by Emily W
On November 17, 2018, I hit my bottom on a trip to New York City. I knew it was coming, but I was shocked it came so quickly. I was only 24 and thought I had more time.
I offended everyone at the place I was staying in Hell’s Kitchen, so I started walking. I had a friend in Brooklyn but she wasn’t answering her phone. Still drunk, I wandered through neighborhood after neighborhood waiting for her call.
While walking, I searched for “alcohol” in the Apple podcasts app. One of the top results was a show called Recovery Elevator with the tagline “Quit drinking now!” I spent the next few hours listening to episode after episode, crying, relating. There were people like me out there! Those first few episodes of Recovery Elevator gave me hope that I could stop drinking.
I offended everyone where I was staying in Hell’s Kitchen
The trifecta of Recovery Elevator, weed and psychedelics was my solution for my first few alcohol-free months. At the time, it seemed like an incredible solution. I didn’t have to think of myself as the “A-word.” The only thing that had to change about my life was the contents of my cup. Using the trifecta, I got through holiday parties, Vegas trips, birthdays, après skis, group vacations and nights out. I even (sort of) had fun. I spent my remaining time grinding at work, which removed any space I had to ask questions.
Six months into my alcohol-free experiment, the winds of favor changed at work. I watched the promotion I obsessed over crumble in front of me. The trifecta stopped working. I had no one to talk to. All of my friends seemed perfect and content, their Plan A going smoothly as my Plan D fell through. I had a mental breakdown. Completely desperate, I took three months off and went to outpatient rehab.
I was desperate enough to pay $7000 a month to mindfully make fruit salads, attend process groups, and pee in a cup. But I was stubborn about A.A. I didn’t understand why other people needed to be involved in my sobriety. Recovery Elevator told me what I needed to hear about sobriety from the comfort of my own home. My problem wasn’t alcoholism — I hadn’t had a drink in over six months! My problem was feelings and I didn’t think A.A. could help me there.
The only outpatient program graduates were people working the steps
My attitude started to change when I noticed the only outpatient program graduates were people working the steps. In group therapy, it was clear who was active in A.A. Members could take a step back, look at the good and the bad, and hold hope that tomorrow would be a better day. With less than a month left, I finally got desperate enough to give A.A. a try.
Today, the program is my solution. It’s not as easy as the trifecta. I have to stay sober, show up on time, answer my phone, ask for help, honor commitments and occasionally think of others before myself. The program takes honesty, dedication and hard work. But when times are tough I can honestly say A.A. works. There is so much power in the simple, but humbling act of admitting to another human being that you are an alcoholic.