When asked to write my recovery story, I immediately braced myself and felt the fear. This is what alcoholism and addiction want. I’ve been sober since July 12, 2005, and it still can feed me lies. Recovery has taught me to walk through the fear and do things anyway, recovery has never failed me.
How it all started
Alcohol worked, drugs worked, they numbed the pain, blocked out my traumas, they comforted me. My first drink was at age 15, and I was able to relax, and the fear left. The problem was that I fell in love with that feeling and chased it for 13 years after that. I chased it through years of chaos. The crises that were created from my drinking and poor behaviors were exhausting, and sometimes life-threatening. I thought my situation to be hopeless and I’m sure others did too. I was hurt, angry, and in my mind, a victim.
Then came surrender. I felt defeated and asked for help. I found a treatment center online and called myself. Talking to the admissions person was a relief that day, I felt understood. My recovery journey started rough, within a week I called to tell my family, “I think I’ve made a mistake, please get me out of here.” Thank God they didn’t cave.
A new beginning
When my life in recovery started, I was confused and terrified. I wasn’t religious, but I asked for a bible, I was looking for answers. I wanted to know what was wrong with me, why I felt so lost and different from everyone else. I craved a connection with others and was also terrified of it.
After 28 days of treatment, I was sent further south to Delray Beach, Florida. I was given $20 in cash and had my entry to a halfway house paid to get me started. I walked to a local restaurant and got a job waiting tables on my second day in Delray. I was terrified. I fully recognized, with some help, how much I was driven by fear. The fear told me to go home, that I’d never make it. I sat and I felt it. I sat in my twin bed and cried, I sat on the beach and cried, I sat in as many AA meetings as I could get to, and I cried there too. I didn’t run, though, I just sat uncomfortably.
Embracing the recovery journey
I didn’t do anything perfectly, but I did get a sponsor. I was her first sponsee, she didn’t know what she was doing yet either, but I felt like she cared. She also terrified me, as she seemed extremely happy and excited about life. I let her lead me and she led me away from my fear, to a relationship with the God of my understanding. It’s never failed me. The fear lies to me still today, but the faith I developed has never failed me.
In recovery, I’ve experienced great loss and pain. During those times, I look at the road behind me and remember that if I sit and tolerate the things that have felt intolerable, I will come through stronger. “It’s always darkest before the dawn” has been my mantra. I can now connect with others, something I lost in my early years of trauma. I’ve also learned how to sit in other peoples’ discomfort, a huge gift as well.
Hope and faith for the future
Today, life is full. I’m married to an amazing man; we are both breaking old generational family patterns. Recovery has provided my children with a mother that shows up, a mother that validates their feelings, sets healthy boundaries for them, and loves them unconditionally. I’ve done things I never thought possible in recovery, and I have no doubt that if I keep moving forward, it will only get better.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction or mental health concern, it can be challenging to manage treatment and recovery options on your own. At Feinberg Consulting, our team of highly trained professionals is here to help you find the proper treatment and recovery resources. Contact us today to learn more at 877.538.5425
Amy D’Archangelo, BS, CAC
Clinical Manager | Interventionist | Recovery & Family Coach
I graduated from Lynn University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I am also a Certified Addiction Counselor who is passionate about helping families and clients. My passion began after finding my way into recovery in 2005. I began my journey helping others while managing a sober living facility with over 75 beds. I then worked at Caron Renaissance for over eleven years, first as a Supervisor Counselor Assistant and the last six years as a Family Therapist. While there, I helped families develop their own programs of recovery, challenged unhealthy family patterns, and helped families improve communication to help heal.