A New Birth

By Kimberly K. 

My name is Kim and I am an alcoholic. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a girlfriend, but first and foremost I am an alcoholic. Within these past few months I have felt a strong desire to share my story — the before, the during, and the after. Here is an account of where my addiction took me and how I have overcome the intolerable.

My sobriety story goes something like this: there was pain and then more pain. I have both felt pain and caused it in others. I already knew I was an alcoholic at the age of 20 and stepped into my first AA meeting. It was there that the seed was first planted, and from then on I knew that the only way out was to surrender to the truth that I was an addict. But I also knew that this would mean even more pain, so instead I made the decision to carry on with my addiction.

I was fifteen when it all began. As far as I can recall there was no reason for my addiction to surface. I had a great childhood, there was no abuse or mental illness; my alcoholism was a product of my lack of self-esteem and a genetic predisposition. 

Alcoholism ran rampant on the paternal side of my family, but still I was the one who ultimately chose my path. I was a shy girl, I had a lot of friends but would rather be alone. I was a deep thinker, an old soul, and I absorbed a lot of pain from the world around me. At times I would feel emotions deeply and at other times I did not feel any at all. To quiet my mind and settle my restless soul, I began drinking and this sent me on a long dark road for a grueling seventeen years.

By age 15 I was drinking and smoking weed, which then escalated to cocaine, smoking crack cocaine, and then, ultimately, to shooting heroin by the time I was twenty-seven. I was a garbage head, I took anything and everything I could get my hands on. I was on a mission to kill myself, though even at this I was a failure. I had attempted suicide on two separate occasions, which then led me into one metal institution and four outpatient programs. I also lived in a half-way house in Maryland for a few months after spending thirty days in a rehab facility in Florida.

But even after all these facilities and many intense therapy sessions, I continued drinking because I needed something to push the pain down. I was angry and filled with self-pity. I felt completely dead inside, I was a soulless girl who found comfort in being numb. I was a master at pushing down any sign of discomfort; every emotion I felt, I pushed further and further down into my soul. Even happiness was uncomfortable. How could I possibly be worthy of feeling any happiness when I had caused so much destruction to myself and to my family? I destroyed everything in my life. I was like a tornado, I came and went in a blink of an eye and left destruction and carnage in my wake. My addiction was stronger than me, it was stronger than love, stronger than my pain, and I found relief only in thoughts of death.

At 28 I was blessed with the news that I was pregnant. I had enough sense to stop using, but it was a tough nine months. I cried the first three weeks and I was consumed with fear of not being a decent mother, and I had to fight thoughts of using. I was so mentally sick that it was difficult to feel any excitement at birthing this baby boy. Could I feel any love for him when he was born? What if I choose drugs over him? I was honest with my doctors about my addictions, which prompted them to perform tons of testing on my unborn child. Then when he was born, they took him from me until he was able to provide a urine sample and be tested for drugs in his system. I felt like a terrible mother already and he was only hours old.

Consumed with fear of failing as a mother, I started to drink shortly after Cameron was brought home. I continued until he was three years old. It was only a matter of time before Cameron would be taken from me and I could never live with myself if that happened. My family and my husband’s family were growing extremely concerned with how we were functioning as parents. They would offer to take him on the weekends and would often show up at our house to check on him.

Finally, one day my mother-in-law showed up at the house to check on Cameron and me. My husband, was staying at a friend’s house to cool off after an argument the two of us had. After a few unsuccessful attempts to reach me by phone, she drove to the house. I was on the back porch with my son and I had been drinking all day. It was quite obvious that I was intoxicated. It was late afternoon and we were both still in our pajamas. I was slurring my words and not making much sense.

She picked up Cameron and took him away, out the door in his fuzzy-footed pajamas. He looked back at me — he was looking for me and his eyes shot through my body like a lightning bolt. I had never felt so disgusted with myself as I did that day. I barely even put up a fight. I came apart at the seams, and I turned to the bottle. 

After three days my husband came home and we pleaded and begged for Cameron to be brought back home. This time, we said, we would really do it: we would stop drinking, we would go to AA meetings, work a program, find a sponsor. These would turn into broken promises that lasted all of five days. It was five days of abstinence from the bottle. We were dry drunks and did not even attend one AA meeting. We continued to drink and drug for the next three months until the day I chose sobriety, November of 2013.

November 29, 2013 was Thanksgiving and my husband at that time was arrested for his third DUI after he left our home in a domestic dispute. That night he ended up in jail. He would later serve a year in County Corrections. It was that night, however, that I felt such a desperation radiating to my core. I was desperate to change, to fulfill my duty as a mother to my son, to become the person I had always dreamed of being. I wanted to be a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I wanted to wake up every day and drop my son off at school and make my way to work. I wanted to earn a paycheck and pay bills. I wanted to be a contributing member of society. That desperation was my beautiful gift. I found it, I felt it, I was open to it. There was new life born in that desperation and I have been sober ever since.

I started to go to AA meetings and did everything I was told. I found a sponsor, a home group, a higher power. I was grateful and humbled. I sought therapy for my emotional issues, and all of these combined for a success. I celebrated four years of sobriety on November 29, 2017.

