Cheryl: 'Even a bad day sober is better than a good day drunk'

Cheryl: 'Even a bad day sober is better than a good day drunk'

"When I was 10 I started sneaking my mom’s cigarettes thinking smoking was cool and made a person “grown up.” Around that same year, my 16-year-old neighbor molested me. I’m not sure what all happened, but by age 13 I had become extremely promiscuous; I drank and smoked pot and did whatever else was offered. I was like two people in one body: The good girl went to school every day, got good grades, never caused trouble, always wanted to help her teacher and her parents. The other girl would have sex with most any male who was willing, drank ’til there was nothing left to drink or she passed out, smoked pot and tried a lot of other drugs.

"Always in a hurry to be the grown up, I married a man 10 years older than myself when I was 18. We both had drinking issues, and I hated that he could go out and drink and I couldn’t. One night I was so angry and drunk I got in my truck with a bunch of beer by my side and just started driving (something the “good girl” didn’t do). I don’t really remember where I went, how I tore up the side of my truck, or how I ended up back at home. I could have killed someone, and at that point I don’t think I cared; I may have been trying to kill myself.

"What I do remember the next day was the feeling ~ total and utter despair. My marriage was over. I didn’t know how to live. I didn’t want to live. I just wanted to lie down and never get up again. I called my mom, who had gone through recovery \when I was 16. She took me to a 30-day treatment program where I got clean and sober, but I was scared I didn’t know how to function.

"That’s when I came to St. Monica’s. They gave me the skills I needed to succeed, from simple things like getting up and keeping the house clean … daily activities that most people take for granted. These were not habits that I had developed; even personal hygiene wasn’t something I hadn’t cared a whole lot about. More important, they helped me learn to care for and respect myself and even to love myself. I was also baptized while I was at St. Monica’s.

"While at St. Monica’s I found a job and gradually moved back into society, having had the time and help to build a healthy support system. Now, 26 years later, I know in my heart that if not for my time at St. Monica’s I would not be sober today. My life is not perfect, but even a bad day sober is better than a good day drunk. I will always be grateful to St. Monica’s for helping me make mine one of the success stories."

*While our stories come directly from our clients and graduates, names and images have been changed to protect the women's identities.