In December 2009, my disease of alcoholism and addiction bought me to my knees. I was living in Dallas, TX and had no idea what to do. I was sure I would die from my alcoholism and had no where else to turn. Luckily, my addiction therapist there knew where to send me. He recommended that I check myself into The Retreat for 30 days and transition from there into sober living in St. Paul, MN. That was a scary idea for me. To be all the way in cold Minnesota from so far away! I had no idea what a sober house was, or if it would even help me. But anything sounded better than what I was doing in Texas. With the help of my family, I made the decision to relocate to Minnesota for about 7 months; and I’m still sober and still in St. Paul 3 and ½ years later! I couldn’t be happier with my life today.
Making the decision to check myself into The Retreat for 30 days was beyond helpful. But I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to enter St. Paul Sober Living for the six months after that. The sober house was where I was given the practice applying what I had learned at The Retreat. When I first got sober, I had no idea how to live my life. Things that seemed so simple to others were extremely difficult for me. At the sober house, I learned how to do what I said I was going to do, when I said I was going to do it. Because of the expectations of my house manager and the women I lived with, I learned to be accountable. I had a curfew, I had to maintain employment, I had to keep my space clean. I had to do my own grocery shopping. I had to meet with my sponsor and actually work the steps. I had to be transparent with my roommates about what was going on with me. I learned how to be a friend to other women. But most importantly, by doing all of those things, I built up my self esteem again. For the first time in a long time, I was showing up with integrity in my life. When I got to the sober house I hated myself and I was depressed about the way my life had turned out. When I left six months later, I was employed, had friends and hobbies. I had a strong sponsor that the women in my house helped me to find. When I first got sober, I didn’t really know who I was. Six months later, I was well on the way to finding out.
Today I have the privilege of working with women in recovery for a living. For me, hindsight is extremely powerful. I can see today that I wouldn’t have stayed sober if I returned home. 30 days was not enough for me. Returning home to old behaviors and family dynamics would have made it very difficult, if not impossible to stay sober. The sober house was not easy, but I can honestly say looking back that it was filled with opportunities to learn about myself and how to be a good, honest person in sobriety. It was so much FUN to learn those things surrounded by other women who were also in the process of learning them. I’m forever grateful to SPSL for giving me a chance to change my life.