When I reflect on my journey in recovery, I always think of that first year. It felt like a bad game of Red Rover. There was this line of people who kept calling my name, who loved me and wanted to show me this new way of life. I was 27 years old, and I lived in NYC. I thought I knew it all. Every time they called for me, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Hannah over,” I found a way to break through that line of people trying to help me and continued to do it my way. I kicked, screamed, and manipulated. I tried everything because, honestly, I was terrified. Finally, when I was exhausted, when my family and friends would no longer support me or the life I was barely living, I surrendered and joined with that line I was so desperately trying to break through.
It was at Mountainside that I first heard people introduce themselves as “grateful alcoholics.” At the time, I couldn’t comprehend what that meant.
This October, I will be celebrating 18 years of sobriety and recovery. To say I’m grateful is an understatement. Recovery has given me an amazing career in helping young men and women find the help they need “to build a life worth protecting.” I have learned the work is never done and to continue pushing to become the best version of myself. I have gained so much over these past 18 years. I met my wife, became a mother to two beautiful bulldogs, bought a house, traveled, cultivated an incredible tribe of friends, and became a daughter and sister I can be proud of today. Most importantly, I found out how to love myself and who I truly am, to live life with integrity and kindness. I learned I can have a successful career and still find time to wake up that theater kid in me to create and give the gift of laughter to those around me.
People say they have recovered, but to me, I’m still “under construction,” and wouldn’t want it any other way. 18 years later, I still reach into my toolbox to grab for therapy, meetings, DBT skills, my support network, and most importantly, the knowledge of when to ask for help.
Recovery has given me so much more than I could have ever wished for. So, stick around and “don’t give up before the miracle happens.” Trust me, it’s amazing. ❤️
– Hannah B.