as told to Gabrielle Fischer

“I started drinking when I was 14. I would consider myself a drug addict as well, especially when it came to pills. I was addicted to painkillers early on. I would drink until I couldn’t drink anymore and then I would take pills. I loved those because they would wake me up and I’d make it through the day so I could drink again. It was a vicious cycle. My life was a mess because I used alcohol for a solution to everything so it was like making the world go away get it off of my shoulder even for a little while. But what happened is, I crossed the line. I was drinking in bars, I was drinking at home… my children have lost respect for me. There were a lot of times I would go to meetings and newcomers would be more sober than me. I was a hot mess. In very early recovery I had things just so backward. I thought you had to drink and use drugs to have any kind of happiness at all, so I was extremely judgmental. I came to every meeting and said, ‘Oh, for sure that person is getting high.’ Early recovery takes two to five years. There’s a significant change if you go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the program you’ll see a big difference in your life. I thought to myself, ‘All right, I can do this way faster.’ Of course, I didn’t want to get a sponsor, I didn’t want any of the things that were required of me. I was very stubborn. People in my life would say, ‘She has potential but she’ll never make it.’ I think this is where my stubbornness was an aid to me because it kicked in and I said, ‘I’ll show you.’ I believe the fourth and fifth steps are the most important and that is when you will see significant changes in your life. Through the program, I have seen changes in myself and found my assets. Today, I believe in sponsorship, I believe in meetings, I believe its practice and being just a tad open-minded. I believe in the book and I even have certain passages memorized that I can direct people I sponsor to. It has not been all wonderful long periods of just being dry, not working the program, not doing the steps. I would say, in the last 10 years, I really have experienced joy in the program with continuous happiness. Don’t think I walked in, stopped drinking, everything was wonderful and all this time has gone by. My life has been so much better in recovery. I have made so many friends at Solutions and Oshkosh is a trailblazer in programs like these.”

Marcia, of Oshkosh, has been sober since Sept. 14, 1980. She often sits in the courtroom during drug court to offer support to the participants.