Resident Of the Month
Today life for Mary entails getting up at 6 in the morning, praying, doing her house chores, getting herself together, attending a meeting, and then heading to her job as a sales representative for a Phoenix-area hardware organization. Her stability today is a direct result of her moment of clarity and her decision to move into Carla Vista Sober Living after nearly two decades of a topsy-turvy life brought on by her drug and alcohol use.
Her entrance into the world of addiction began in her Boston neighborhood at the tender age of 13 when she took a drag from a marijuana-filled cigarette. “It was an amazing feeling,” Mary said. “I inhaled… exhaled… and instantly fell in love with the high produced by the moment. I wanted more.”
The mind-altering effects of marijuana ignited Mary’s curiosity to experiment with other drugs like cocaine and mushrooms over the next several years; but it was her taste of a powerful opiate that changed the course of her life – alcohol. “It [alcohol] surpassed everything I had done… after my first sip of beer it became my drug of choice,” Mary said.
As she isolated herself from her family, Mary found ways to feed her alcohol addiction – consuming whatever she could get her hands on. “It didn’t matter what time of the day it was… I was always thinking about alcohol and how I was going to get the next drink,” she said. “I became that person described in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
As she drank relentlessly throughout her teenage years and into her 20s, the consequences mounted: She lost her job; her car; her apartment; connection to her family; and she experienced homelessness. But of all these consequences… none was more severe than the one she encountered seven years ago at 26 years old. An alcohol-related illness knocked her off her feet and into the hospital for a six-week stay. “This was a wake-up call,” Mary said. “I was slowly being killed by my alcoholism and didn’t really know it. I got scared as my doctor told me that I would surly die at a young age if I continued my drinking.”
Upon her release from the hospital Mary did what the doctor ordered; she stayed away from alcohol. However, this did not prevent her addiction from resurfacing. Since she couldn’t drink anymore her boyfriend introduced her to another opiate – heroin. “He told me to try it and I did… I went straight to the needle and developed another love affair over the next five years.”
Finally realizing her life had hit its lowest point, Mary sought help from her family. “I got tired of being out there every day trying to get the next fix,” she said. “I went to my family and told them that I needed help… and they checked me into my first rehab two years ago in the Mesa area.”
For the next year-and-a-half she made four more trips to rehabs – her last a 30-day stay at Chandler Valley Hope where her counselor and a few of her peers suggested she try sober living to further enhance her recovery foundation. She took their direction and checked in the Carla Vista Sober Living March 2014.
“Carla Vista became my home and suddenly I realized I was living with women who were serious about their recovery,” Mary said. “These were my sisters… my sober living sisters… awesome individuals who had a lot in common with me. After my first week at Carla Vista I concluded that I had always wanted to be clean and sober but was never willing to do the work. Now I am doing the work, getting a lot of support, and staying sober.”
With more than five months of continuous sobriety Mary is actively involved in her sober living house, serving as house manager and recovery role model for many of the new and existing residents. As she builds on her recovery progress, she gives back to the Fellowship of Recovery by taking other women through the 12-Step process. “I found a lot of love and support at Carla Vista Sober Living… and that has encouraged me to do more to stay sober,” Mary expressed. “I attend a meeting and connect with my sponsor every day, and I am in frequent contact with my family. Things have taken a nice turn for the better in my life and I am very grateful for that.”