Tuesday 21st November 2017
You know who you are.
Follow Me
     

Are you in recovery?

The anchor is a symbol of sobriety

I’ve started working on the book, and am currently writing about going to rehab, which I’ve done, twice. It was a life-transforming experience for me—even more so for having to repeat it—and writing about it got me wondering how many of you out there in the GOACA community have struggled with addiction too. My issue was with alcohol, although I’ve smoked my weight in pot over the years as wellWhat was your demon, and how did you kick it? I’m also curious: Are you in AA or NA, or have you sought alternative support?

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 46 Comments

46 Responses

  1. Rosie says:

    I got sober in 1980, which seems like the stone age these days. I went to AA forever, although these days I have backed off, but after 30 or so years, I finally got it. I went to rehab once, in Monterey CA of all places, bit the security guard who was dragging me in while I was insanely drunk.

    I have gone to therapy too, because once I was sober for a while, the truth of my life became more clear and I needed help sorting it out.

    I mostly drank, but I would take almost anything. I have taken acid too, and I was intrigued with that woman who was taking the small amounts to battle her depression.

    • Julie says:

      Rosie! You didn’t by chance go to Beacon House in Monterey( PG) did you? That’s where I got sober, three years ago tomorrow. I had sobered up by the time I got there but was dragged screaming into a jail cell by officers the night before, so.

  2. Lisa says:

    I have been in recovery for 5 years. I went to “rehab” in my early 20’s (mid-90s) but that was really just a crappy detox my mom threw me into. I remember she paid cash so “no one would know”. Fast forward through a failed marriage and two kids, and I was abusing alcohol, cocaine, pills pills pills and some heroin. 5 years ago I went to a proper rehab and stayed nearly 70 days. I stay clean and sober through a mix of NA, AA, and an amazing sponsor. I live in downtown NYC and we are so lucky to have so many great meetings. I’m not 100% down with the God stuff but the universe is my higher power and so far it’s working 💜

  3. Dana D says:

    Kim…

    Thank you for writing about this here and for sharing your struggle. And thank you to every woman who also writes her story here.

    As the child of an alcoholic, I know the darkness of addiction. I also know the tremendous courage it takes to get sober.

    Thank you, thank you…

  4. Caster says:

    Pot, Pot and more Pot!
    I use walking to recover, really helps. Helpful post. <3

  5. DeDe says:

    I grew up surrounded by people with addiction issues – an uncle, one of my grandmothers, my parents’ friends (a few of whom were drug dealers and outlaw bikers). My parents let me drink beer when I was very little, occasionally took me to bars (which is acceptable here), and partied a lot. My mom started drinking heavily when I was around ten; my dad also drank too much, but he never seemed drunk and didn’t drink constantly the way my mom did, so I thought of him more as a problem drinker.

    A few years ago, Dad was in the hospital, struggling with the final stages of COPD. He’d quit drinking some time before, but never mentioned why (he was always tight-lipped about health stuff), and now suddenly he was telling my sister and I that his liver was no good. My sister asked my mom about it, but she changed the subject. After he passed I had to get a copy of his birth certificate, and there near the bottom of it, listed as a contributing cause of death, was alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

    All of this is just to say that no one in my family could ever, *ever* admit they had a problem, and that it was so bad and so normal that I couldn’t even see the full picture. Every single one of you who is in recovery has my deepest respect, especially those of you who have failed in the past and kept trying anyway. Holding yourself accountable for an addiction takes strength, especially in a culture where we stigmatize people for having them to begin with. You’ve walked through that fire and made it to the other side when so many others wouldn’t. Those of you who are still walking, keep going. You can do it.

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    Adult child of an alcoholic here, whose father was also an ACOA. My generation? Not me–it’s my brother, who’s also a gambling addict and is in complete denial. Much love and respect to all of you who have the courage and immense strength to face the monster, and to fight every day for the sober life. I pray every day for my kids and my sweet nephews, that they can live free from what is obviously a family disease.

  7. KJ says:

    I am. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin. I’ve been in recovery, sometimes stable and sometimes not, since I was 20…so 18 years. I’m always grateful that AA is there when I need it.

