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Matters of Substance: A New Freedom, Anita’s story of Alcoholics Anonymous

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By Danielle Owen, IIIC Director of Wellness and Education Services

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.” The Promises of Recovery taken from “Alcoholics Anonymous” otherwise known as the Big Book (pages #83-84).

"My name is Anita and I'm an alcoholic and prescription drug addict. I have been sober for nearly 5 years and sometimes I can't quite believe how I survived. I had lots of reasons to use but ignored all the reasons I had to quit, for a long time. I literally lost everything. My husband and two daughters had to move back to Ireland because my behavior had become so crazy that restraining orders meant nothing to me. When I finally stayed in treatment for longer than 10 days: sanity hit me and I woke up to the devastation I had created around me.

I was so grateful that I couldn't leave the center at that time because the guilt and shame was so overwhelming, all I wanted to do was run away and drink myself into oblivion. I stayed. After 6 months I got a job and finally an apartment with one other sober person. It was really hard to get work initially; no one took me seriously and I had some many gaps in my CV, no one wanted to trust me with a job. A friend in my meeting suggested I apply as a volunteer at her elder care agency, reading to the seniors etc and so the staff got to know me and see how I really enjoyed chatting their residents. The boss suggested I apply for a 12 week CNA course, which I finished last year. They offered me work straight away and now I am putting the paperwork together to get my nursing associates degree.

I go to meetings 3-4 times a week, have a sponsor and finally plucked up the courage to phone my kid over 4 years ago. Now I get to see my girls whenever I want. When I am not in school, at meetings, with my kids or working I began to volunteer at a substance abuse prevention center for teens. I see them starting out the way I did but I'm getting a chance to chat with them in a way I wish someone had with me at home in Ballymun. I’m finally giving back and not taking anymore. My kids are beginning to trust that I won’t disappear again and I am finally friends with my ex-husband. I help newcomers in meetings and I am so grateful to be giving back to my community in a way that I wasn't able to before. I have a life now that I could never have dreamed of 5 years ago. Recovery happens!”

If you are curious about the promises of recovery, call Danielle at 617-542-7654 ext.14 or email her at dowen@iiicenter.org. Alternatively check out this website: http://www.aaboston.org

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