Amy B. joins us today on The SHAIR Podcast, and Amy got sober 10 years ago using 12-step recovery. Most recently she became a recovery coach and is participating in an internship with a long-term up to two years sober treatment living facility. She joins us today to share with us her unbelievable battle with alcohol and her inspirational journey into recovery.
Clean Date: August 4, 2006
Below are few questions Amy answered for us on the show.
Omar: So tell us what is your anniversary date?
Amy B. : My anniversary date is August 4th. I did the calendar thing, and I have 3,927 days.
Omar: How old you were the first time you drank or used drugs, and more importantly, how did they make you feel?
Amy B. : It was the month I turned 13, and it was absolutely one of the most memorable events of my entire life. It was the first time I felt complete, I found my missing piece and I thought, no wonder my mom kept warning me about this because she maybe avoids fun. I thought it was the bomb. I’m not a puker, so I never really experienced a lot of hangovers. I just thought, no wonder adults want to do this. I can tell you the outfit I was wearing, everything about it. It was just absolutely a turning point in my whole childhood.
Omar: What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Amy B. : I got sober from booze when I was shown the solution by people who I really believed and knew what I was talking about. The church ladies would say, “Just have a six-pack on Friday.” or, “Just have red wine with steak.” They didn’t know what they were talking about. They didn’t know about the obsession.
When I got around people that said, “It’s the first one, honey, that’s taking you out.” I’m like, “I’m not drunk on the first drink.” I’m like, “It’s like the eighth one.” I remember coming home in the first few weeks and saying to my husband, “You know what these people, they’re like geniuses.” He’s like, “What did they tell you?” I’m like, “It’s the first beer.” He’s like, “That doesn’t make any sense. You’re not drunk on the first beer.” I’m like, “It’s the engine on the train, not the caboose.” I was fascinated for months over that whole concept of don’t drink the first one. Get out of town. You guys must all have degrees, you know? I never heard such wisdom.
Omar: At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ah-hah moment in recovery when you accepted that you powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time had developed a hope that you could recover?
Amy B. : I was following a beer truck and praying it would break down in my driveway. There’s a liquor store somewhat close to my house, and I’m freaked out in my driveway. That was the first few weeks I was sober, and I had an epiphany. If that beer truck broke down in my driveway, at some point I’d be drinking the last beer, and I’d be thinking, oh God, I drank all that beer and now I got to go and find more. It really dawned on me that one is too many and 1,000 wouldn’t be enough. I’d drink that beer truck and I’d just be praying that another beer truck would come breakdown in my driveway. It was never going to be enough. I was never going to get that itch scratched. It was chasing a false hope.
Omar: Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?
Amy B. : Well, because I was so mentally disarranged, let’s say, I started just reading all the stories in the back of the big book, and people gave me AA Grapevine’s by the stacks. I devoured them because every story I would think, I thought like that. I could see the similarities, and it was like I found my people. I always felt like I was from the Land of Misfit Toys. Am I the one-eyed Jack-O-Lantern? I even have some of the stuffed animals people have given me because I share that a lot. You know? I finally found my herd. I found people that thought and acted like me, and they got out.
I devoured those Grapevine’s and the stories in the book because that’s how I figured out I’m an alcoholic. These people say they’re an alcoholic, and I’m doing the same stuff and thinking the same stuff. I must be an alcoholic. It was comforting, and I couldn’t read the first 164. I didn’t have the mental capabilities of all that. I think that’s why I love the podcast. I love the stories. I love the similarities.
Omar: What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Amy B. : Don’t give up until the miracle happens. A gentlemen on Friday nights who … He called me Miracle Girl. Every Friday night I would go into the meeting and Jim, his name happens to be Jim like my husband. He’d be like, “Did it happen?” I’m like, “Not yet, Jim.” When the miracle started happening, I’m like, “I got to start dressing better. I got to get a haircut. I’m like a walking miracle, you know.” One of the things that people say to me, they call me their Miracle Girl or Funny Amy. You know how we all have handles. I’m like, “As long as I’m not Old Amy, I’m okay. You guys call me whatever you need to call me.”
Once that miracle happened, the epiphany, the beer truck or leaving that booze in that house and that, just awed by gratitude of … Gosh. That year I stopped drinking alone when my kids were little, the obsession never left. Never left, until I actually did the program and got free from the obsession, whether I was drinking or not, I was in the obsession. My husband’s a normal drinker. When he’s drinking, I don’t wish I was. That’s freedom. That’s freedom.
Omar: If you could give a newcomer only one suggestion, what would that be?
Amy B. : Open your mind and try a real adventure. You can always go back to hell. Hell doesn’t close the door. When I sobered up, I couldn’t do one errand a day. I wasn’t able to get dressed and I couldn’t even take a shower most days. Now, there’s not enough time in a day to get all the things done I want to do. Now, I’m truly free. I never felt like an adult before and that was one of the things that kept me drinking. Now, I’m a full-fledged adult with the same responsibilities, but also the same freedoms as an adult. That’s my thing, just try it. Give it six months, give it a year. Give it whatever time limit, just try. I didn’t know there was this much grace in the world. I did the same thing for 30 years, and I got the same results. I tried something different for 10, and I now I can’t even imagine what’s on the horizon for me.
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.