Did you know?
- 25-75% of people who have survived abusive or violent traumatic experiences report problematic alcohol use
- One-tenth to one-third of people who survive accident-, illness-, or disaster related trauma report problematic alcohol use, especially if troubled by persistent health problems or pain
- Up to 80% of Vietnam veterans seeking PTSD treatment have alcohol use disorders
- Women exposed to traumatic life events show an increased risk for an alcohol use disorder
- Men and women reporting sexual abuse have higher rates of alcohol and drug use disorders than other men and women.
- Compared to adolescents who have not been sexually assaulted, adolescent sexual assault victims are 4.5 times more likely to experience alcohol abuse or dependence, 4 times more likely to experience marijuana abuse or dependence, and 9 times more likely to experience hard drug abuse or dependence.
September is Recovery Month! In honor of this month and the brave souls who’ve forged ahead in their journeys toward recovery, we are featuring anonymous stories from courageous clients who are living life one day at a time in sobriety. Today, a woman who is a survivor of trauma tells her story.
**Trigger Warning: Drug and Alcohol Use**
I woke up hungover, a single 40 year old women who lost her kids, home, job, car, and most friends due to my addiction. Substance abuse controlled my every move and thought. If I wasn’t drinking or using I was thinking about how to be drinking and or using. I was constantly looking for an escape from life.
I tried to kick the habit myself. I thought since I had never had a DUI or been arrested, I couldn’t be that bad. I love my kids more I love my own life itself. I would give anything for my kids- I would die for them, but unfortunately, I couldn’t quit drinking for them. Addiction was stronger than anything I could imagine.
Thankfully, I had a few good friends, therapist, and family who saw potential in me even when I could not. They helped me get into a recovery house. Addiction Treatment is saving my life along with ongoing trauma treatment. There is no doubt had I not moved into sober living, stopped drinking and using, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I went in saying I wouldn’t even stay 30 days. I thought I could just stop drinking and everything would go back to normal. It wasn’t that easy. My car was repossessed. My kids were being neglected so someone else got court ordered temporary custody of them. I had to deal with the repercussions of two car wrecks I had while drunk. I had hit my bottom with no place else left to go. I was a pretty angry and depressed person and never felt this out of control. I had lost control of everything I thought I had control of.
In reality I never had control, addiction controlled me. I surrendered the day I went into the recovery house. I cried nonstop the first few weeks I was there. The management there was fantastic. They were by my side the entire time and sometimes even cried with me. They knew my pain, they had been there before. I was a reminder of where they came from, and that helps someone in the program keep going. Within the first 30 days I took all the suggestions I could. They said go to IOP, go to 90 meetings in 90 days, find a home group, find a sponsor, build a network. I was desperate and willing at this point.
30 days came and went. I got my 30 day chip. I started working steps. I admitted I was powerless over the disease of addiction. I came to believe that God could and would restore me to sanity. I had to turn over my will and my life over to God. I made a moral inventory of myself. I admitted to God, myself and my sponsor my wrongs. And then I was ready to have God remove my character defects.
Today, This is where I am. I’m working my way through the steps and I’m more than half way there. Today I am 11 months sober. I have a job, bought a car, have my kids on a regular basis, and I’m working through my trauma with a psychologist. I’m working on my addictions with a sponsor and my network. Today I’m learning to live life on life terms. I don’t have to live in constant fear of being caught. I don’t have to hide anymore. I’m living one day at a time.
When I was in my first 30 days, had you told me to stay sober for 6 months I would have told you, you were crazy. You can’t get 6, 9 or 12 months without 1 day, 1 day at time. Sometimes in the beginning it can be 1 minute or 1 hour at a time.
I don’t claim to know much, but I do know being an addict is one of the hardest and ugliest diseases you can have. It kills. It doesn’t discriminate. It effects nearly every household in some way. The numbers continue to rise.
Of course, not every day is going to be perfect, I still struggle. I still think about drinking and using. I know if I use or drink today, it will not end well. It’s the first drink that gets you drunk. Today I am thankful for my sobriety and my recovery. I am thankful I did what I didn’t want to do. I am thankful I took all suggestions. I am thankful for the people in my life who loved me when I wasn’t able to love myself. If it were not for my recovery, I would not be alive today.