November 22nd was Thanksgiving Day in 1984. I had left my husband and I was broke. I thought broke meant I had no money and I was living with my parents again, but I was soon to learn that the broke I was experiencing had little to do with money.
My father had figured out that was something wrong. Why was his youngest not doing well? Why was she back living in his house and broke at 27? So as a good dad should do, he started talking to people, and that lead him to an inpatient drug/alcohol treatment center.
So, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, November 27th, my dad made an appointment for me to talk to the director. Trust me, no one said no to my father. The director told me I had a disease and that I needed to go directly over and check myself in for treatment. He said this was as serious as if I was bleeding on the street after a car accident. But I didn’t go – I had to pay for the drugs I had done over the weekend. So I met with my friend and paid for the drugs, and I had a couple of drinks. Only a couple. Honestly, that was less than I had at lunch on a normal day. I had told my dad I would go to treatment, so on Thursday, November 29th, that is exactly what I did. My parents even took me, like it was a special occasion.
I went to my first AA meeting that night, in the cafeteria of the hospital. It seemed like there weren’t many people at the meeting, but everyone there talked but me. I was too scared… I had no idea what this was, but I did know I was dying inside – like a soul death. The leader asked me, “Why are you here?” and I said “I am so scared.” Really that is all I knew.
As the days went on and the fog started to lift, I knew I had to make a change – my soul was begging for it. See, I didn’t plan to get sober. I had taken my briefcase, with all my paraphernalia in it, to my friend’s house. There were no drugs in the briefcase, are you kidding, I had used all of them.
My parents and I were in ‘family therapy’ one afternoon and I was talking about missing my grandmother. She was my saving grace and she had passed in March the year before. My dad didn’t want to hear that, but he did want to know the combination to my briefcase. Oh My God! My friend had taken my briefcase to my father.
You see, Grace was with me from the very beginning! I will share more about my journey on the road to recovery that I still continue to this day, 33 years later. Stay tuned, more hope is on the way!
© copyright by SuEllen Shepard.