12 Step Planet - Jennifer
 - Helping Families with Addictions
New Life addiction short stories
 
My name is Jennifer and I’m an alcoholic. I was born to a middle class
working family in the late 60’s. The typical baby boomer family. My
dad worked hard moving up the corporate ladder and my mom stayed home
to take care of my brother and I.  All in all I had a pretty normal
upbringing in a typical American dysfunctional family.
 
 
A few things set the stage for me to seek relief of my first drink,
that I can remember. My brother was quite the handful to my Mom. I
think he saw his first psychiatrist at the age of 4 due to some
violent out bursts and drawings and continued this pattern until he
left for the Army at age 19.
He really was a time bomb ready to explode any minute. I clearly
remember things just not quite right and waiting for the other shoe to
drop @ any moment. I became very protective of my mother during this
time. She did the best she could with both of us, but she was
frequently in tears either over my brother’s behavior or the fact
that my Dad was never home. Around the age of 5, I became completely
obsessed with Nadia Commeci and the field of gymnastics. I threw
myself into the sport thinking that If I was famous, than I would
really BE somebody.  I practiced and practiced like crazy in my
family’s garage, where I had a beam and a mat. I would often pretend I
was a famous gymnast, making up names for myself, getting scores of 10
and receiving the love
and adoration of my fans. Looking back now, I think this was my first
attempt to be something I wasn’t and receive attention that I craved.
I was a pretty serious kid never really quite fitting in. I fell into
a neighborhood crowd where disputes and fights often erupted. I never
knew who was mad at who that day or what “team” I was going to side
with. Your typical l kid stuff I suppose but, I felt lost, alone and
confused.
 
 
I had my first taste of alcohol that I remember at the age of 3. I
climbed on top of the refrigerator and drank an entire bottle of cough
medicine. I remember loving the taste of it and knowing I was doing
something I wasn’t supposed to do. I slept all day (which was fine by
me) and probably set up some kind of craving because from that point
on, I was stealing drinks from my parents at parties or from the
coffee table. I loved the way alcohol eased my mind, my fears and my
uneasiness with the world. Around the age of 8 or 9, I started taking
pills from my friends and family’s medicine cabinets keeping an eye
out on the “sleepy eye” icon on the labels.  What my little mind
wanted to escape from, I’m not really sure. I just know I didn’t like
who or where I was and I sought relief from that at an early age.
 
 
I could of been the poster child for teenage alcoholism. I ended up
going to 3 different high schools while my distrust for people built.
My best friend was alcohol. I loved it, I craved it and would plan my
weekend according to my plans to drink. My Mom “busted” me so many
times by putting me on “restriction”. I further sunk into myself by
sitting in my room, listening to the Doors, Led Zeppelin and Jethro
Tull. These were my relief for my teenage years. Music and Alcohol. I
was arrested three times before the age of 18 for drinking. Twice for
underage drinking and once for assault.  Each time, I got a slap on
the wrist. My Mother was so worried about me all she could do was cry.
I carried this guilt and shame but kept it pushed down by drinking
them away.
 
 
I ran away when I was 18 and lived at the beach with my boyfriend, his
mother and uncle. I was dying to get away from my Mom and her watchful
eye. Thinking I was going to have a blast and be FREE, I ended up
breaking my leg and not working and further sinking into a downward
drug and alcohol induced spiral with LOADS of unhappiness and lost
feelings.  I ended up crawling back to my parents the next year and
enrolled in school thinking this was what I needed to get back on
track with my life.
 
 
I found some relief in school with psychology and anthropology. I knew
the solution! I was going to travel and learn as much as I could about
the world. Problem was drinking and drugs got in the way. I didn’t
fail , but the bar across the street  and it’s 25 cent drafts from 11
- 3 kept me drunk A LOT. Needless to say I didn’t make it to class
very often and my grades suffered tremendously. I had countless
drunken escapades during college, loosing my car, sleeping with men I
didn’t know or could remember, the list goes on. When I was 20, I
found out I was pregnant. Now this was going to be my solution to
getting my life back together. A baby! Someone to love me
unconditionally and for me to love back. I am ashamed to say that I
did drink and do drugs until I was 3 months pregnant, justifying it by
thinking lots of women don’t find out they are pregnant until then
anyway. I did quit once I started to feel my baby moving inside me. My
fear of something wrong with my baby was so overwhelming during my
pregnancy, but thank God, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl 5 days
before turning 21. I did really well after Caitlin was born. I had a
full time job working 2nd shift and went to school in the morning. I
was still living @ home so my mom and my grandfather watched Caitlin.
It didn’t take long to fall back into a world of mess again. I began
drinking @ work and drinking excessively anywhere and everywhere only
to go home and pass out and attempt to take care of my toddler.
 