  8. Teresa says:

    I’m not in recovery, but I have family and close friends who are. Some of the strongest, most principled people I know are folks who are in recovery. I’ve seen miracles. And tragedies. Last year, I watched a dear friend die way too young, at 46, because her liver and kidneys gave out.

  9. Julie says:

    I am, and these days I kind of hate it. I went into rehab three years ago and it was an amazing experience all around–I wish I could go back! I did such good work and learned so much about myself. Then I left and AA is good stuff, but not the same.
    Kim, I had no idea you were in recovery. I remember your article about your dad in Sassy magazine and that article saved my life and made me feel so much less alone when I was dealing with my alcoholic mom in high school, so truly, thank you for that. I am really looking forward to reading your book and hearing your story.

  10. AbbieT says:

    23 years sober, 23 years grateful.

  11. Robin says:

    Started in OA in college. Anne Lamott helped me a lot. I’ve graduated from Al-Anon -> SLAA -> DA -> UA -> ACOA. In ACOA I learned about trauma. Now I am treating C-PTSD and all of my other substances are a symptom. It’s freeing and lonely to take responsibility for my life in the face of dysfunctional family history and trauma. I can see me going to rehab in the future, but mine will be for grief and loss.

  12. eliza says:

    I am the daughter/granddaughter/niece of a long line of alcoholics, and am married to an alcoholic who is now 3 1/2 years sober. My husband tried outpatient rehabs twice and finally went to residential rehab. Both of us have tried and given up on AA/Al Anon but extensive therapy has been good for us – his, mine, and ours.

  13. c.w. says:

    Such brave empowering stories here. Alcoholism runs strong and deep on both sides of my family, but somehow missed my own DNA thread. I feel very lucky and am grateful.

  14. Stacey says:

    I went to AA for 10 years. The program gave me great tools that I still rely on though I’m not sober (I realized that I’m not an alcoholic. I drink in moderation, plus my friends still in recovery have my back). As for pot: it was a godsend when my husband was going through aggressive chemotherapy and now I’m trying to get my mother approved (she’s 90 and has cancer and is crippled with pain from severe arthritis). I don’t use pot any more, I’ve had too many bad experiences (paranoia, eating until it hurts) but believe that doctors who won’t prescribe it for qualifying patients are unethical. It is possible to get medical marijuana with no psychotropic effects (low THC/high CBD) and to deny it in favor of opioids is cruel. Forgive me if this is too far off topic.

  15. Belle says:

    Hey Kim,
    16+years here.
    I appreciate AA, but it vexes me as much.

  16. H says:

    Alcohol for me and sober 11 years. AA has been a constant and I don’t think I could have gotten sober without it. Now I go because all the other wonderful things in my life depend upon my staying sober, and the easiest way for me to stay sober is to reach out to a newcomer and AA meetings are the easiest place to find newcomers. (Although I did find one on my last Tinder date on accident which was awkward.)

  17. Martha says:

    Hey there! I’ve been in OA since 1992, 9 years back from a 2-year relapse. Had to get sober to stay abstinent, which wasn’t too hard at the time — though I was well on my way to a significant alcohol problem, and it runs in my family.

    So, in eating disorder recovery and alcohol-free for 25 years, thankfully never smoked or did drugs because I would have been ALL UP IN THAT BUSINESS.

  18. KimFrance says:

    Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone. It means a lot.

  19. HollyB says:

    I, too, come from an alcoholic family — specifically, my father, who died recently at age 89. Did I ever “resolve” my issues with him. Not really, but I wasn’t so mad any more in the last 10 years. Anyway, those of you in recovery have nothing but my deepest admiration and respect. And Kim, would it be possible to share the story you wrote for Sassy on your father? I looked for it online but have not been able to find it.

    • KimFrance says:

      If I can figure out a way to resurface it, I will.

      • DeDe says:

        That would be awesome – I’d really like to read it, too.

      • Dana D says:

        I would also like to read it, Kim.

        An alcoholic father does a number on us in the relationship arena, no? HollyB, my father died at 89, 30 years-plus sober, but not recovered. I let go of anger toward him through YEARS of good therapy. He died burdened by regret and that will always make me sad.

