I’ve been an alcoholic for the worst part of 20 years. In that time, I got out of a long, toxic marriage. Then, I got kicked out of friend’s house after friend’s house. With no money left or anything, I ended up getting sick from alcohol withdrawal and went to a crisis center.

I didn’t know where to go after my stay there. I was really scared to be on the street. I’d never been in a position like that. I was afraid of the stigma of being homeless and just didn’t know what to expect. I heard all the horror stories. I thought, “Am I going to get robbed? Am I going to get beat up?”

I was at rock bottom. And you can’t understand what rock bottom means until you’ve actually hit it face first. It’s the scariest and loneliest feeling ever. All you see is darkness. You feel like you’re going to be there for the rest of your life and you no longer have any control. It feels like there’s no way out. I was living a complete and utter nightmare. The crisis center ended up getting me a bed at the Tacoma Rescue Mission in the women’s shelter.

I was still in my addiction pretty bad. At least I had a place to go at night and I was able to get a job while I was there. But, I kept relapsing and relapsing. The supervisor at my job had actually graduated from the Mission’s addiction recovery program. He told me to try the program and so I did. He is my lil’ baldheaded guardian angel.

It’s night and day being where I’m at now. I have my own apartment, steady work, and am going to get my Substance Use Disorder Professional certification next. Just blessings on blessings. It’s crazy to think back. I wasn’t living. I was surviving and wasn’t doing a great job at that. Now I’m thriving.

Now it’s my turn. God has made me a light to help bring people out of the darkness. If I can save one life through my story, then I’ve done something I’m proud of. I’ll share my story until I’m blue in the face.

I’m actually living my life the way it’s meant to be lived. I have more self confidence. I laugh a lot more and I’ll do anything to make people laugh. I learned that the person underneath my addiction, the real me, is really genuine and caring. And that’s the real me that’s going to help others get out of the same black hole I was stuck in.