Editor’s Note: Part One of “Why I Quit” can be found here.
M. was 24 years old when she was arrested for drunk driving after rear-ending another car. No one was hurt, but M.’s car was totaled. Even worse, it was her second DUI. The daughter of a drug addict, she had already been drinking for 10 years by this point. “I started drinking at 14,” she shared with Foundations Recovery Network in this exclusive interview. “Prior to that, strangely enough, I was extremely against drugs and alcohol because of my dad.” But her friends drank, and she wanted to fit in.
Soon after that, she started using hard drugs. The reason went back to trouble in the home. “My parents got divorced, and my dad was putting me through hell.” For eight years, she continued to use both drugs and alcohol until, at age 23, she turned strictly to the bottle. Her explanation was simple: “I enjoyed alcohol more. ”
Within a year, she was lying in a prison cell of a mixed medium-maximum security compound. “I was scared sh*tless,” she said of the experience. “I was only allowed to come out of my cell for an hour a day. I used that hour to call my family.” Desperate to escape the reality of her surroundings, M. read Harry Potter books, plowing through three volumes in just five days before her mom bailed her out. “My bail was really high,” she added.
The experience was a turning point for M. “I knew that I had a problem prior to this, but it was the car wreck that made me finally accept that my life was out of control and I needed help.” Adding to her sense of urgency was the day of her niece’s 11th birthday. “I got so drunk and I was trying to act like I hadn’t been drinking so I was trying to help with everything,” she recalled. “I dropped the dinner everywhere.”
It didn’t stop there. Her erratic behavior scared the kids. And then there was the part where she threw up “everywhere.” Furious, her sisters took their kids and left. “I passed out, and my mom didn’t talk to me for a whole day after that.” Her mom wasn’t the only one. “One of my sisters was very gracious about it and forgave me right away. My other sister wouldn’t talk to me, and my niece whose birthday it was told me she didn’t want to talk to me for a while.” M. explained: “An 11-year-old should never have to act more like an adult than an adult.”
Ashamed, M. once again promised herself “things were going to change.” It was around this time that her sentence arrived: She was to spend 30 days in prison. This time, M. knew what to expect. While there, she was able to detox, rest and do “a lot of soul searching.” “I came out determined to get better and change my life around,” she remembers.
Immediately, M. began intensive outpatient rehab, cut ties with nearly all of her friends and began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on a daily basis. “All I did for a long time was go to work, come home and go to AA meetings.” This lasted for about a year, and it worked.
M. celebrates two years of sobriety this spring. Looking back at the journey, M. described the decision to quit as a frightening one. “I was afraid. But it is so worth it. It’s so much better than the alternative. I lost so many things–some things I have slowly gotten back and some things I’ll never be able to get back.”
Speaking to those who are currently in the midst of the process, she added: “Let your faith be greater than your fears. You’ll be glad that you did.”
Written by Tamarra Kemsley
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