At the end of a year long relapse I found myself sitting in a jail cell not knowing how long I would be there. Worst case I would do 5-7 years, best case 1 year. More than 3,000 miles from home and feeling all the guilt and despair that comes along with a relapse I called my mother, “I am done, I do not want this life anymore, I am done”.
I will never forget that phone call I believe that was my first gift of desperation and moment of clarity. Fortunately, I had been to a treatment center and experienced AA before then so I had some tools that I knew I needed to put into use in order to gain serenity in the most non-serene place.
The jail I was in didn’t offer treatment or meetings and I was in a cell 23 hours of the day by myself. So I started reading the bible, and while I’ve never been a very religious person, I heard somethings I needed to and left the rest.
I had heard before that a grateful addict will never use so I began writing out a gratuity list in my cell, being grateful for a bed, food, for still being alive. I prayed every morning for the obsession to use to be taken from me and thanked God every night for keeping me sober (yes, using is still possible in jail). As my time progressed I felt a weight lifting off of me. I was still unsure of when I was getting released, but faith was growing inside me that no matter what I would be okay.
When my sentence came down, I was to serve one year and could have gotten out in six months if I worked in the jail. I knew in my heart that serving out my sentence and getting out would ultimately lead me to using again. I knew I needed to do something different. With the help of my mother, a mentor from the treatment center I was at before all this, and my lawyer, I was granted a furlough to a different treatment center. I was told I would serve the rest of my year out there, good time didn’t count on a furlough.
I got out and hit the ground running, “faith without works is dead”. I got a sponsor went to meetings everyday and started working my steps and even became a peer mentor to some of the woman at my treatment center. My trust and faith in a higher power had given me this fire inside, this motivation to chase sobriety like I used to chase my next high. Going in for a 6 month review of my furlough and still desperately missing my children and family 3,000 miles away, I decided I would take a long shot to see if I could possibly transfer my furlough back home. Still having the comfort of knowing no matter what happens, I will be OK as long as I am sober. I armed myself with everything I had done and accomplished since being furloughed. I brought all that in front of the judge and the unexpected happened. “Sentence satisfied” the judge said!
I was free and clear six months early to go home. I believe it was none of my doing directly, sure I had put in the footwork, but it all started with that mustard seed of faith, trust, and gratitude that made the fire for recovery rise inside of me. Now just shy of two years sober, I still do the same prayer with somethings added on, and I still practice gratitude everyday never forgetting where I have come from and what it took to get me here. Now I have been given the gift to be able to use and add on to that everyday so that I can stay in sobriety and help other to do the same.