Running in Recovery

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November 23, 2016

By Michele Fry
photo collage of michele and her sober achievementsI will not go into my childhood, but to say the least, it was a nightmare. My childhood guided my thinking and helped to shape my image of myself. I saw an ugly, worthless, and never good enough person. I couldn’t live within my own skin. I didn’t know then, as I do now, that I had been dying inside since I was a young girl. The only way I knew how to cope, ease the pain, or just survive, was to drink. I didn’t want to feel or think about most things and drinking helped me escape it all. It’s what worked for me since my teen years. In the beginning, it was fun and gave me the courage to be who I thought I wanted to be and do certain activities that I was too scared to do otherwise.
Eventually, over time, alcohol no longer helped me and it was no longer fun. I couldn’t live with or without alcohol. It consumed my daily thoughts as to when, where, and how I was going to get my next drink. Alcohol had become my best friend and obsession. I started going to AA in 1997. I went to save my marriage, stop the pain, and learn to drink like normal people.  I did not accept nor want to be an alcoholic. So I just came around AA, found a sponsor, and worked certain steps. I started feeling better and made a few friends. I would relapse truly believing I either wasn’t going to drink that day or just have one or two. I was lying to my sponsor, working the steps in an order that suited me, and was just around AA which went on for several more years until July 11, 2002. I was not going to drink that day or so I told myself.
Between my guilt, shame, and obsession, I began drinking. As I was looking in the mirror, crying with a beer in my hand, I begged God to help me to stop drinking. I then proceeded to open another beer which gave me enough courage to go to a restaurant. I couldn’t seem to go or do very many things without drinking first. While at the restaurant with my daughter, which sad to say she was six at the time, I ordered a margarita, I only remember bits and pieces after that. I can remember being upset that I lost the keys to the vehicle and the waitress asking me if I wanted her to call me a cab. I thought she said she was calling the cops and I freaked out crying. I don’t remember doing it, but I had called a friend to pick us up. I actually drove home and had my friend take my daughter. Due to being in a blackout, I remember sitting in the driveway saying over and over again that I wanted to die. I woke up in a hospital and was then Baker Acted to a mental institution. The next day began my journey into recovery.
My sobriety date is July 12, 2002, and I thought it was the worst day of my life. I obviously didn’t truly know what rock bottom was until that day. I was scared to death, full of fear, shame, and guilt. The weight of feeling every emotion with no escape was almost unbearable. Not to mention the destruction and hurt I had caused my husband and daughter. That day I got on my knees and begged God to let me out. I had never been separated from my daughter and was crawling in my skin. After getting out, I had to cope and deal with the destruction of my actions. I went to an intensive outpatient program for six months and AA every day. During this time I found a sponsor who took me through the steps. I actually read the first 164 pages of the Big Book which had been suggested for years prior. I went to women meetings and gained a wonderful network. Although it was hard to open up at first, they loved me until I could finally love myself.
Bottom line, I was willing to go to any lengths to stay sober or I was going to die! I was finally able to get back into the workforce after a year and a half. By the Grace of God, I was hired by a wonderful company where I could give back what was so freely given to me. My family slowly but surely began trusting me again. I am so grateful for their love and support. I couldn’t take back the pain and damage but I could make amends. AA gave me the opportunity to see my daughter grow up and be there for her through some tough teen years. To be able to go through the experiences of my daughter’s prom, and more importantly, her HS graduation, was a gift from God and AA.  I can now do different activities and go places in sobriety that I never thought possible. Some of the simplest of things used to paralyze me, such as pumping gas, calling for pizza, or going to the grocery store by myself.
I have done many things in recovery but by far the most surprising is running. My husband introduced me to the JTC running group in September 2015. I began training for the Thanksgiving half marathon; 13.1 miles. I have run a handful of 5ks, a 10k, and 2 half marathons since last year. There are no limits to what you can do and accomplish in sobriety. My life is no longer run by the obsession with alcohol since I finally worked the first step 100% which gave me a solid foundation. Now, I chase the runner’s high in recovery. By picking up the simple kit of spiritual tools, talking with my sponsor, helping others, prayer, meditation, and gratitude, I am able to stay sober one day at a time. Remember, keep coming back! We can do it together and you are not alone. Give the gift of recovery to your family and loved ones.
I put in a Mother’s Day note from my daughter from 2015 that is priceless and all by the Grace of God and the AA program. She was six when I got sober and this was written to me when she was 19.

Mama,
Mother’s Day is classic but I thought why not be original. Anyhoo, let me start with Thank You, literally for everything. There hasn’t been a single thing that you haven’t tried to give or get for me even when a lot of times I didn’t deserve it. I can’t even begin to imagine what being my Mom is like. No one else could do it like you. I know a good amount of the time I’m a handful. We’ve been through just about it all and I’m not even in my 20s. But we’re a strong pair and we can get through anything. It’ll be easier one day. Maybe not as soon as we’d like, but at least we know it’s on its way. Honestly, I’m just glad I can still make ya laugh. I’m not even sure what to say anymore because it’s so clear the love and support that was, is, and always will be there. It’s said in all different ways even when it’s never actually said but shown. I’m grateful for our bond and that I get to come home and sit and relax with you and just vent. It’s a blessing to have you as a mama and a best friend in the greatest of ways. To me, you deserve the universe and all that surrounds it. Honest to God, I wholeheartedly believe that. One day I hope to help give you all that you truly want. You are my biggest supporter and inspiration to do anything and everything I can and want to ever be. One day I plan to give back in any way I can. So much I want to say but letting you know that I love and appreciate you every second of every day no matter what is by far the truest thing I could tell you.  
Jessie (Missy Moo)

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