Heather – Living in Gratitude

April Share 2021

Heather’s recovery is the perfect metaphor of a lotus flower. She raised herself from the ground up and continuously seeks to flourish her life. She has become a great friend, a wonderful sister, daughter and a person that is admired by so many. All of that stems from the gratitude she has for the program and her recovery in general. How perfect to present her story for the blossoming month of April.

Introduction

Hi my name is Heather and I am an alcoholic. I was born in Missouri and lived there until I was 3 years old. Growing up, I lived in 13 different states and a few foreign countries. My father originally was a colonel in the Marine Corps (that’s why we moved so much), and then eventually became a federal judge. My mother has always been the perfect wife. 

Everything was golden on the outside but no one knew what was going on behind closed doors. My father drank my whole life but he never seemed to go over the edge. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t really drink and resented him for it. I grew up in an upper middle class household. As far as I can remember, I was always taught good values. However, there were a lot of uncomfortable/anxious times due to my father’s drinking habits.

What was it like?

My first drink was at age 14 and I don’t remember much, except that I wanted more of it. I was popular and known as the party girl in high school. After high school I went to college but I got into drugs and alcohol and I had to withdraw from my first year of school. Around that time, I married and moved to Panama with my high school sweetheart. I continued my college education at University of Miami at the campus in Panama. Meanwhile, there were problems in my marriage. After A year and a half my husband decided he was going to stop drinking, thinking that would improve our relationship. He wanted me to do the same but my response was to leave him and file for divorce.

So, I left for San Diego and ended up graduating with honors, although I drank through most of my time there. I was always arranging my schedule around my drinking. Partying was definitely the number one priority and came before anything. After college I went to hotel management training with ITT Sheridan and started my career. I actually met a Saudi Arabian prince and strangely wrote school papers for him. To my delight, he introduced me to a couple that hired me to fitness train them and live in London and Bahrain. However, all we did was party. It was the first time I drank every single day and night. Something I promised myself I would never do. 

After a while, I came back to the US and went into the hospitality industry, a perfect career for a big drinker like me. Regardless of my habitual partying, I did well in this industry and moved up the ladder rather quickly. I lived in South Beach and my office was in Washington DC, so I had two completely different lives. On one end, the professional front and on the other a parting train wreck. 

What Happened?

For me alcohol was progressive. It started out fun and progressively took away my joy, love, hope and zest for life. I was riddled with anxiety and depression. Those were the consequences of my drinking, as well as my relationships being in a perpetual codependent roller coaster. I finally had my first bottom at 41. I was in and out of detox five times and eventually admitted to a rehab. After completing 30 days, I was sober for about a year and a half. However, I never truly got step one and surrendered to the fact that I was an alcoholic. I also did not commit to the fellowship and connect with others in the program. Being that I moved around so much growing up, that was always a challenge for me.  

So needless to say, I relapsed and stayed out for about four years, coming in and out of the program. When my best friend/soulmate was killed in a drinking and driving accident, I spiraled out of control and went downhill fast. I also resigned from my career which was my only identity. So, I proceeded to drink every day around the clock for about three months. My life turned into a complete shit show. One morning, I decided to stop and that’s when I had a major seizure. Some random guy that was living with me at the time, called the paramedics and off I went to the hospital.  

Miraculously, I was blessed and actually lived through this experience. I woke up in the hospital with a doctor telling me how lucky I was to be alive. I had to learn how to walk again and control my bodily functions. I needed constant care for a couple months after getting out of the hospital. During that time, I did a lot of praying and I asked God to help me get this program, because my life was absolutely miserable. I was not happy and I lost all hope to live. 

So I asked God, either help me stay sober or please let me die. I truly believe my higher power came through and helped me get this program, but this time I surrendered. I finally realized I am truly powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable. I did the 90 and 90, got a sponsor, did the steps, and service work. I  committed myself to the fellowship entirely and getting to know other sober women by allowing them into my life. 

What it's like today?

My sober brothers and sister are one of the biggest blessings in my life. I have a loving God, the same sponsor, sponsee, I attend meetings and do service work regularly. My days are not always perfect but never as bad as when I was drinking; waking up hungover, anxious, guilty, shameful and depressed, and looking for the next drink. 

I am so grateful for Alcoholics Anonymous for helping me to build a life worth living. Today, I have choices and I am responsible for my life. If you are new to this program please keep coming back. Believe me when I tell you “I never thought it would work for me and I fought it for many, many years.” If we are sober, we are a gift to this world. Please Believe that! 

Love to all that are reading my story and thank you for letting me share.

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Stephanie Land
Stephanie Land
2 years ago

Great Story! Love you Heather!

Laura
Laura
2 years ago

Thank you Heather ! I needed this today ❤️

christine
christine
2 years ago

what a beautiful outcome