My name is Carla, I am an alcoholic and an addict, and I am in a process of recovery. I am recovering from the damage that my years of actively and continuously abusing alcohol and drugs inflicted upon my relationships with others, and upon my perception of myself. I am not a bad person. I am not the scum of the earth. I am not immature and reckless. However, in the grip of the escape from reality that alcohol and drugs provided, I did bad things, I made bad decisions, I was incapable of being responsible, reliable and present. I broke myself and I harmed those that I love the most.

Today I am free from that grip. First, it became impossible for me to continue surviving in my own mess… and I asked for help. Secondly, I came to Alcoholics Anonymous, and terrified and desperate I listened to other alcoholics share their journeys to freedom from alcohol and drugs.

It still amazes me today that I was able to relate to 80% of what other alcoholics experienced. I am more amazed by the fact that I could relate 100% to what other alcoholics felt. I keep on going back to meetings and continue to practice the program of AA because I want to relate to the growth, peace and joy that other alcoholics have found in recovery.

I do not believe in any form of a god or higher power. This has been an obstacle for me since entering the program because the 12 Steps requires one to believe and trust in a higher power. I am grateful for secular AA, because I believe that recovery should not be limited to those who subscribe to religious or superstitious faiths. Recovery should be an option for everybody who wants it. I am an atheist, and that to me means that I have faith in LIFE, nothing greater and nothing less. Being an atheist doesn’t mean that I don’t strive to be a good person; I subscribe to living my life in recovery in accordance with the principles of unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and gratitude.

Life is beautiful. In active addiction, I was digging my own grave, alone and lonely in a very dark hole. I feel alive for the first time in 14 years today. I am grateful for yesterday, content in the present and looking forward to tomorrow. I know that recovery is possible for anyone. If I could do it, anyone can, should they want it bad enough, should they choose LIFE over alcohol and drugs.

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