A Story of Recovery Pathways to Recovery Recover Out Loud.

Recovery Story – Kristal B.

Hello, my name is Kristal B.

For me, abusing alcohol was a means of combatting the crippling anxiety that developed in my late teens and early twenties.  I went to community college for high school and transitioned to a four-year university when I was 17.  It was there that my irrational fear and panic disorder led to a phobia of being around other people.  I started drinking to cope with the ever-present anxiety of participating in the very basic components of student life.  Eventually, I traded attending classes for drinking alone in my room.  This led to me failing all of my courses and being forced to drop out of college.  Disappointed with myself and my choices, my drinking became more frequent and greater in quantity.  I was, at this point, headed down a path of heartache, unemployment, depression, isolation, self-loathing, and failed attempts at sobriety.  

It wasn’t until a friend had a, “come to Jesus” meeting with me about my drinking, that I became serious about getting sober.  I started going to a 12-step program that taught me how to find healthy coping strategies by relying on my higher power and a community of support.  Through my step work, I was able to identify my character defects, learn healthy ways of coping, and to construct a means of reintroducing myself to social situations while sober. Armed with the care of a supportive community, I learned to break out of my cage of self-isolation and participate in life again. 

No longer needing alcohol to cope with my struggles, my life changed drastically.  I got a new job, went back to school, earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, established independent housing, and made lifelong friendships.  Recovery has brought me the type of freedom I had been searching for my whole life.  I am now able to live out loud, having traded my secret life of misery, for one that is open to what the world has to offer.  Recovery is not easy, and I still struggle, but the 12 steps and my higher power provide me with the tools I need to live in serenity no matter what situations I may face. 

I now have two and a half years of continuous sobriety and my eyes have been opened to the world around me.  No longer bogged down with the need for constant introspection and self-pity, I now focus on what I can do to help others.  It is my goal, at this point, to, “give back what has been so freely given to me”.  Helping others to get sober helps me to stay sober.  Looking back at my life three years ago, I could never have imagined I would be living, “happy, joyous, and free”, but I am! I will be eternally grateful for the amazing people in the recovery community who took the time to invest in me.  Now, I have been gifted with the privilege of paying it forward by investing in others.  I am living proof that recovery is possible! 


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