With sobriety, life's adventures have just begun

At 63, I’m experiencing the most magnificent adventure of my entire life! I’ve finally found the me that had been covered up by drugs and alcohol for 45 years.

As a teen in the 60s, I drank in junior high. Wanting bigger and better, I soon moved on to the drugs of the day – hash, opium, LSD, MDA, cocaine and then soapers (Quaaludes). At 18, I was hopelessly hooked on soapers. I convinced my distraught mother that a small southern girl’s college was the solution. I took a stash of pills with me, but when they were gone, that was it, I was done! Thus began my lifelong relationship with alcohol. My dad died of cancer when I was only 5, but I feel certain he was an alcoholic. I can see now, that as a youth I had no self-esteem, an adventurous spirt, and my alcoholic nature was already in place.

At 60, my alcoholism had progressed and I was drinking and smoking pot all of my waking hours. I was familiar with CAT and had faith that is was a good place to be. Little did I know that was the first day of a brand new life for me. Every single staff member was kind, loving and supportive. The program, schedule and rules were exactly right. I learned more about myself in one month than I’ve learned in my whole 63 years.

I am not a “God” girl and that idea had been hard for me to grasp in my recovery program. Several months into recovery and working the steps with my sponsor, it finally hit me. It wasn’t me that got me into CAT and kept me there. And it’s certainly not me that keeps me from picking up a drink or a pipe each day. Name it what you will, there IS a power greater than I that did this for me. Addiction is a disease and willpower has nothing to do with it!

CAT is where I learned to really cry, to laugh like a kid again and it’s where I found the Sandy I’ve been mourning these many years. When I need a bit of comforting, I go back in my head to that lovely sense of calm and safety I felt at CAT.

I want to tell people that there can come a day when your obsession to use disappears. You can be happy and have fun without drugs and alcohol. I mean, look at me! I just celebrated my one year clean and sober anniversary, something I never would have thought was possible before. My adventure has just begun!