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Watershed Ashling: I am an Alcoholic

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watershed-ashlingI used to be very angry at the fact that I was an Alcoholic. I went through a few periods where I thought that maybe I wasn’t and back to the bottle I went. Each time was more serious than the first. I just could not seem to get the whole “sober” thing! I kept thinking I was being punished & would ask, “Why me?” I remember being very afraid of life in general and that I could never drink again, for if I did, I would surely die. I was only 22 then; what the heck was I supposed to do now? I was so used to drinking everyday, all day, that this was a total shock to my system. I just wanted to be “normal”, but drinking for me was everything but; alcohol was my master.

Progressive Disease

Through the progression of my disease and trying everything I could to control my drinking, I finally figured out I didn’t want to drink like a normal person. I wanted to drink like I always had; I just didn’t want to feel the way I felt anymore, or suffer the consequences. I hated who I was when I was “on the bottle”, and even when I was off. So many black outs, hospital visits, detox centers, treatment programs, demoralizing corrupting behaviors, guilt & sickness – you pick, I became a mess. I tried so many ways to get and stay sober and none of them worked. I have a college degree, I had built myself a career, was living on my own, purchased everything I owned, and yet that very same will power that got me all this “stuff” could not get me sober.

My Bottom

My disease took me to places I never thought I would go. I also never thought I would ever want to die, but by the time I was 28, I wanted just that. After losing everything and everyone that was important to me, I decided I was too far down the scale and went on a five-day run of straight liquor. On the 5th day I asked my Higher Power to take me; I was not doing well and I thought this was going to be it – I only prayed to him when I was desperate. I wasn’t even sure if he existed. You see, to believe in a spirit of the universe to me was like Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Somewhere down the line the magic got lost. It was a miracle that I woke up, I was sick and needed to get help fast.

I was taken to the hospital; once stabilized, I begged them to not let me go. I knew I couldn’t stop; I was homeless, alone, spiritually lost, in bad physical health, enduring absolute mental torture, and I wouldn’t and couldn’t stay sober on my own. I suffer from the disease of alcoholism. Once I put alcohol into my body, I cannot stop. Once I stop, I cannot stay stopped for long. I needed a solution. I completely let go and let my Higher Power decide my fate. After multiple people worked some magic at the hospital, I came to Florida from the northeast with a suitcase, hoping for a new life. I walked into treatment tired, broken, and desperate; I was willing to do anything for my sobriety. I stayed the entire time suggested and once discharged I went to live in a half way house for about 6 months.

My Sober Life

During my time at the halfway house, I worked for the first time a full program of recovery, attended meetings daily, did my prayer and meditations, and started helping others immediately. As a result, I found my Higher Power. I don’t have my life back, I have a new one. My first year was not an easy road but I stayed sober through it all and grew so much. Working and applying a program of recovery saved my life.

Hi, my name is Ashling and I am a recovered alcoholic. I have been sober since 07/01/2009.  Today I am accountable and I have respect for myself and my dealings with others. I have a Higher Power that adores and loves me and whom I build a relationship with daily. I found that I needed to let time have its place. I get my buzz today from helping other alcoholics. I am still as active in my sobriety as I was in the beginning and it doesn’t feel like something I “have” to do, I “want” to do it!  My fear has slowly been turned over to faith. It’s an amazing feeling not to have to control the world or even you. Every event I’ve gone through has enabled me to grow into the woman I have become; a woman of grace and dignity. My past is a series of experiences that’s given me the ability to help others; it does not have to define the woman I am today. I do not have to rely on my family and/or friends to pick up the pieces that I have left of myself in each of their lives. In order for me to be happy, joyous, and free – I have to be honest. As honest with myself as honest with others. I am an alcoholic and blessed, it’s a gift today and not a punishment. I have my family back in my life, a wonderful career that I love, and friends that are real. I have the opportunity to be a better person each day, to grow, to mend, to love, to laugh, to cry, to help others and to continue in life as if it were a journey and not just an accomplishment or race. Each day is an opportunity to be FREE! I have much gratitude today because the miracle has come true for me; the obsession to drink has been lifted.  Thank you for this freedom.

Connect with Watershed Ashling on Facebook & Twitter now!

Clean & Sober since 07/01/2009

Check out others in recovery before & after images: #changeisgood

Read Watershed Jamie’s Story here.

Read Watershed Maria’s Story here.

Read Watershed Laura’s Story here.

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