        I spent my 20s, 30s and 40s in and out of “smartwomanfoolishchoices” love affairs. I never fell in love with an alcoholic but I know narcissism up close and personal (hello trump).

        Wow, it feels lovely to write these things here…

        Thank you again, Kim.

      • Gemma says:

        Do you know the year or date that the article came out? I still have my collection of Sassy Magazines from middle school.

        • eve R. france says:

          Kim’s article on her Alcoholic father was in the October 1990 issue of Sassy Magazine

  20. y.k. says:

    i don’t have experience with addiction but i read this article recently -it’s about gambling addiction specifically & includes discussion of the neuroscience of addiction generally. the parts about how casinos encourage the addiction are enraging.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/12/losing-it-all/505814/

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Indeed. I’m the one that has the brother with alcohol and gambling addictions. I also love to learn about personality theory and have learned quite a bit about the neuroscience of addiction along the way. I have counseled my young adult children on their potential susceptibility and have been rewarded by my son’s diligence in staying away from gambling. He went to a casino once and recognized immediately how he could get sucked right in.

  21. Melissa D says:

    I’m a regular reader of many years, but somehow missed the fact that you’re in recovery. I’m an alcoholic, in AA, and 6 years sober.

  22. Gables girl says:

    I quit drinking cold turkey and followed up with therapy. Its been 3 1/2 years. I had one drink when DT won (oops) but haven’t and won’t have another. Experts say I had a coping issue with the booze but not an addiction. Lucky as both parents were alcoholics. Thanks for letting us share in your process.

  23. Alexa says:

    This is a difficult topic, and I don’t have a clean (ha) answer. I was addicted to heroin for several years, and also abused cocaine regularly. Oddly, pot never did much for me. I detoxed using the “step-down” methodone treatment and attending NA meetings. Alcohol had not been a problem for me, but in the zero-tolerance NA program, I quit what drinking I did, and mixed in AA meetings as well.
    This was decades ago; I now drink in moderation. Of course, there is no such thing as ” in moderation” in The Rooms. But when I was at my lowest, that probably saved my life.

  24. Linda Boardman Kerr says:

    Briefly: I tried an “easier, softer way” for years and kept sinking lower and lower until I finally hit what I thought was my bottom in my late 20’s. I started going to AA and got a sponsor. Though I was in and out for a few years, I have now been sober for 25 years. The program has given me the tools I need to live a pretty good life (yes, and even have FUN) without alcohol. The most important thing I have learned about recovery is my powerlessness and “turning it over”. I will never graduate from the program, but hey, I have met the wisest, funniest, most honest and wonderful people around the tables. I am so grateful for AA.

  25. Jennifer says:

    This coming Monday, Feb 27th, I will celebrate 22 years. I have included my re-hab, Father Martin’s Ashley, in my will. That’s all I need to say.

  26. Shannon says:

    Spent 4 years in AA in my 20’s but it always felt a little off, like I almost but not quite belonged. Years later, I attended my first Al-Anon meeting and I knew I had found my people. Been going for about 7 years now. Drinking has ceased being a problem for me as I’ve matured and bettered my relationship and self care skills through Al-Anon. I friggin’ love that program.

  27. Cindy Swienton says:

    Twenty five years sober – and for a long time – like the first three or so years – kept thinking I wasn’t really an alcoholic. Now I don’t care. I know in my heart that my life is so much better than I could ever imagine. Thanks for the reveal – I missed that, too, that you were in recovery. Isn’t amazing that people can really bond over this? And accept everyone’s opinion? Love AA, but don’t go as much as my sponsor thinks I should. Thank you for this.

  28. Sarah says:

    Tomorrow I celebrate 5 years… in AA that means you get your marbles back. I had a 30+ love affair with vodka, which didn’t end as badly as it could have, did outpatient rehab, got a sponsor, and … here I am. I go to 3/4 meetings a week, and try to when I travel (Paris last month, a “resentment ” meeting (never heard of those before) was amazing). I’ll stay, one day at a time, I hope. I too didn’t realize you were sober. Can’t wait for your book. Peace.

  29. JC says:

    Yes, 14 years this year. I got sober in AA and participated more some years vs others but I still go to meetings, work the steps and work with others. Like a lot of other people in AA, I never 100% got the God/Higher Power thing down pat but it’s at the point where I’ve worked out what works for me. I would have never stayed if I was required to get that.

