On April 21, 2004, I had been beaten from the ground up emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I was not eating or sleeping anymore. The day before, I had been drinking and drugging, and at some point as the day progressed, I looked in the mirror and saw a 98-pound, 48-year-old woman with nowhere to go. The strain of getting up and looking for a drink or some Crack took a toll on me, and I realized I was not going to make it.
I started drinking when I was 19 years old, and the older I got the worse it became, until I realized at the age of 32 that I was an alcoholic.
On that day in 2004, I had already been to two programs, going back more than ten years, and I had not taken on the suggestions that I received when I was in there, so in 2004 I was back doing what I knew how to do, which was panhandling and hanging on the street all day and drinking until I was drunk.
I always believed in God and would pray, but when I knew I was doing wrong I would turn my back on him. This day I was so tired and I went into the restroom and cried out “God help me. I ask you to take the taste of Crack and alcohol out of my mouth.” Sitting quietly and still puffing, a voice came out of nowhere and said, “I already have. It’s up to you.”
I got up, left everything, and grabbed my suitcase, which I called “my house on wheels” because it had all of my possessions in it. I caught the bus and before I knew it I was at D.C. General Detox. Once I got there I was told that they no longer let you in at night and that I had to wait until 6:00 a.m. I left my “house on wheels” there, and I caught the bus and went back to where I had left my drinks and Crack.
But when I got there I could not get off the bus when I rang the bell. It was not me. It was like someone had me sit back down. I understood it to be God’s guidance. So I found myself still seated on the bus and headed back to D.C. General Detox. I slept in front of the building until the next morning; then I got admitted.
As I lay there I thought about my kids and how I had not been there for them since they were in high school. I’d missed out on a lot of graduations and wasn’t there for them when they needed me and some more. I’d not been talking to my mom and other family members because Crack and alcohol had taken a strong hold on me. I’m talking 16 of the worst years of my life.
Before I left detox I got me a sponsor and I wanted a residential program. I went to N Street Village and was told that I had to go to the shelter at night and back to N Street for the day until they could get me a bed. I walked down the street crying to God, “I want a program now, and if you put me in one now I will not go back to doing the things I was doing.”
The next thing I knew (15 or 20 minutes after talking to God) someone gave me a pamphlet that had “Samaritan Inns 28 Day Intensive Recovery Program” on it and had a phone number that I could call. I spoke with someone who seemed to know exactly what I was going through, and she interviewed me and asked me if I could make it there. I don’t know how but I did.
Once there I was so through with not having a place to live that I was ready to do everything that they asked me to do. After two weeks of being there I was asked if I wanted to go to Transitional Living. I think that was the best thing I had heard in a long time. I had been homeless for years and living with my daughter.
After my 28 days were up and I was accepted in Transition, one of the rules was to find a job, which I did after one month. I not only found a job but one that I had been doing off and on for 8 years (working when I wanted to, long enough to make money for my drinks and drugs). I realized that I was no longer homeless and had a chance in life.
Another rule was to save enough money so you could move out to SRO (Single Room Occupancy). That was even better; after my six months were up, I was really going somewhere now. Going to meetings and talking to my sponsor on a daily basis got me through a whole lot. After a year and 11 months God allowed me to buy a condo. Another year went by, and I bought a truck. I have since gotten married and traded the truck in for a brand new car. I am still in my job and am always recognized for a job well done by my superiors, and I get all kinds of recognition and awards.
I lost my future mother-in-law and brother-in-law in 2007, my mom in 2008, and my “play mom” also in 2008… and out of all of that I did not find it necessary to drink and drug.
My family and I are very close, and I could not have asked for anything better. I even have my grandchildren over to my house all the time. I will say this: praying, going to meetings and talking to your sponsor will get you a long way. If you are there where you are supposed to be, remember that God brought you there, and He will take you where you want to go but “it’s got to be up to you.”
When you get tired the way I did and you don’t know where or how you are going to eat or sleep, you have to make up your mind. God will only help if you give everything to him and get out of the way.