She was shy and never fit in. But after that first drink, things changed.
She was a shy teenager with few friends. She felt as though she never fit in. But after Michelle took that first drink in high school, things changed. Alcohol relaxed her. She could talk to people and laugh.
At first, she would drink occasionally, just to feel comfortable. By her 20s, she was partying and going to clubs, drinking more and more. She started having blackouts. Still, she kept drinking. She lost her family, her home, and her business. Michelle knew she was addicted, and she wanted to stop. But when she did, she got sick. So she kept on drinking.
“Women struggle in recovery. Women have a harder time, but women do recover. We tend to take care of everybody but ourselves. But women do recover. I’m living proof.”
“I didn’t buy into the process of recovery in the beginning,” Michelle said. “I thought it was BS. I was going to be smarter than everybody else. I thought that I could still drink. Well, that proved to be wrong.” Michelle went into treatment three times but relapsed every time. “It got worse. This bottle had become my life, so what am I going to do now?”
What she did was go back to treatment for a fourth time. But this time, Michelle had a thought that stuck with her and made all the difference. She realized, “The disease doesn’t change, so I’ll have to.” She was determined to make it this time — and she did. At first, she had a few months of sobriety, then a year and another year, and soon it was eight years.
“None of us can do this by ourselves,” Michelle said. “If we could, then we probably would have. But that’s not how it works.” One day at a time, Michelle makes a conscious decision not to drink and to do things that bring her joy and maintain her recovery. “I now have a business where I do my baking. I sell all kinds of treats. And it brings me joy.”
Michelle admits her life isn’t perfect, but it’s better. “Today, I’m able to take care of Michelle. I’m a woman in long-term recovery.”
“Whether it be drugs or alcohol or hoarding or shopping or gambling, none of us got here gracefully,” Michelle said. “The world beats us up enough. Give yourself a break, give yourself a chance. Recovery works if you work it. I’m a living, breathing, walking miracle.”
Today Michelle works in recovery as a Certified DC Peer counselor and has a thriving bakery business.