Women in recovery – Joanna

My addiction progressed very quickly and to my despair,

I would soon wake up in withdrawal. I didn’t know what withdrawals were like but now, I never want to forget. I thought to myself, “I must be getting sick” as my stuffy nose lingered, the sweat was overwhelming and the aches hurt to the bone. I should’ve known what this was since it had been all around me but denial made me believe I was different. Comical now when I think about it because addiction does not discriminate, no one in its vices is different. My disease in addiction continued downhill, the days I thought I would quit drugs and alcohol would be postponed till the next day, next week, and next month until everything was gone. I was gone. I decided it was time to really get this out of my system so I could continue on with my “normal” life. 7 days I set aside for this process and after I was clear of it being in my system, the withdrawals had subsided, I still couldn’t figure out why getting high consumed my mind. 10 days later, I picked up again.

My car, my home, and my job were so far out of arm’s length. My true self was, not even in sight. I went to detox for my first time where an AA meeting was held. I knew I belong to this group, and that was where I was meant to be, but I wasn’t ready. I convinced myself that I was an addict and not an alcoholic which I now see is one and the same.

Drinking took over and was very unpredictable.

I changed types of alcohol, the people I surrounded myself with while drinking, and places I went. Nothing made a difference. I was still a blackout drinker with no recollection of each night I drank. Drinking quickly lead to using and using promptly lead to loss of everything again. Detox, for the second time, I had more clarity. I gave up, or so I had thought. The 12-steps of alcoholics anonymous saved my life, not immediately but eventually. I had quit AA for a while and became miserable in my life. I felt I had no purpose and a drink was close by. I wasn’t willing to pray, but I was desperate for help, to which I found myself crying on my hands and knees. The next day god made his presence apparent in my life. I 180ed my life and jumped back into AA.


This time I was petrified to relapse and desperately confessed to another woman, a complete stranger, the struggles I was going through.

I told her I was going to relapse any day but didn’t want to. The next day she opened the book of Alcoholics Anonymous with me. We worked through the steps quickly until the fourth step came about. I had almost a year of sobriety. She wanted me to hold on and go into the depth of every aspect of my life to which I did. I took months upon months to finish, phone calls of wanting to quit occurred frequently but she pushed me through. Once I shared this fearless moral inventory with another human being and god, a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I sat in peace for an hour finally feeling okay. I wish I could stay in that moment of blissfulness forever. We continued through the steps, and my spirituality only continued to grow as well. I can sponsor women today; I give back to my program as much as possible since it has given me the most significant gift of all, the will to live. Life by no means is easy, but with the support and tools I have gained through AA, I wouldn’t be able to experience life period. The good times, the bad times, and everything in-between. I am forever grateful to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am a woman in recovery;

I am Joanna, Alcoholic.