“Oh My God” (OMG) is it 7 in the morning or 7 in the evening? Is it Sunday or Monday . . . and where am I? These questions were a normal part of my life upon awakening, “lost” in a world of partying and drinking to excess and too often!
Despite efforts to stop this pattern of physical, mental, spiritual and financial self-destruction, I was unable to stay stopped, feeling, “oh well, what’s the point” I’m a loser and worthless sad piece of crap! Maybe I can start over if I move! So I moved to Ohio, Alabama, back to Ohio, back to Alabama, then back to Ohio, with frequent long visits in Maryland and New Jersey as well, but the same old patterns and feelings always returned! Finally after 7 years of moving and 14 years of relapsing, I made a call for help when I no longer wanted to live and when the fear of the moment was worse than the fear of the future.
I arrived back in St.Louis with my brother’s help and moved into a women’s house on S.Broadway for 90 days. Despite feeling like I was in a military “boot camp”, it was a safe place with an address, phone, a counselor, a job, etc, providing me an opportunity to “start over” with guidance, meetings and healthier patterns.
After 90 days I moved into a different women’s transitional house; however, again I encountered difficulties and conflicts with gray areas, rule bending and cliques, so I still felt alone and different, but continued focusing on my job, meetings, restoring physical healthiness, family communications, prayer and meditation, but I often felt like a robot going through the motions of life, but still feeling the “Four Horsemen” (Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration and Despair) running in my life! It was very uncomfortable and shocking to run into naked men at 2am in the hallway, and so many overnight guests practically living in the house! But, I did stay sober!
Thank God, after 1-1/2 years of this new journey, I got a sponsor and started a new phase of growth development, discovering that self-centeredness, (control) and resentments (anger) were the chains binding me . . . whether they are obvious or subtle, justified or unjustified, this binding was still an anchor keeping me underneath it’s heavy weight!
I felt ready for another phase of development in my life, but also had financial and other areas needing attention, so I was not ready to live alone! BFGG (but for the grace of God) on 04/04/09 I had the opportunity to move into the newly-opened Hilljack House for Women . . . being the first resident, the first President and Treasurer, was a little fearful and overwhelming at times, but with the love and support of a sponsor and loving friends and a patient house manager, we made it through the trials and errors of Hilljack’s 1st Women’s House!
I learned more about negotiating, responsibility of self and of group-as-a-whole, examining my part in the whole picture, defining boundaries, singleness of purpose, service work, and trying to do the right things for the right reasons!
Hilljack House offered new freedoms and choices along with opportunities for social events, holiday festivities, as well as support groups, meetings, fund-raising events, referral assistance, workshops, savings program, and educational opportunities.
Respect for others was also displayed with a policy of no sexual activities and no over-night guests in the houses (thank you Board).
When my 2-year residency ended, I was able to move to my own place with 4-1/2 years into my journey . . . WOW and BFGG! I try, each day, to live with the principle of gratitude, the priority of gratitude, the propriety of gratitude, and the purpose of gratitude; while also trying to fully understand the magnitude of gratitude. Today I say “Good morning God” not “Good God, it’s morning!”
My story starts at the Salvation Army, where I completed their rehabilitation program. Then I got a room at the Hilljack House. I worked as a temp at Cardinal Glennon Hospital for 3 months. When a position as a baker came up, I applied and got it. I worked that job for 3 years and was introduced to S.A.W. (School at Work). I completed the program and shadowed a Surgical Technician and I knew that is what I wanted to do. Now I am a Surgical Technician and attending school to earn an Associate’s Degree. Thanks to the Hilljack House providing affordable and safe housing and school program that help me. The Next Step helped me with school, the saving program helped me save for the house that I’m in today. I used for 25 to 30 years. I have 8 years clean and counting. I was very blessed to have come through the Hilljack House. I met my sponsor there and to this day he is still my sponsor. I am a proud 55 year old, optimistic about a bright, sober future.