 
During my 20’s, I had many shallow attempts of trying to get / pull my
life together. I married someone I didn’t love, I moved several times,
I had another child, I changed jobs, you name it. Finally the pressure
of “trying” to do the right thing got to me and I left my children and
my husband to pursue a new “life”. I thought “well that didn’t work,
so fuck it, let me drink and just BE”  I just wanted everyone to leave
me alone. Which they did, I alienated everyone after I left my husband
and my kids. My children, my parents, my friends and my co workers.
Everyone was worried about me and kept asking why I just stop
drinking! I carried a of resentment about that, so I spent the next 8
years drinking until my heart’s content. I didn’t have anyone telling
me not too so I thought I was living the good life. Thank God, I had
enough sense not to drink and drive so I became quite the hermit. I
went to work and came home to drink. I didn’t care about anything else
in the world. My beer and my huggie became just an extension of
myself. I could not and WOULD not live with out it.
 
 
I met a man when I was 34 who didn’t drink and what did I do but marry
him! He was fun and liked to laugh. I don’t think he realized that
drinking was such a high priority in my life but we fell into a pretty
good relationship at first. We went camping and I began doing some of
the stuff that I loved again. For a while it was fine, until his anger
showed up. The pattern was like this ... he raged and I drank. We had
some of the most horrific fights that I have ever had with anyone. He
did say one thing to me once that really hit a deep spot and made a
light go on. “Why are you drinking your children’s life away? You are
missing so much”. Through the tears, I realized he was right. I ended
up going to my first treatment center in 2004.  I did it for my kids
and so that my family would get off my back. I actually stayed sober
for 19 months w/o any help of a program so it was only a matter of
time
that I started drinking again. We were planning a Halloween party and
since I had been such a good girl, I was playing on drinking that
night. The week leading up to the party, I was practically salivating
daily at the thought of my upcoming drink.  Gosh, that night I drank
like I had never drank before and drank for the next 2 years like
someone was going to take it away from me. I ended up going into
another treatment center to get my husband off my back again. I went
to some AA meetings but I thought you guys were weird and couldn’t
imagine why someone would want to talk about their problems!!!
Needless to say, I didn’t stay sober very long.
 
 
I ended up leaving my husband to go live in an efficiency apartment.
Finally! I could drink like I wanted to drink. My drinking over this
time was really starting to effect my health. I had numerous trips to
the hospital for DT’s. I was throwing up every day just so I could
drink more and my diet consisted of beer, peanut butter crackers and
peanuts. At this point, I became scared for my life. I knew I was very
very sick. Looking in the mirror was dreadful. I stopped going to
work, I wouldn’t answer the door for friends. I was definitely at that
jumping off point. I couldn’t stop drinking but I was killing myself
with it. New Years Day 2008, I finally got angry. I was angry at my
best friend, my can of beer for betraying me. I was shaking so bad
that morning, throwing up, trying to drink, I began throwing my beer
cans against the wall after I finished each one. Gosh I was so sick. I
remember so clearly being so angry, lost and panicked. What was I
going to do? I packed up my bags and went to stay at my
still-husband’s house to dry out. I made it 3 days and began drinking
again. But this time, I really  knew in the bottom of my heart what I
had to do. I called a friend who I knew had been in recovery.  I
wanted her to come get me and take me to rehab. It took 20 days to
make that happen and with the help of her and another one of her
friends, I finally got approval for a 30 day program @ New Life Lodge.
This would be my third rehab and I was determined to make it stick. At
New Life, I was given a big book and a 12 and 12 and really threw
myself into recovery. I had hope again. I could see again. My life
took on new meaning. I wanted my life back. Other than a slip this
past May I have experienced the best life that I could ever imagine.
My daughters respect me again and want to spend time with me. I spend
a lot of time with my Mom and actually enjoy it which is a real
miracle. I carried around so much guilt and shame I couldn’t be in the
room with them for more than 30 minutes. The real deal was I couldn’t
stand ME around them. Today, having been through the steps, and with
the help of people in the rooms, I was able to release most of that
junk. I have found a beautiful relationship with my creator and I am
living my life to the best of my ability under his guidance and care.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about AA. I think I was living my
whole life trying to be a part of something, not really knowing who I
was. Today I do and also have been gifted the tools of the program to
be a usefully and happily whole human being. For that I will be
eternally grateful. I don’t run from my problems today, I have a
chance to look @ them and examine them with the help of God, my
sponsor and people in the rooms. I love me and I love my life today
and I owe it all to God and to this program.
 
 
thank you for letting me share my story  - Jennifer