Leslie M. shares her motivations to seek addiction treatment, and how achieving sobriety has had a positive impact on both her life, and the lives of others.
Q: What was the turning point that led you to get help?
A: My drinking had reached a point where I was miserable, my personal relationships were strained, and I was finding it very difficult to get up and go to work. I drank in the morning and when I went to work; I started again as soon as I got in my car for my ride home. I was depressed and felt like there was no hope or end in sight; I knew I could not continue to live that way. I contacted Mountainside and set up transportation to get there. I believe there’s magic at Mountainside in everything they have to offer!
Q: How did you feel at the beginning of treatment compared to the end?
A: Following detox, things were a little rough, but even when the thought of possibly leaving came to me, I knew in my heart I had to stay and give it my all, no matter what! At the end of treatment, I felt prepared to leave because I had a good plan in place and knew I had a strong support team. My dad died three days after I left treatment, and I made it through that while maintaining sobriety.
Q: What has been the best part of recovery for you? Why?
A: My last year in recovery has given me many gifts. My personal relationships are stronger than ever, I get to enjoy my days with a clear head and heart, and I’m fully present with those I love. I have been able to take courses that interest me and enrich my life, and I finally left the career I’ve been wanting to leave for many years to start my own business.
Q: What has kept you motivated in recovery?
A: My love for my family and the relationships I have with them keep me motivated, as do the friends I have in the rooms of AA and in other recovery circles. I began working the steps with my sponsor the month I left treatment and this made a big difference for me.
Q: What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment to know?
A: Recovery is possible for all of us, and I wish everyone out there in active addition knew how much better their lives could be. The support and love that’s so freely given is like no other; I can’t think of any place you receive unconditional love and support the way you do in the rooms of recovery.
Q: What is the best advice you have been given?
A: I believe the best advice I was given was to get a sponsor, work the steps, and stay connected. The 12 Steps provide a strong foundation for living a healthy and happy life. Working this program is a special way of living and a gift; everyone, in and outside of recovery, would benefit from working the steps. They do nothing but enrich my life and make me the person I was born to be. The happiness and sense of peace I feel is the best part of recovery for me – I almost feel like a kid again in the sense of being open and free.
Q: What are some of your personal “rules” that you never break?
A: I always try to be true to myself, remain honest with others, and set healthy boundaries. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and when one door closes, another opens. I also believe that positive vibes attract positive people, and the same is true of the opposite. If there are people in my life that sap my energy, I limit the time spent with them and draw healthy boundaries to protect myself and my personal space.
Q: What gives your life meaning?
A: One of the most important things for me in this life is making a positive difference in the lives of others. I love interacting with people, learning about them, and sharing experiences.
Q: List 5 goals on your life’s to-do list:
- Continue living a life of purpose and have fun
- Spend as much quality time as I can with my family
- Enrich the lives of others in every way I can
- Grow a successful business helping others
- Travel to other areas of the United States and other countries
Q: Describe yourself in three words:
A: If I had to describe myself in three words, I would say I’m outgoing, energetic, and passionate.
Q: What would you name the autobiography or your life?
A: My autobiography would be titled The People I’ve Met, the Places I’ve Been, and the Lessons I’ve Learned.
Q: What do you miss most about being a kid?
A: The thing I miss the most about being a kid is that feeling at the end of the school year when you know you’re on vacation for two months and all you feel is the excitement of having fun! You have the sense of total freedom.
Q: What song best sums you up? Why?
A: One of my favorite songs that speaks to what I am passionate about is “We Are the World.” Every one of us can make a difference in this world by being kind, respectful, and grateful. We can meet others where they are, with love and without judgment. One gesture of kindness makes a difference and can truly have a ripple effect. We need to be more accepting of each other and do what we can to help eliminate fear in others. The destruction we see in our world today is driven by fear and judgment – by not allowing others to be who they truly are.
Q: If you could go on a road trip with any person – dead or alive – who would you choose and where would you go?
A: If I could go on a road trip across the country and could only bring one person, I would take two months off and take my granddaughter, Sienna. I would love to experience the “ahh’s” of our natural wonders with her!