Every day people email me their stories of addiction and recovery. Once a month I choose one to share with my readers. I’m not an anomaly–it really is possible to leave that life behind and move on.

Today I bring you Susie’s Story.

Susie’s Story

Hi Charles. My name is Susie, and I’m 20 years old. I used to be an alcoholic, and I am 3 years clean.

Why did I start drinking? It was the cool thing to do at parties. I wanted to be liked, so I started drinking with them, and something clicked in me like a switch.

I was careful to hide it from my parents, but my sister found out during my senior year. I begged her to keep it a secret, and she did. At least until my first year of college when I crashed my car driving home from a party one. I had been drinking, of course. I got a DWI, and she told my parents that I had been drinking since I was 15.

My parents were furious. They kicked me out of the house. I soon found myself stealing and robbing in order to get booze to drown the shame I felt.

Another year went by, and I spiraled further and further. I don’t remember much of that year as I was in a constant drunken stupor.

What finally snapped me out of it was when my sister found me and told me I was going to be an aunt. I had been in such a haze I didn’t even know she’d gotten married. But married she was, with a child on the way. And she told me that unless I got clean, I would never be allowed to see her family.

The very next day I sought help and have been sober since. My niece and nephew (twins!) are almost three years old now, and I can’t imagine my life without them.

The trick to getting clean is to want it. To be so fed up with your life that you want to change. I wanted to be an aunt, and the thought of that never happening was enough for me. Find your reason to want to change, especially if you’re doing it for yourself.

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Be sure to stop by next month for another Story of Hope!