Finding A Way Forward
†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
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
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.