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Crash to Compassion

A car crash. A hit and run. An innocent victim injured. Arrested by the police. ADUI. My bottom. Those who understand addiction were nothing but compassionate. Those who did not understand were scared, lost, or angry.

Like many others I suppose I started drinking like a normal person. I love people, socializing, having fun and in my life drinking was synonymous with socializing. It was fun when it was fun. But addiction runs deep in my genetics. I don’t know when I knew I had a problem but I believed I could continue to drink. I couldn’t imagine life without a drink. I too tried all the stuff that those in denial do to control the consumption and outcome. After a while, I began drinking alone. Typically in the evenings after all my work was done. I figured that since drinking in other’s presence had unpredictable outcomes this was a way to have my cake and eat it too. Besides I wasn’t hurting anyone. I wasn’t driving. I wasn’t embarrassing my family or friends this way. It was a lonely place. I was consumed with my love affair with alcohol. Strategically planning an opportunity to be alone with my drink.

I had become a classic closet drinker. I didn’t miss work, drink in the morning, get shakes or tremors. I was just lonely and preoccupied with the relief I felt when my brain was juiced. My relationships seemed good. Work was good. I was active in the community. I was that mom who gave, gave, gave. I ran with fun folks who loved to drink. But my marriage was strained. And rather than slow down and work on that we got caught up in the hamster wheel of life and for me alcohol numbed my cares and hurts. Only to feel again with no plan of action to work on what wasn’t working. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t check myself into a rehab two days after my DUI. God carried me, against every one of my family members and friends opinions, to go away to work on me.

You see, I thought I was different because of the tragedies in my childhood and losses in my twenties and thirties. I knew that I needed help, that I wasn’t well, and I knew alcohol wasn’t making my matters any better. But I had no idea what I was to learn and how much better my life would be. I went into rehab to learn and heal. It was there I was heard and I finally felt hope. I gradually began sorting all the jambalaya in my brain and heart. In the rehab I was introduced to the Caring Dentist Program. But I couldn’t sign a contract, I thought, then people that didn’t understand would think less of me. I was afraid to lose the trust and respect of my career. Ironically, I wasn’t afraid of losing trust and respect of my family and friends because I had Faith that that aspect of my life would work itself out. I wasn’t afraid of divorce or being on my own. I prayed that for our children’s sake that wouldn’t be, but that didn’t scare me nor worry me nearly as much as the idea of scarring my sacred career. How bizarre it sounds now. Because now I know the folks at the CDP understand compassionately. But after a few three months in rehab I wanted to be well. I wanted to be my best me. I needed a program. I needed accountability. I needed the best odds of not going back to where I had been. I had enough of insanity. I was committed to surrendering and taking suggestions so I signed on the dotted line. I believe God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

The first six months to first year were hell. I had no driver’s license and had to hit 90 meetings in 90 days. My marriage was a mess. My children and office needed me. Legal issues. And no alcohol to take me out of my head. It wasn’t easy. But the people I was surrounded by through the NCCDP loved me and respected me and showed me the way. Definitely a chapter in my life I keep close as this journey of sobriety continues. It’s been six years since “my crash”.

Making meetings inspire me and ever remind me of my early days. I’ve developed a healthy fear of a drink. Meetings are about staying sober by connecting with and helping people, socializing, and having fun. Without alcohol.

Today I am content and filled with gratitude. I think I’m more fun than ever!! I know I am happier than ever. And in case you are curious, my marriage is exceptional ;). Just for today I have a reprieve of my alcoholism based on my spiritual fitness. I am filled with gratitude for the NCCDP and the countless others who have given of themselves to help me.

… from a happy dentist in recovery …