I’m a native Washingtonian and I live in Reston, Virginia. I am recently divorced after being married for over 22 years. I have a beautiful 24 year old daughter that is living out her dreams, as a scuba dive instructor, on a beautiful Nicaraguan Caribbean island. For the past 5 years I have been a substance abuse counselor and behavior specialist. I currently work at a Residential adult treatment/rehabilitation program. We specialize in treating substance abuse and co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.
Growing up I felt different and I was raised in a family that didn’t talk about their feelings. Before I had any sense of self, at age 25, I got married and had my daughter. It was an amazing experience but eventually I found myself in a co-dependant marriage. In my early 30’s I starting using alcohol to cope with just about everything. I never understood why I was so depressed. I felt like I was in a dark hole with no way out which left me at a point of complete surrender. 7 years ago I sat in my therapist’s office and, for the first time, admitted I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. That was my first day in sobriety and I haven’t had a drink since. It was a few months after I started going to AA that my mental illness was uncovered. Following a nine-day stay in a psych ward I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. That was when my true recovery began.
Today I live a life I used to only dream about. I trust god, clean house, and help others. Professionally I get to work with clients, on a clinical level, and witness miracles everyday. Personally I’m extremely grateful and humbled to share my experience, strength, and hope in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I continue to see my therapist of 8 years, who truly saved my life. I take my medication as prescribed by my psychiatrist. The relationship I have with my daughter is truly magical. She says that the biggest gift, she’s ever received , is having a healthy, brave, and truly authentic mom.
I feel honored and inspired to have been chosen to be a part of This Is My Brave. I look forward to telling my story of where I’ve been, what I’ve been through, and where I am today in my recovery. I hope this helps lift the stigma of mental illness, and shows that it's okay to talk about it. This includes some family members, who have also been diagnosed with Bipolar, but are still self -medicating with drugs and alcohol.
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Please share this post with friends and family in the Washington, DC area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.