to, live like I was living anymore.† I entered these rooms and at first I was skeptical. I did not believe the sayings on the walls.† I thought that they were trite, and I certainly didn't believe that following that list of 12 Steps on the wall was the answer to finding serenity.† Over the next few months, I dropped in on an occasional meeting and tried to reduce my drinking, but I was not yet convinced to commit fully to this program.† I thought that if I made other changes, it would ease the pressure on me and enable me to deal with this problem on my own.

In Summer 2011, I realized that I could not go on working at the consulting firm, that the stress was taking a major toll on me, so I took a lower stress job and a big pay cut.† I was terrified walking away from the career that Iíd worked so hard to build. Not to mention the financial burdens I had, given that my then-husband still was not working, but I realized that I had to save myself and find another way forward.† On November 15, 2011, I realized that I wanted what this program offered, enough to make the commitment and to make the big changes that I would need to make my life one of service and good.

Just over two years into my sobriety, my then-husband told me that he was leaving me. I remember being devastated and frightened, as I had not lived on my own as an adult.† I had to learn, one day at a time, to deal with life on lifeís terms.† I also had to learn that what happened to me, was OK, and that I would be OK. I didnít know what OK looked like.† I learned that none of us knows what OK† looks like.† Itís something that I figure out by getting through one day at a time.
By taking inventory at the end of the day and making sure Iíve got my own side of the street clean, and trying my best to let it go, I get to OK..
and OK is a good place to be.

I will forever be grateful to the people who were there in the rooms for me on November 15, 2011 and to every person that extends the hand of Fellowship to me since that time and into the future.† Iím grateful to this program for five years of sobriety and God willing, more days ahead, one day at a time.

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