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12 Steps to a New Way of Life

Updated on May 2, 2015

My Rock Bottom

It was a beautiful sunny day in Florida. A few friends and I got up early to catch the Key West Express to spend the day in Key West. The sun was barely peeking through the clouds as we made our way to the harbor after a quick breakfast at the Sunshine Café. We were tired and still recovering from the night before, but we were ready and excited for the day ahead.

Every day was a weekend to us. We worked in the hospitality industry which meant we worked at night, went out partying afterwards, and slept in late. I made decent money, enough to get by and enough to party with my friends. That was my life; Sleep, work, and party. This was what I was used to and had been doing for quite a long time. I thought it was what made me happy. I thought I was enjoying life.

When we got to Key West that day, I vowed I wasn't going to drink. I needed to save money and to prove that I didn't have to drink to have fun. I had recently been drinking a little too much and had behaved like a buffoon a few times, so I was told. So, we strolled around downtown stopping at all of the prominent and trendy sites, restaurants, and bars. I believe I made it until the third stop when I resolved to get a drink. "Screw it!" I said. "I am in Key West and I deserve to have fun just like everyone else!" And I got my first drink, which of course lead to several.

After a full day of drinking in the sun and wandering through every bar in Key West, we were all pretty inebriated and had to scramble to catch the boat in time to get back to Fort Myers. We barely made it and it was a nauseating ride home. There were people barfing everywhere, but still we consumed more alcohol. When we got home we continued to hang out and drink for a few more hours. Almost everyone had passed out or gone home around 12:00am. I was still awake and had gotten into a bit of an argument with a friend, so I had decided that I wanted to get out of the house. I snagged my friends car keys and headed to the closest bar I knew I would find some friends at.

I remember bits and pieces of that night, July 31st, 2010 was the date. I got to the bar, ran into a group of people I knew and continued drinking. The people who saw me that night claim that they attempted to take my keys, but I refused to let them. Apparently, I had decided that I wanted to go dancing at a bar not far from where we were, and I was determined to drive myself there.

When I awoke from my blackout I was in the holding area of the downtown jail. I was handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit, sitting next to a girl who was somehow entertained by me and kept telling me how comical I was. I sat there quietly until I was transported in a van with no windows to the county women's jail, where I was put in a drunk tank with two other girls that reeked of booze and cigarettes. That was the worst night of my life.

My life was forever transformed that day. I will always be eternally grateful for all of the lessons I learned after that night, and for the new way of life I found in recovery.

I had to work two jobs to pay off my debts from the DUI. I completed sixty-five hours of community service, and I walked, took the bus or accepted rides from people because I lost my license. I had to attend DUI classes and counseling where I learned how lucky I was to have not killed myself or someone else by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. I experienced humility first hand and flourished from it.

In recovery I had the drive to success and I strived to improve myself. I volunteered my time to help people in need and my fellows in recovery. I completed my twelve steps. I became a stronger, more honest and free, self-sufficient individual. I grew to cherish my life. Most importantly, I stayed sober and I had fun while doing it. I learned how to really live and enjoy my life, one day at a time.

I found a higher power and trusted in that higher power to get me through anything, and it did. It still does every day. I have a full time job, I go to school, I volunteer when I have the free time, and I am grateful for all that I have. I have incredible people in my life that care about me and that I can rely on, and they can rely on me. I don't go out and party all of the time anymore, or sleep all day. I am undoubtedly enjoying my life to the fullest, and I can honestly say that I now recognize what it is like to be genuinely happy.


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