by Bree L

No one can predict who will be an alcoholic. Especially when members like Debbie describe an idyllic childhood growing up outside of Sacramento. At the few drinking parties she attended, she got sick and never thought of over-drinking. Then she became pregnant in high school. Two weeks after her sixteenth birthday, she was married and moved in with her new husband’s family. This cemented her plan for happy motherhood, a new son, a new husband and a ready-made family. Everything seemed wonderful until she realized she’d missed out on her youth. She was now viewed as an adult. Her drinking increased and she cheated on her husband. 

To facilitate her new lifestyle, she moved out, got on welfare and found an apartment. It all seemed so easy. She shared custody and at seventeen moved to Hawaii, leaving her son with his Dad.  After a couple years away, she moved back to the States and worked as a bartender.

Debbie came out of a blackout and hitched a ride to a sleazy motel. Along the way she was raped. Her mother took her back to her grandmother’s (who was in AA) and she discovered she was pregnant. 

Debbie came out of a blackout and hitched a ride to a sleazy motel

Overall, Debbie tells of being married six times and committing bigamy twice. During her first illegal marriage she moved to San Francisco and attended mortuary college. Here she became a licensed funeral director and worked in the funeral business, from Sacramento to San Francisco, and finally migrating back to Maui. 

Her drinking escalated. She began stealing petty cash, showing up late to work, or not showing up at all. Around this time, she decided she needed to have another baby.

She looked for the most single biker she could find and within five months was married and pregnant. During the pregnancy she did a lot of pain pills and cocaine and ended up in a women’s shelter on Maui. Eventually she returned to the latest baby’s father. They moved back to San Francisco to live with her parents.

She looked for the most single biker she could find

She also worked off and on as an apartment manager. Her mother vouched for her experience. Debbie moved with her daughter to Sacramento to manage an apartment complex. Here she met her fifth husband, an alcoholic, when she rented him an apartment. After this marriage, she lost control of her drinking, developed delirium tremens (DTs) and began vomiting. This was in the year 2000. Her husband said, “I know what you need.” He gave her a plastic cup of wine which did the trick. She returned to drinking round the clock. 

Debbie had always known about AA.  Her grandmother had taken her to meetings when she was ten. At seventeen, her parents had also taken her to meetings. All in all, Debbie bounced around a lot in AA. She was in and out of sobriety but never ready to stop.

In 2010 her father said he would rent her and her daughter an apartment, but would only pay the rent if she’d “get her sh*t together.” She lasted less than a month. She got drunk, received a DUI, blacked out and was in jail for forty-five days. 

Her grandmother had taken her to meetings when she was ten

Once released from jail, Debbie called her mother and said, “Help me get into rehab in San Francisco. If you don’t help me, I’m going to die.” She checked into the SF Civic Center Hotel while trying to get into the rehab facility. After three nights she came out of the blackout in a cardboard box in front of a hospital. She cleaned up as best she could, went to the nearest bar and asked for booze. The bartender called the police. They asked, “Do you really want to go to jail?” They suggested a detox.

She went from detox to a residential treatment program. She left every day to prostitute herself, drink, and do drugs while searching for an inpatient addiction facility.

Finally, she made it to her third recovery center and got a job. She put herself on their waiting list and was admitted. Two months in, she was planning her next drink when she could take an overnight. The director looked directly at her and said, “You’re just a typical alcoholic, and you’re not going to make it.” There was something in that look that hit Debbie. “There was fear in his wrath,” she said. She stopped talking and started to listen. 

Twenty-eight days afterwards, the director said, “You shine up really quick.” He offered her a job as a night security person. She’s been there ever since and now is working in administration. 

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