Impact StoriesLife-changing stories of hope, healing and wholeness
My love of alcohol started at an early age. I remember when I was little and had a cold, my mom would give me whiskey and honey to make me feel better. Oh, how I loved that taste and that feeling! As I got a little older, I began drinking at parties with other kids, and I remember waking up on the cold floor of my bathroom, after having passed out. I felt so guilty and full of shame for disappointing my parents, but that wasn’t enough to make me stop. As the years went on, I became involved in some unhealthy personal relationships, and I was introduced to stronger and stronger drugs, and I liked the way they made me feel. Somehow, I was able to keep a good job as a court reporter and give birth to twins, but my dependence on drugs kept growing.
I was lucky to have Steve in my life for twenty years. When we married, he became a wonderful stepfather to my children, and he loved me unconditionally, even though I didn’t deserve that love. He too, was an addict and although we both tried, many times, to get clean and stay sober, we would fall back into our old habits. My addiction was always worse than his and after twenty years, he had had enough, so I left. I became estranged from my children; I lived in my car for a while and eventually I reached out to my aunt for help. She had always been a stable, loving person in my life, and she helped me find a faith-based recovery center that changed my life.
My previous recovery attempts never included a religious component, but Shepherd’s Door was different. Trust in God was imbedded in their approach to recovery, and it was just what I needed. I successfully completed their program and stayed six months more to help with the new residents.
While I was at Shepherd’s Door, I heard about the ISP overnight retreat. I wanted to experience that peace that the women talked about, so I invited myself and I fell in love! The ISP retreat was the first place where I felt like I was accepted, I belonged, and I was loved! The leaders of the retreat were wonderful, and they made me feel at home. I became friends with them, and they invited me back to be a witness, then a facilitator and eventually, the team coordinator! The spiritual exercises and reflections that I’ve learned from ISP help me maintain my recovery every day.
God has blessed me in so many ways. Now I have a good job, working remotely, which has allowed me to reconnect and live close to my children and my grandchildren. The support I have received from my ISP team has made all the difference in my life. ISP a place where I know I belong and I continue to volunteer because I know it can change lives, making people feel loved and connected.