Finding Strength in Recovery

A recovering alcoholic shares her journey and describes the critical role Face It TOGETHER’s Lead Recovery Coach Terri Brown has had along the way.

Recovery Coach Terri Brown with recovering alcoholic participant
Passenger Productions

I started drinking and doing drugs at 15. I had some tough situations in childhood that I was trying to cover up, and I wanted to suppress my pain. I started drinking on the weekends, and I kind of knew from my first drink, my first sip of beer, that it would be one of my answers. It made me a different person. It made me forget about stuff.

I used for a little over 19 years. Alcohol, opiates, meth, heroin, pot, mushrooms, whatever I could get my hands on. I’d get up and go to work, put on my work face, then go drink afterword. My employer finally caught on that my work was declining. I was getting irritable. I found myself starting to lie and steal from people. I was raped, and my drug and alcohol use kept building to cover all that stuff. It was all I knew. I had tried counseling before, but it didn’t work because I felt like they were preaching to me and didn’t understand what I had gone through.

It finally got to the point where I was either going to call it quits and try to die, or reach out to somebody. Picking up that phone and reaching out was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I’m very grateful to that person who took the time to have coffee with me and say, “You’re going to die if you continue down this path. We need you to find that hope.” I went to treatment in March 2013, stayed for 30 days, then was scheduled for eight weeks of outpatient. I went on a big bender after my eight weeks. Life was right back in front of me. My addictions were talking to me again. In September 2013, I finally really surrendered and called Face It TOGETHER.

I had to find the courage to walk in the door. I’ve been seeing Terri for a year now and my life has changed in incredible ways. FIT has shown me how to live a life of recovery and not just be sober. There’s definitely a difference. Anyone can say they’re sober. But recovery takes a lot of action, willingness and an open mind.

The group of people here builds hope for me. They just continue to love, care, guide me, help me with any situations, with addiction, life, anything. I have someone who has been through what I’ve been through, and I know I’m not alone. Peer recovery coaching gives me an hour out of my week that I know I can come here and be safe, have an honest, open, confidential conversation, and be welcomed with open arms. There’s so much peace when I walk through the doors. It’s such a powerful feeling, and now I’m passing it on to other individuals through mentoring and being a sponsor, and I just got done shadowing to be a peer recovery coach. I want other people to know they don’t have to do this alone. It makes a huge difference to have someone sitting across from you who knows what it’s like to have those feelings of hopelessness, wanting to die and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Drugs and alcohol will always be out there, but the opportunities coming to me today I’ve never seen before. I never thought I could go 24 hours without using or drinking, and now it’s coming up on two years that I’ve been sober; it blows my mind. It’s exciting for me to be a Face It TOGETHER client and move on to the other side as a coach because I want people to say, “Wow, you started exactly where I am today, now look at where you are.” I don’t want others to stay in that pain or that hurt. There’s another way of life. You don’t have to be controlled 24/7 by that little voice in your head. Instead you can have a human voice saying, “I can help you, I’m here by your side.”