Submitted by: Bo Brown
When I look back to my childhood, I realize that my first friend was my disease. That small voice was constantly with me, whispering in my ear that I was different, telling me that no one could love me for just being me, telling me I wasn’t good enough, and that I would always be alone.
No one could see that I was struggling when I was growing up, because I was an incredible actress. I was creative, funny, and I did well in school. I was also a big, phony fake. As I entered my teenage years, I stumbled across this magical potion that changed everything… ALCOHOL!
With the first sip, that voice in my head changed its tune. Now it said, “This is it.” From that point on, I spent the next 11 years looking for comfort in the bottom of bottles, baggies, and basically anything that was available on any given day. My life became empty, and my spirit crawled deep inside and hid in a very dark hole. I pushed everyone away and I became what my disease told me I was: worthless. For eleven years of active addiction, I was unable to be anything other than my disease. I put my family and friends through an array of horrors. I hurt them repeatedly and buried my spirit under a mountain of shame.
Then something wonderful happened: I got arrested (again). This is what led me to finally entering a 28-day inpatient treatment center in Nashville.
They taught me how to quiet the negative voice, and helped me coax my spirit out of hiding. They taught me to give my shame to God and let Him carry the pain. They showed me a world called “recovery”, and I found people like me that also shared the same struggles, but they were happy and recovering.
I started using service work as a way to practice what I was learning in the rooms. Getting outside of myself was the best way to practice spiritual principles and pass on the gift of recovery. Eventually, I began working at the treatment center where I was once a patient. Today I am the alumni coordinator for that treatment center. I get to spend my time in a place that saved my life, doing work that touches the lives of not only the alumni but their family and friends as well.
My name is Jaime and I am addict. I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend and a proud member of 12-step recovery. I am loved today, and just for today, I believe that with all of my heart. I have no use for the voice of my disease today, because today I am free.