Blessed Dulli

January Share 2021

What a great way to start the New Year, how one recovers from a hopeless state of mind. One of the most optimistic individuals you’ll meet is Dulli, but she didn’t always feel this way. She claims, even on her best days her character defects still get the best of her. So, how does she do it?

Introduction

My name is Dulli and I am an Alcoholic. My sobriety date is February 21, 2018. I am starting the New Year Sober again. Today, like any other day, I am truly blessed to be present, alive and of true service to my fellows. So buckle up, grab a hot cup of coffee, and enjoy the ride 😉

loading bar, 2021, new year's eve

What was it like?

I can tell you I didn’t always feel this optimistic. You see, my reality was once very grim. I grew up a people pleaser to five siblings, my mom and a ruthless stepfather. I lived in a big, picture perfect blue house on Center Street. It sure looked good on the outside but on the inside it was full of chaos, abuse, and things that no 7 year old should be a part of.  Between 7 and 16 years of age, I went through a difficult period that would set the foundation for my chronic alcoholism. I made it through that time by being the kind of daughter who would do anything to make her Daddy happy and keep her Mommy from crying. Towards the end, I watched my older sisters muster the courage to move out and begin their happy lives, while I was left behind. I resented them for leaving and envied them at the same time. My turn came at the age of 16 when a judge ordered me to live with a couple in our neighborhood. But being granted to leave came with a big price. I was forced to open up about ALL the abuse that happened in that house; how the father figure in my life sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abused me on a daily basis. Telling my story to a judge and my family would be more damaging than anyone could have ever predicted. 

After moving out, I was trying to cope with all that I dealt with. I was still that people pleaser and my tarnished mindset continued to haunt me for a long span of time. I worked and made a good living but nothing would make me feel better. I began to do anything and everything; obtained materialistic things, degrees, friends, and love. But with all that STUFF I still went to bed unhappy and woke up unhappy. Soon no amount of money, things, a job or promotion, could fill up that endless VOID. Then I found something that allowed me just to feel good and that something was “Alcohol.” What started out as a weekend thing, an occasional thing, a promotion or a raise, turned into an everyday, all-day affair. So when I read; alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful, I was able to relate instantaneously.  At one point when I worked for the YMCA in New Jersey, I came up with this brilliant plan; to transfer to a job in another state within the same organization. I figured my drinking habits and destructive behavior would be different there. This geographical solution, sort to speak, took me from Boston, back to New Jersey, then Hawaii and finally Rhode Island. But no matter where I moved, my DRINKING and character defects followed. Funny how that works!

After being let go by the organization that I worked for over 14 years, I set out for a new career path. I thought it was everyone else’s fault that I was drinking this much. So, I bounced around from job to job. I would hold my employer, boyfriend, and my family hostage with my destructive behavior. Then one day (what seemed over a period of months) my family wouldn’t answer the phone, my jobs diminished into thin air, and my boyfriend had enough of me. This should have been the first clue to look at myself in the mirror, but like any other good alcoholic I stayed in my stubborn ways. And, that my friends, landed me on a park bench in Billerica, Massachusetts. I was alone and no one (and, I mean no one), answered the phone!  One morning my phone miraculously rang. It was a guy named George, and he introduced me to my first friend in Sobriety named Mark, who took me to a meeting in Saugus, Massachusetts. This was the first turning point and my first encounter with the rooms of AA.

Over the next 10 months and 12 days I just didn’t drink, and I went to meetings (although I judged everyone there). My life started up again; I got a teaching job, a house, a car and all the essentials. But, soon after that I had no time for meetings, a sponsor, or working the steps in any manner. To no surprise on the 13th day, I left work one day and drove right into a parking lot of a liquor store. I had no defense over that first drink and certainly not over the 3rd, 4th and so on. The next 7 months were nothing but sheer insanity, incomprehensible and complete demoralization. You see, my alcoholism never actually left the building. It was just patiently waiting for me to have my guard down. I ended up drinking myself out of a house, a job, family and friends.  On February 16, 2018 I tried to finish my last beer and passed out stone cold!

What Happened?

I was woken up in the early hours of Friday, February 17th by a friend that only knew me from the time I stayed dry. What she offered me that morning was a solution, a way out, and an end to all this PAIN. All I had to do was say YES!!!! I didn’t know it then, but that would become my saving Grace. I said YES (my first cry for help and God) and within 90 minutes there was a knock on my door. Behind that door was a young man who said “pack up a bag, you’re going to Florida.”  I realize today, this was my First Step; I was powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable. I went into his car and he drove me straight to Logan Airport. When I got on a plane, I squeezed in my last 5 beers and soon after that I landed in Miami, Florida. At the gate stood another young man with a sign that had my name on it and he drove me straight to a treatment center.
 
For the next 94 days, I would be practicing the rest of my steps. Step 2 and 3 were not easy; my obsession with drinking may have been lifted, but my character defects were still there. During this time I just kept going to meetings (not judging this time), talking to my therapist, and doing exactly what I was told. On the last day, the first crucial change in my journey happened. I met my first, true sponsor who would take me through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. So naturally, I made the decision to stay in Florida and move into the house I still live in today. Both of these decisions were made with my FAITH in a higher power. Adjusting to my new environment was not always easy. I just continue to do the work and no matter what I don’t pickup. Eventually, everything fell into place; I found work babysitting kids, cleaning houses, walking dogs, and taking any available jobs to support myself. During those 14 months, I’ve come to realize I was actually working Step 6 and 7, since it lowered my standards and made me more humble. With this new found mindset, I was able to thoroughly complete all the steps and willing to sponsor other women in the program.
 
I may add, I was lucky my insurance covered the rehab until I left for intensive outpatient. I am happy to report, my last 5 weeks were paid for by my continued SOBRIETY, working the program, and helping other Alcoholic residing at the center.

What it's like today?

My life today is exactly the way it is supposed to be. I didn’t always feel this confident, especially since my journey was so stifling; loving my family from a distance, financial insecurities, and mental and emotional ups and downs. The other part of my life that I like to call my “Non-Negotiable’s” is my daily disciplines. Every morning I wake up, do my prayers, meditation and pick 3 to 5 readings. I swim at least 40 minutes for physical and mental stamina. Every evening I do my nightly inventory; again I pick 3 to 5 additional readings, and I journal. During the day, I have a variety of activities to help me stay balanced and out of SELF. I attend at least 2-3 Zoom meetings a day, I call or message at least five women in the program and I meet with my sponsor every Sunday morning at 7:30am sharp. In that order 😉 

It is very important to remind myself that my sobriety always comes first. That being said, I do have my daily disciplines but I also have a life beyond my wildest dreams (as they say). Today, I work for an organization that allows me the opportunity to help children and families in our community. I live in a house with my best friend and two of the greatest dogs anyone could wish for. I also have a relationship with a few of my family members, who not too long ago, wanted nothing to do with me. I am an alcoholic who doesn’t have a desire to DRINK anymore, but I do have a desire to continue to GROW and become the best version of Dulli. Today, I’m willing to take suggestions and put them into action. I am truly a Grateful and Blessed woman who is undoubtedly “Flying Sober.”

Happy New Years everyone! May 2021 bring you more joy that you could ever hope for.

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