By Wasatch Crest Team Member Jade S.
My name is Jade, and I am an alcoholic. I grew up in Florida, and I am the youngest of three. By the time I came along, the abusive environment was so bad my mother had to get a restraining order against my father. My parents divorced shortly after my second birthday. I have no memories of them together, and the only memories I have of them in the same space is when they would meet at truck stops to exchange us, as a part of the custody agreement. We have never done shared birthdays or holidays, and my mother would always say, “I won’t be in the same room as your father unless a court orders it.”
We moved around every year, so we were always the new kids at school. We always got picked on, and were always bullied. We also had a hard time with the schoolwork, as we were always playing catch up. Once we would get settled, we would move again. I could not wait for that first drink at 12. We had just moved to California, and I was the new kid yet again, thousands of miles from home. My friend and I drank everything in her mom’s liquor cabinet. I remember blacking out, and somehow managed to get home. A few hours later, the police stood at my door telling my mother I was suspected of stealing a car. For non-alcoholics, that would be enough for them to never want to drink again. But for me, I had finally found an escape — something that took all those years of pain away — and I couldn’t wait to do it again.
That drink and all the other things I tried and abused filled that void. It also came with consequences. I could never just have one, two or three. I soon got arrested, and kept on getting kicked out of school. Sophomore year, I was expelled from my high school in Brea, CA and in Orlando, FL in the same month. Oh yeah, I forgot…my mom got tired of filing missing person reports and shipped me off to live with my dad as her final straw. I don’t blame her one bit, I was probably going to die out there had she not sent me away. But as any good alcoholic, wherever I go I will find what I need.
A lot of demoralization happened after high school. There is nothing uglier than a female drunk. I lived to drink and was just chasing that elusive feeling of being numb. It was all demoralization. I got sober at 22, by taking my sister’s suggestion and going to Alcoholics Anonymous on July 18, 2011. I had an outstanding warrant, and a huge fine to pay with not a lot of time to pay it. So, my option was to go to meetings, get a sponsor, and work the steps. It was suggested I get commitments at meetings, and by doing so I was able to immerse myself in the fellowship of AA. Those commitments were key for me to establish a foundation. I needed to be accountable, and learn how to show up for others, and in turn I showed up for myself. I have held many service commitments, but I became most passionate about General Service (GSR), specifically the Public Information Committee.
As far as employment goes – I got a job through a woman I met at a meeting, and I paid off my court fines with enough time to avoid jail. I moved into sober living at eight and a half months sober, and I eventually found work in the recovery field when I was nine months sober. I started out as support staff, then became a janitor for about six months. I then was asked to file papers in the billing department, and the director gave me the best gift, the gift of faith. Faith that I could do more with my life. She taught me how to be a medical biller. That faith has allowed me to develop a skill set that has defined my adult life. I love that I can help clients by assuring that their health insurance does not fail them. This is my way of helping people that suffer from the same disease I do.
Today, I have a family of my own with my boyfriend of almost seven years. We have a happy nerdy home with our daughters Belle and Scarlett. I have continued to work hard at my spiritual life, and I have found that my relationship with a higher power has to come first. I still go to meetings, work with my sponsor, and remain teachable. I have made many mistakes over the last nine years, but I have been able to break the cycle of alcoholism and abuse. For that, I am eternally grateful.