I'm not perfect by any means, not even close.

There comes a point when the happiness and relief once felt from drinking and using goes away and desperation kicks in.

My clean date is February 28, 2018. When I first joined Family Treatment Court and North Range Behavioral Health, I never believed I would meet people who understand where I have been. I would tell myself that they don't know what they're talking about – that they could never know where I came from or what I've gone through. How could they possibly understand what’s going on?

After attending NA and AA meetings and going to therapy, I finally understood what the North Range team and other people in recovery were talking about. It took almost six months to understand any of the recovery concepts, twelve steps, and traditions being discussed in the rooms. I was always thinking about myself--not even about my children-- just about myself. I had to learn that I was the one who had to make the changes in my life. I had to accept that I was an alcoholic and an addict.  I had to surrender to a higher power who reminds me I can be too focused on controlling everything and that I need to listen more. Had I not surrendered that control or found my higher power, I'm pretty sure I would still feel alone and not be in recovery.

After losing my children to a foster home, then to next of kin for four months, I got temporary custody of my children. Every day, I remind myself of the pain I felt when I had to say goodbye to my children after visits—the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Today, I relive that pain through other people's experiences. When I hear them share their struggles about custody, I tell them to work hard and show that they are making changes by working a recovery program with a sponsor. I have a sponsor and attend AA meetings Monday through Friday. I spend weekends with my children in my home. Those are just a few blessings I gained when I changed my life.

I probably would have never known what kind of changes are needed to make if it wasn't for Family Treatment Court guiding me in the right direction. The professional team helped show me what I should be focusing on as a mother and as an adult. I had to completely change the people I surround myself with, I had to find places to go to instead of my old stomping grounds, I needed to create a support system of my own, I needed to learn to be able to enjoy being by myself, I had to learn how to take constructive criticism, I had to create a schedule and meet those requirements that I set for myself, and lastly--whether it was cold or not--I had to get tough and walk where I needed to be.

There's no how-to guide on recovery, but it’s easier to find your way if you listen to those who share their experiences, strengths, and hopes.

I'm not perfect by any means, not even close. But I'm my kind of perfect. I set goals for myself--realistic ones, both long-term and short-term. For instance, I set goals for therapy or neurofeedback as well as going to meetings Monday through Friday. I have learned that one of the best things I can do is listen to the people in groups about their experiences.  It takes hard work and dedication, but I thank North Range and Family Treatment Court for also helping me find the strength and hope to make a new life with my family.

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