Debbie Debbie’s Story
My name is Debbie and I am an alcoholic.
I never really got into any “real” trouble with my parents or in school, and if I did the consequences were easily forgotten. I was always very social and athletic, and it was all about “me.” I went to camp, traveled, attended college and graduate school and married and had 2 children. At the same time 3 things seemed to occur more and more as I drank: I would black-out, pass-out or run-out. I did not care, drinking was too important to me.
My family moved 10 years ago, and my Mother died shortly after. Things became even worse and I no longer knew how to handle my feelings. I remember when it all crossed the line: I started to drink during the day and slowly, I began to drink the second I got up in the morning until the moment I went to bed. My life became unmanageable. Detoxes and rehabs became my full-time job. I lost custody of my children. I no longer knew how to feel, I detached from everyone and myself.
However, I kept going to a 12-step program. There was something about being in the rooms. A message of hope that jived for me.
In August 2008, I got my 1st DWI and 5 months later, my 2nd DWI. None of this affected me; I could not see the damage I had done. It was an endless cycle: Rehab for about 3-5 months, think it was all knowledge, and go to the airport where 10 minutes later I’d be drunk at the airport bar. I went to over 20 rehabs and 30 detoxes.
Finally, my Judge had enough. In 2009 I was sent to a DWI correctional facility for 78 days. I was released, went to a program for 2 months, got home. Two months later, I drank and told on myself. I was on probation. The Judge informed my attorneys that she wanted me to go to a specific program for WHY I pick up instead of another “substance abuse” program. She said, “DBT.” I did some research and found a facility offered this type of therapy. I was sentenced to one year of treatment; I was banned from the state of New York. If I did pick up, jail was my consequence.
Starting April 24, 2010, I spent 3 months or so in inpatient care and 8 months or so in an intensive outpatient program. I was in sober living when in IOP, and this program changed my life!!!! They gave me the tools in which to live, and my 12-step program has given me the vocabulary. What clicked for me were 2 things. The first was DBT. Being as fortunate as I was to be there, having DBT 5 days a week, I am now able to visualize the components of this therapy. I am not the same person I was when I entered. The second is the facility CEO. She was able to see me for “my being,” she got me. I am very grateful to her, I always will be.
However; I did relapse-early March, 2011. I went to IOP and told the facility CEO truth. She said that I had 72 hours to come back sober, I knew that I could not, I was asked to leave. Rules are rules, and I was not ready at that point.
I flew home to NY. On April 6, 2011, I returned to court. I was hoping the Judge would give me “another” chance. No–I was sent to a correctional facility until October 19, 4 days before my children’s B’nai-Mitzvah. I detoxed in jail, not pretty. Before Memorial Day, 2011, my sister came to visit me and asked me if I ever checked myself for Breast Cancer-“no.” I went back to my cell that night and checked-I felt a lump. I went for tests, biopsies, etc. I had malignant Stage 2 Breast Cancer. After many, many appointments, I started chemotherapy in jail on July 26; I returned to court on July 27 and was released on a “conditional discharge.” I had a scram monitor on my ankle until March 2012 (3 extra months because of my history), Probation every Monday, IOP, a sober-companion through the first week of December, and a journal. I never, ever missed a meeting from July 27 until now, even though the journal is no longer required, (it ended in June). I had to get it signed. I had to learn for 14 months of a meeting daily that meetings are my medicine.
This has been the best year of my life!!!!! My children are back in my life-they sleep-over, unsupervised!!!! I speak at my 12-step meetings and carry the message to others. I live in the solution which I have found to be practicing DBT or reading the 1st 164 pages of the “Big Book.” I think sobriety is the most amazing deal ever!!!! Thank you for giving me another chance at life.