Elizabeth M. – AA Speaker – I was a sick person, not a bad person!
My mother was a member of a Muslim community and she went on a missionary trip to Pakistan. She is an American Muslim and she went with her husband. They went to Pakistan to build a medical clinic there. The organization that sent them couldn’t get a hold of my mother and they thought she was probably living with a bunch of religious fanatics. I was in big trouble at the time and the state figured that they’d better take me as a ward of the court for my own safety, even though I hadn’t been living at home in years. I was always either on the run or incarcerated in my teenage years. I dropped out of school of the eighth grade and I never did go back to school. I mean, I like to read, but I guess that is it. So fast forward a little bit. I got my GED when I was seventeen and I was incarcerated in a juvenile detention center. When I was nineteen, I got pregnant and I gave birth to my daughter. I remember giving birth to my daughter because I had a home birth by choice.
By that time I had reconciled with my mom and my mom was a midwife. I remember when she was born and I held her in my arms, I was in love with that baby. I vowed that I would be the very best mother that I could be and I promised to love and protect her. After she was born, life was good for a while. I did not know at that time that that I was powerless over alcohol, and that dictated my life. I had no idea that I had an obsession of the mind and an allergy of the body when it came to booze. I did not know that I had a spiritual malady that’s described in our in our book.
I had to take care of my daughter so I started to go work in a bar because I thought that was really convenient for me. I could work at night and take care of my kid during the day. So the problem was that during the daytime I couldn’t take care of her because I was sleeping and I was hung over; or I was still up from the night before. At that time, I was in no shape to take care of her. It was only a matter of time until I’d leave her at the babysitters or I leave her at her aunt’s house for a few days in a row. I remember one time it was snowing and my sister brought my daughter back, and she was with her for over three days. My sister said, “You’re not even at work, you need to take her!”
That night it was snowing lightly. I opened the door and I took one look at my daughter, she was about two years old then, and I sat her outside and I shut the door and went back inside. I only left her out there for a moment. But that was my solution at the time. That was my idea of something that you know that was not okay and the actions that I took that made me feel like a horrible person. I used to tell myself that can never be happy and I do not deserve happiness, peace, love, or harmony. Luckily, I know that’s not true today. I don’t judge myself like that today because of what you guys taught me and what you guys showed me. I know that I might have done some horrific things, but I’m not a horrific person.
It is thanks to the program of recovery and the people in the rooms of the twelve step fellowships that I am able to look back on my past and realize that I was not a bad person, but I was just a sick person. Now that I am better, I see that clearly, and having the support of a sponsor and a group has been a very powerful experience. Today, I can look the world in the eye and not be ashamed; I experience the freedom that recovery brings every single day.