I arrived at The Watershed on April 18, 2008. I spent about 35 days there and I can truthfully say that I just celebrated my first year of sobriety after 10 straight years of alcohol abuse. I did not believe that I would ever stop drinking. I thought I was doomed to a life of despair and unhappiness. I came to The Watershed underweight, unhealthy and just not feeling great at all. But the one thing that I did have was faith. I left Baltimore with a plane ticket and one quarter in my pocket not knowing where I was going. I wanted to stop drinking, I wanted to be happy, I wanted to know how it would feel to wake up without the hangover, I wanted to look in the mirror and smile again, I wanted to laugh from my heart, I wanted to remember the important and the not so important things that happen in my day to day, I wanted to feel good on the inside about myself. Most importantly, I wanted to love me. I didn’t love me and so I could not love anyone else. I met a woman named Amanda. She is to me one of the most insightful people I have ever met. She saw through me and had a way of getting to the root of things. NO sugar coating from this lady. I did not fear her; I just feared what she would find out about me and more importantly what I would find out about myself. It wasn’t until I really let go and let God’s will lead me, accept the fact that I really needed help and that I wanted to change, that I starting taking those simple principles that were offered to me and started applying them to my life, one day at a time, that I started feeling a change inside. I was hurting so bad and I had so much that I did not deal with. My friend, alcohol, protected me on one hand and was slowly but surely killing me on the other. I wanted peace and I realized finally the only way this could happen is to have God lead me in addiction to the support from the staff and my peers receiving treatment. And with those two things, I believed I had a good chance at recovery.
It has been one year and one month and I have not had a drink. I did not feel great overnight, but with plenty of prayer and attending AA meetings, I started to feel the change. AA to me had become not just a “stop drinking program”, but a start living program and I must say I am truly living my life. I truly love myself and I am learning to love and listen to others. In my line of work, I come into contact with people at different stages in their lives. I have become so helpful and understanding that people seem to gravitate toward me. My kindness and understanding is genuine and it is felt by so many people that I encounter. I don’t want to take up too much time; I just want to say to you all Thanks! Amanda you are amazing and I hope that everyone who has the opportunity to speak with you knows that you are definitely a testament to what your life can become. I know that one day I will return to the Watershed to share my story. I do live in Maryland but my next vacation, which will be in September; I plan to fly down to Florida just to visit.
Thanks for everything, I will never forget the experience I had and the moments I shared with you all!
Elise M., MD