Photo taken by first-time contributor, Meg. Meg is a recovered alcoholic who has discovered not only how glorious life can be, but that everyone can have access to such joy. She has found purpose in supporting people in, not only living lives they love, but in designing the very lives they want to be living. She is a Certified Life Coach and master communicator; an advocate for people’s voices to be heard. She publishes an advice blog, Take It from Meg. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, particularly outdoors, and especially on her bicycle.
About this photo: “I couldn’t get out of bed. I don’t think I wanted to. But I wanted to want to. I’d stumble into the bathroom and avoid the mirror. I couldn’t stand the sight of myself. I was bloated and pale, with dark and empty eyes. I couldn’t stand what I had become. I was once beautiful, though I’d be the last to let those words escape my lips. I had empty hopes that people who called me beautiful weren’t lying just to help me save face. I hadn’t liked myself for as long as I could remember. But this hatred, this loathing, this heartless disdain for myself; this was new.
I used to love to drink and get high. I felt free and alive. I felt empowered and powerful. I felt beautiful and witty. I felt charming and intelligent. A change occurred so slowly I hardly noticed it. I used to need to drink and get high. I couldn’t leave the safety of my bed without the glimmer of hope that oblivion brought me. I had reached what is called the jumping off point – I couldn’t imagine my life continuing on the way it was, and I couldn’t imagine what life would look like without the aid of drugs or alcohol.
With an infant depending on me, I knew I had to make a turn. The very direction of my life needed to shift if this kid was going to have even the slightest fighting chance. The turn I took was into the church basements of Alcoholics Anonymous. I learned there that I wasn’t bad, or horrid. I learned that I had a disease that had the best of me. I learned that there was a way out.
I began to make new choices. I did what I was told: I called sober women every day, I prayed every day, I went to an AA meeting every day, I got out of an abusive, alcohol-infused marriage. With a sponsor, I worked the 12 steps of AA as outlined in the “big book,” Alcoholics Anonymous. Life began to stop hurting. Then I started to feel good. Things got better. Life got better. I got better.
My last abuse of substance was March 13, 2002. Next week will mark 11 years of continuous sobriety. Simply writing those words brings tears to my eyes. I do not know what grateful enough looks like, but I strive for it. The blessings I have received are countless and, some days, unfathomable. I still deal with self-esteem and body issues, but they don’t plague me. And I no longer obsess over anything. Really, anything. I used to obsess over everything.
Today, I’m free. I’m free, to never again live that existence I once lived. I’m free to live my life, to LOVE my life! I’m free to experience my feelings without being overcome by them. I’m free to accept true love and acceptance from others. Today, I’m not only Meg, an alcoholic. I am Meg, a recovered alcoholic. I have recovered from the hopeless state of mind and body that is described in the big book. I have been raised from a mere existence, and set on my feet to walk among the living, being grateful for every breath I get to breathe.
Today that once infant child is an awe-strikingly wise and astute 11-year-old boy. To the picture that is life I’ve added his brother, now 3. I met, and married, a man who is one of the most spectacular and inspiring people I’ve ever known. That he chose me with whom he walks through life is extraordinary.
Everything I have today, everything I have to offer today, is a credit to Alcoholics Anonymous, its incredibly generous and loving members, the power greater than myself – whom I choose to call God – that I found there, and my willingness to do the work to get well, one day at a time.
*This picture was taken at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO. The image is a perfect example of how my son and I have persevered, taking life on, becoming stronger and stronger.“