One of the things that has inspired and continues to inspire Michelle Dempsey of The Trusted Mama are the women she meets on her journey. The readers who reach out to share their love for this blog, the women who send their posts for me to read, and the women with stories far more inspiring raw and real than I could ever imagine. These are the women from which I draw my strength, motivation, and whom I live to empower and work with. For more information on working with me, visit my business site and learn how we can collaborate to help empower YOU, today.
A guest post by good friend and writer Ali King
Three years ago I found freedom. I never thought it would happen, but it did. And I found my freedom sitting amongst people just like me. In plastic folding chairs, listening to people’s stories of demise and stories of hope, strength, and recovery.
I found my freedom in Narcotics Anonymous.
I had been battling an ongoing opiate addiction off and on for 6 years. What started off as an addiction to Roxies (30 mg opiates), progressively became a full-blown heroin addiction. Once succumbing to what I thought was “my disease” I followed all of the suggestions given to me from my fellow NA members. I found a sponsor, I attended meetings regularly, I went to conventions, I worked the steps, I truly thought that I had found the answer to my prayers. I whole heartedly believed that I was going to be in recovery for the rest of my life and that building clean time would be an ongoing goal for the rest of my life. I was happy, content, and loved being clean. I followed the suggestions of NA so much that without a doubt I believed there was no other way to live life. The frightening thought that I could never have a drink again was quickly dismissed from my mind because I was told to take it one day at a time.
Throughout the first 15 months in my recovery process, I had, in a way, distanced myself from drug use and places where alcohol was being served. My mom had stopped drinking to “respect” my recovery, I distanced myself from friends who drank and smoked occasionally. My social life became completely recovery related. Throughout this time, I had two relationships, one with another recovering addict and another with a man who seldom drank around me. I really had distanced myself so much from all “temptations” to the point that when I would be around people who were drinking, I would silently judge them and claim they were addicts in denial. At times, I would grow jealous that people were able to drink while I stood on the sidelines and watched.
In month 16 I met someone new. He was everything that I wanted in someone, the only problem was that he was not in recovery and I knew that he enjoyed having a drink. I told him not to change for me.
I told him the only way we will know if this would work is if he continued doing what made him happy and comfortable and I continued doing the same.
We went to dinners and movies together, scarfed down frozen yogurt weekly, cuddled on the couch and occasionally, we went to bars. He would drink and I would be sober and it was fun and it was fine. There was no pressure, there was no threat of the relationship possibly ending because of our different lifestyles. However, one day the thought popped into my mind that maybe just maybe I could live just like he was living. I thought about the possibility of being able to go out, have a few drinks, have fun, and be fine the next day. I empowered myself with the thought that I could do this and not end up doing heroin again within 24 hours.
But I was scared, I was brainwashed to believe that I had a disease – a disease that was relentless.
I could never have a drink again or put any mind-altering substance into my body again. I began mentioning the idea to some of my fellow NA friends and shared about it in meetings. I would always get the same response of, “Keep coming back.” That same generic answer to all of life’s problems that were brought up in NA or the other famous response, “this is your disease talking.” No! This wasn’t my disease talking, this was the mature woman who had grown over the last year and a half. Someone who knew better than to just run back to her heroin dealer. I was now a woman with a purpose in life. I was and still am a teacher with responsibilities and commitments. I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone else around me that I could have a drink socially and not succumb to my “disease.”
So on August 8, 2015, after weeks and weeks of contemplation and advising friends and family of my decision, I had my first drink in nearly two years. I didn’t regret it, in fact, I enjoyed it. I woke up the next morning expecting to feel remorse, yet I still felt liberated. As free as I felt in those NA meetings. Fast forward 11 months, I am now engaged to the man who accepted me as I was. I still have a relationship with my NA sponsor. I am still teaching and highly respected among my peers. I am also nearing three years of being opiate free.
I am not saying that this can be everyone’s story, but it is mine. I am now recovering from recovery. I have learned so much about my own personal strength and confidence in the past 11 months. It hasn’t been easy but it most certainly hasn’t been hard. Believe in yourself, the way I believed in myself, set your mind to something despite all the odds against you and be the woman who you wish to be, ‘one day at a time.’
*Addiction, rehab, and recovery, are NOT to be taken lightly. If you are in the process of recovering, please keep a good relationship with your sponsor, and think before you act.