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.

About the Author

Jade Sexton is the Director of Billing at Wasatch Crest. Jade has worked exclusively in the substance abuse treatment field, specializing in medical billing for eight years. Jade does everything in her power to make recovery financially possible for clients and their families so that they can focus on what’s really important—overcoming addiction.

When she’s not helping clients bypass barriers to treatment, Jade loves to hike, garden, and explore Utah with her family. She is also active in the recovery community, where she uses her experience, strength, and hope to help other women recover from addiction. She feels fortunate to be surrounded by the awe-inspiring mountains every day at Wasatch Crest, which has enhanced her spiritual life tenfold.

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