by Bree L.

I started drinking in 8th grade; I was 12. I’d sneak down and drink all the left-over cocktails after my parent’s parties. My high school A’s and B’s went to B’s and C’s and a few D’s when I started smoking pot. After my high school graduation, I was smack dab into the seventies. Too young to be a hippy and too old to be a yuppie, I became a yippie. I was a teenager of the experimental seventies, part of the generation who prided themselves on not giving a f**k. 

I was paid to drink

I moved to Orange County, worked as a waitress and collected two DUI’s. My remedy for this was to move in with an Australian who talked about the shrimp on the barbie and loved his beer. He took me to the hospital to deliver our baby and that was the last I saw of him. It was 1985 and I was 23 years old with a child. So, I found another man to father my next two children. Around this time I discovered methamphetamines, and they became the love of my life. I was working in a bar and didn’t see myself as anything that resembled an alcoholic, because bar waitressing was my vocation. I was paid to drink. 

The births of my children were time anchors for how my life evolved. I’ve never raised any of them past the age of three, but their existence has allowed me to compartmentalize different phases of my life. My first child is now in New Zealand. I have no contact with him. After my second was born I tested dirty for drugs. My third child, a girl, was referred out for adoption and the fourth lived with an aunt on his father’s side because both of his parents were in jail.

photo captions available upon request to [email protected]

From 1989 to 1998, I was in and out of prison for possession. My last child was born in prison. In 1999, I think the judge got tired of seeing my face and sentenced me to a treatment center instead of returning me to the street. The center was a recovery ranch in the desert, co-ed, so I hooked up with a fellow client. After a bit, I stopped going to meetings, let go of my sponsor, went out and got loaded. I returned to working in a bar and getting paid to drink. My old standby.

At the bar, I met a normie guy. I was loaded, he wasn’t, but we got together anyway. He thought he could fix me, so I made the most of that and used him. I stayed with him for two and a half years, working at the bar, denying my addiction. That bar closed so I went to another bar, then another and then became unemployable. I see now how my lifestyle was only relapse mode, which led me back to drinking.

My war was over, and I had lost

In 2010 I was pulled over for drinking and got hit with a possessions charge. I knew I couldn’t be homeless and sober at the same time. This was delusional thinking. It doesn’t work. I called the treatment center looking for something to hang onto and connected with my same counselor. My war was over and I had lost. I surrendered and said, “I’m done.” 

I was at the treatment center for 60 days. My stay ran out, but I had nowhere to go, no other choices. So, I washed cars to get enough money to stay there. After 15 months a friend opened up a sober living place and asked me to come and work for her, which I did, and stayed sober. I no longer do life Christina’s way. I do all the things A.A. recommends and I’m still sober.

Sobriety Date: April 20, 2010.

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