    • Linda Boardman Kerr says:

      That is indeed a stumbling block for many of us, but the important thing for me is to get out of myself and realize that I’m not the center of the universe.

  30. Stephanie says:

    Many, many thanks to those of you you found your way out and continue to reach back into the abyss to help others. For sevenyears, starting when her daughter was three, my best friend Unsuccessfully battled alcoholism. The last six months before she drink herself to death or a living hell for everyone, including her. Whenever I take her daughter shopping, or to a movie, or celebrate her honor Society induction it pains me that my wants wonderful friend is not here. Blessings, strength, and endurance to all of you who fight the battle every day.

    • shannon says:

      Oh, Stephanie, heartbreaking. How beautiful that you are there to love your dear friend’s daughter. xo

  31. Kristin says:

    Hi Kim;

    In recovery, 3 years as of January and am a member of AA. Went to a 12 step based treatment facility, that was very holistic – introduced to mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and spent a lot of time identifying and starting to deal with the underlying issues. Very grateful to have had the opportunity to focus on myself and put my recovery first. I go to mostly women’s meetings, and have met an amazing tribe of women that I’m proud to call close friends. The women’s meetings are so different from mixed meetings – more open, honest, and the safety of the room allows for a level of vulnerability that you just can’t have in a mixed meeting. I am the child of alcholics – but like the reader above – this fact was swept under the carpet – and I’m presently watching the disease take down my family. I’m that anomalie where I lost my family of origin in sobriety…I didn’t get them back. However, what I did get in sobriety is a spirtitaul program that got me reconnected with nature, tools to deal with life in a healthier way, a new family of my choosing, the opportunity to give back to women who are just starting down the path of recovery, and an amazing community that gets me. I look forward to your book!

  32. Nora says:

    My sister died, I left my alcoholic husband (of 27 years) for the man who I was having an affair, he was sober and I knew I needed to be too. Never went to rehab. I was three years sober, when I let me ex husband get into my head. I did not reach out to anyone and I cracked open a bottle of wine and then another and so it goes. I never told anyone. Today I have 15 months sober. Still with the same man, but fighting demons everyday!! I have been to therapy and AA meetings. I have a sponsor.
    I need to let go and let God. One day at a time. I, too am looking forward to your book.

  33. Rebecca says:

    Hi Kim: I am 28 years sober alcohol and valium were my demons. I was in rehab in the late 80’s and stayed in aftercare for 6 months. First attended mix AA meetings and found the sickest man in the room to be my higher power. Easy to get into relationships, hell to get out. Started attending women’s AA meetings and found my tribe. I have shared my most intimate secrets with women whose last names I do not know. My first higher power was a hummingbird and although I can’t explain to you what my higher power is today, it simply is. There was a woman in my first women’s meeting that was dying of cancer. She showed up each week until she died. She was an example of grace and dignity and I desperately wanted that–so I showed up and continue to do so. Sometimes my ism speaks louder than my program, but then I see things like this and my world gets right again. Thanks to everyone that shared here.

  34. Mary Mc says:

    I have 15 years today! I am still so grateful I am sober. I am grateful I fell so hard that I didn’t want to go down to that place ever again. AA is what I believe still helps keep me sober. Differently than when I first came in, but keeps me accountable. I had years sober before this but never could get honest, didn’t believe I was an alcoholic, just drug addict, maybe it was a bad phase in life and a ton of self pity. Sobriety just didn’t work after awhile. Not everyone wants it, I’m just grateful I do. I’m grateful you are too!

  35. Tracy says:

    I have been sober a little over 5 years and I attribute that to my higher power (it truly doesn’t matter how you define that – let’s say a universe that wants the best for you and everyone else), going to AA meetings regularly and my willingness to listen to my sponsor’s suggestions and to understand that my best thinking is flawed. In women’s meetings I hear strong women being honest about their egos, their feelings of inferiority and quashing those through courage and looking after other people. I was a closet drinker – AA and women’s meetings especially gave me my interior and exterior lives back. I am so grateful. I wish you the love and life you deserve – good on you for taking this chance to claim those for yourself.