My son was born healthy and beautiful. He has blond hair and eyes as blue as the Caribbean Sea. He is seven now and has a huge personality. He is funny and charming and has a fantastic disposition on life. He takes it in stride. He was my gift and he is my hope. I am forever grateful for every moment I am given to be with him. He will benefit from a sober mother, and the biggest gift I can give to him for what he has given to me, is that I am present, in mind, body, and soul. I will provide to him my best self. A happy, strong mother who has learned so much about life and struggle — that we can rise above whatever the path of life gives to us. We both deserve my best self, a best self that was born from desperation and that I hope I can give to others.


About the Author

Kimberly celebrated four years of sobriety on November 29,2017. Her home group is Kurtains Tuesday Night in Yardville, New Jersey. She is a sober mother to an energetic seven-year-old boy and two mini-dachshunds, Moose and Lulu. She has found a great passion in writing and telling her story of sobriety. You can read her work at her blog My Day—My Choice

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  1. Larry K December 10, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    A powerful story…thank you for sharing.

    • Kimberly Koren December 10, 2017 at 7:48 pm Reply

      Thank you Larry. Xoxo

  2. Diana R. December 10, 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Kim, thank-you so much for sharing your story with us. I can relate to so much of your story and I also celebrated four years of sobriety this November. Sharing our stories and how we take this journey is truly what is meaningful about AA to me. Thank-you!

    • Kimberly Koren December 10, 2017 at 7:47 pm Reply

      Congratulations! Xoxo

  3. Gerald December 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Kimberly. G.O.D.: the Gift of Desperation.

    I grew up shamed, traumatized, and neglected. I’ve learned in recovery how to react to life with serenity & courage instead of my old, knee-jerk, PTSD, fight-or-flight reactions to life.

    I practice AA & ACA as atheistic spiritual disciplines, and I pray daily that I never shame or ignore my children. Seeing my children receive what I needed, emotionally, has proved to be a great healer of the past.

    Most days I do a great job of parenting, and I know my kids are lucky. And I like myself. That has been the true miracle of recovery for me. The first, small, simple act of self-love was to stay sober and go to meetings. Self-loving acts built upon each other over time  till, one day, I became my own best friend.

    I actually like myself, and even after all these years it remains such a fresh new feeling that I shall never get used to it.

    Gerald, in Japan

    • Kimberly Koren December 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm Reply

      Gerald- Thank you for sharing. I am so deeply bleassed that my son does not remember who I used to be or how I struggled. He is seven now and he has a calmed mother. There are ups and downs to parenting. Some days I am better than others but the most important is that I am present.

      xoxo

    • Gerald December 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm Reply

      You know what? I just want to add that I feel AA is a fatherly love and ACA is a motherly love.

      Thanks

  4. Doris A December 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Kim, I really was inspired by your piece.  It’s important that people with kids share their story.  My mom drank through all her pregnancies. But she sobered up when my sister was about three and my sister ended up having a sober mom at an important part of her childhood. Us sharing our personal struggles and our personal strengths and hope,  provides a realistic but also optimistic perspective about recovery.  Sobriety is always a better choice, even when it’s hard. Thank you so much for contributing to our website.  I love reading a women’s perspective.  Doris

     

    • Kimberly Koren December 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm Reply

      Thank you Doris. It is hard to speak the hard truths about being a mother in active addiction but like you said it is the reality of this disease. He was also three when I got sober and thank god he recalls nothing of who I was. I feel truly blessed for that. Thank you for sharing. Xoxo

  5. John S December 10, 2017 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Thank you for posting your story here, Kim. I follow your blog and I’m in awe of your ability to communicate so effectively the raw emotions of recovery. I look forward to following you as you trudge this road of recovery.

    • Kim December 10, 2017 at 10:27 am Reply

      It quite easy to do when you have felt them all so deeply. I still remember exactly how I felt everyday. It is my recovery super power. Thank you for sharing. Xoxo

  6. Kim December 10, 2017 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Thomas- Thank you so much for sharing. I am glad you were able to find some of your story in mine. It helps to keep things in the forefront of our minds or to “keep it green.” I truly hope to inspire others with my story. Xoxo

  7. Thomas B. December 10, 2017 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Thanks, Kimberly, for sharing your story of recovery and the motivation you have to stay sober to be a good mother, daughter, sister, and girlfriend as a recovering alcoholic/addict. I identified greatly with your self-destructive obsessions while using.  I was hopeless, couldn’t imagine living without alcohol and drugs, nor could I  imagine continuing to live with the insanity of using. I volunteered to go to Vietnam to have Charlie do what I was too chicken-shit to do, kill me dead. My last week of using, I remember waking up after downing all the pills in my medicine cabinet with a 5th of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine chased by several 16-oz cans of Colt .45 and castigating myself as a total failure because I couldn’t even succeed at killing myself. Like you, I was gifted to stumble into the rooms of AA and, after a while when the mocus wore off, experiencing H O P E –> hearing other people’s experience.

    Congrats on your four years of day-at-a-time recovery . . .

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