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  • Alumni Perspective: Changing Susan

    by Susan M. (Munro 2010)

    I became a problem drinker early in my youth and I continued off and on for decades with typical binge drinking. I was constantly challenging whoever was sharing my headspace. So you can see the intensity of the disease. Its killer instinct took over my fears and resentments, all the false opinions, hypocrisy and empty standards of my parents and in particular my own dishonour by abuse. I felt inferior, humiliated, and that God had abandoned me.

    Changing my selfish thinking and defeating attitudes came with brutal acceptance of what lay ahead after I sobered up and began clearing the debris of the previous 20 years. It has taken time to recover from the chaos; my road to destruction was long and wide. The effects of uncontrolled drinking while engaged in business, marriage and family relationships left a sea of sunken dreams and hopes.

    I was released from detox and began my recovery at the Munro Centre in 2010. I did not know about the Twelve Steps, sponsorship or fellowship but was willing to do anything, so that took care of the First Step: admitting that my life was unmanageable. Needing to believe that God would save me and care for me took me to the Second and Third Steps. Those first steps took me up, not down, and today you would not recognize me as the same person.

    But there I was, going from the safe haven of the Munro Centre to my home. This was not recommended. I had devised a plan to search out why our business was failing and just where the money was going. That was revealed; it seemed that the bookkeeper had seen an opportunity to steal. The tax department was after their money, too, plus penalties and interest. Support for this stage was a tireless accountant who ferreted out each transaction according to our books.

    Now, saving my marriage was doomed as alcohol was the third party there and the damage was done. I had the separation agreement drawn up and have now become more in control of myself and my future. Achieving this was no easy task. I just want to say that my partner and spouse is also in the program and recovering as well.

    Close to the reconciling of all these troubles and still finding my way through recovery, workers in an adjoining building caused a roof fire on my building resulting in the loss of my residence. But no lives were lost and that is the blessing, as there were four other families affected by this fire.

    I have found with recovery I have to be using information that will help me to recover in a manner that I can respect and help me find the serenity that I need, so that the “stinking thinking” heals and my mind can find peace and tranquility. Meditation is the way I use to cut the criticism in my head. I don’t need to listen and I can redirect the dialogue. I have a choice.

    I try to not take things personally, I am responsible, and procrastination has been defeated. Assumptions are always tricky so I try to always check them out and never leave anything to chance. This helps make things much clearer for me. I go to meetings, share with friends, have a sponsor and do the Steps. The step program is such that they are never finished; there is always something popping up that needs revisiting. And I found my way back to a laid back inner-city church. It’s a spiritual thing, and I wanted to be with people like us – compassionate and intense.

    Today I am a senior, enjoying freedom as I have never felt. Right now I’m working at a couple of volunteer jobs, tying up loose ends, and planning my next retreat, a visit to relatives and a host of interesting events coming in the spring.

    I’m also a Renascent alumna and I encourage you to join in our events as they connect us, improve us and enrich us. Let’s show ourselves and others that we can change and lead fulfilled lives. Happy days are here again!

    About the Authors

    Renascent Alumni
    Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email alumni@renascent.ca.