- Mental Health
Submitted by: Amy Cooper
I was first introduced to the 12 steps in 1998 while I was trying to stay out of prison. At that time, I had a felony conviction as one of my friends passed from a drinking and driving accident. You would think that that would have been like my wake up moment. But my sobriety date did not happen until 2008. No one could have told me what to do. I didn’t change until I found myself in a psych ward. I decided that I was either going to find a way to be sober and happy or I would end up killing myself, which I knew I could not do. So, that was my prayer. I celebrated eight years of sobriety last year. My sobriety date August 20, 2008.
I would have to say that my biggest positive change is that I no longer live in guilt and remorse. I have a fun, awesome life.
I was finally led to a need for recovery once I was committed to a psych ward. They were like, “she’s crazy,” but it was a combination of my suicide attempt and a lot of pills and a lot of Jack Daniels.
My second facility was a substance abuse treatment facility, and at that time, my prayer changed. I had a moment of recognizing my own incomprehensible demoralization. Like, “how did I get here?” You know? I was a full-up until that point. I graduated from high school with a 4.4 GPA, I was in The National Honor Society and got a soccer scholarship to college and I played soccer at the collegiate level.
When I ended up in a psych ward I had to ask myself, “How did I get here?” Then my prayer finally changed from “God get me out of this one,” or “please don’t let them find the stash in the console that I forgot to do something with.” My new prayer was, “God I’ll do anything. I’m done, I’m done, and I can’t live like this anymore.”
I went down to Pembroke Pines right outside of Fort Lauderdale and work with an organization called Rockers in Recovery. I am going to own my own truth, but in all honesty, I have no idea what my life is supposed to look like. God does know, though, and I just go where He shows me. He puts these opportunities in front of me and I’m like, “that’s alright, that’s fine” and I will take any kind of opportunity by showing up and doing service work.
Rockers in Recovery came about because I was asked to play music at another facility and for their alumni weekend so I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” I showed up and I played for like, you know, for a couple hours. A staff member that works over there is involved with Rockers in Recovery, and without me knowing, he sent my YouTube channel to John Hollis who runs Rockers in Recovery.
Four days later, John called me and said, “I like your style and want you to come work with me.” I was like, “what are you talking about?” God just opened that all up and I have been working with them for three years now. I play the guitar and I sing because I have taken vocal lessons.
I’ve been around music pretty much my whole life. My dad went to school for music and he had a band and he’s very musically inclined and that was something that I was introduced to early on. But early in life, when I had to choose between music or athletics. I chose athletics. As soon as I did (in college), I really missed the music, so I picked up the guitar and I taught myself how to play. I never had anything planned, but I have been playing for over 20 years now. For so long, I didn’t think I had a purpose in life. I thought, “I’m just gonna die a drunk, a junkie, with no sense of purpose.”
One of the biggest blessings I have is that both my parents have sought recovery, and my mom’s been in Al-Anon for 17 years. My mom got introduced to recovery at my first treatment center. She reminds me that after she gave me enough rope she looked at me and she said, “Stacey you know the only way out is through it; you can’t get around this one.” That still sticks to me today.
One of many things this program has taught me is that when they are ready and they’ve hit that place of one hundred percent hopeless, and they are separate from divine help, I have an answer for them. But if they are afraid to commit, then maybe they do have to go drink some more; maybe they don’t understand what point you have to reach. But that is not necessarily the right way—that’s my gut thought, based on my truth.
I don’t share a lot of opinions, but one thing I’ve learned is I to not ever prevent an alcoholic from suffering, because they will only find healing in that darkness, with their hand out to God, when they ask for help. Why would I keep that from them? I can only share my experience, and when they’re not done they’re not done– it doesn’t matter what I tell them. I can only offer them a solution that otherwise they had not been able to find.
I hold my heart close when I am working with others in recovery. I was sitting with a woman the other day, working on step one with her. When you can see the lights come on and when you see that they’re able to identify the problem, it’s amazing. I know I can show them the solution through this program.