Mela B.’s Story
She Reached the Legal Age, but then...
I didn’t start seriously drinking or using until I was about 21. It was 1968 and I had fully embraced all the sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll I could find. I married a bisexual hippie boy and we experimented with a voracious appetite. I hadn’t felt accepted in my family of origin, so being embraced by this new culture was intoxicating, not to mention intentionally horrifying my parents within an inch of their lives.
After a predictable divorce, I went to grad school and started a hard-drinking professional life. I reserved drugs for the weekends for the most part, and continued my promiscuous ways as alcohol removed any inhibitions along with any semblance of self-esteem or consideration for others.
Finally, at age 37, after a couple of scary blackouts, I went to the Employee Assistance Program at my work and the counselor suggested that if I thought I had a drinking problem, I probably did. I went to a women’s meeting for 14 months and got a fun sponsor that didn’t make me to any Step work. Good idea, huh? Then I decided to celebrate my friends’ being so supportive of my sobriety that I ordered us a bottle of champagne on my birthday — brilliant.
Fast forward to another period of “fuck it, party down” and having each relationship with men more dysfunctional than the last. My relationships in my family were tenuous at best – I was a self-centered asshole to so many people I loved, breaking their hearts. I re-entered a reignited hippie culture in the ‘90s, going to festivals and adding daily pot and frequent acid to my continuous drinking. No one seemed to notice that a 50-year-old was pretending to be 27 and blending right in with the crowd.
Finally, I was at a dear friend’s wedding in 2002 and I could not drink enough wine to make me comfortable in my own skin. I was drunk and loud, and couldn’t even join in on conversations with my wonderful tribe of neo-hippies. For the first time, I realized alcohol was getting in the way of a happy life. I tentatively spoke to a few friends in recovery and found every ridiculous excuse I could think of to not go to meetings. I finally managed to go to a few, and found a sponsor. As before, in the ‘80s, I exclaimed, “You don’t mean I have to give up pot, too, do you??!!!!?” And I certainly wasn’t addicted to acid, so that won’t be a problem, right?
I listened. I wrote. I learned. Little by little, my life began to get better. I started a new career in life coaching, was present at my mother’s death, and began healing myself and my relationships (cleaning up the wreckage). I faithfully went to women’s meetings held in our homes, and began my light-filled path to sobriety. I regained some esteem and took into my home a girl that needed help being raised, went into therapy, worked the steps, and found I could become a contributing member of society. I discovered I loved being of service, which continues to this day.
My daily prayer + meditation practice, along with yoga, healthy eating, and solid community, helps keep me where I’m meant to be. The support in our sober community is so healthy, loving, spiritual, and unwavering — I’m beyond grateful to be giving and receiving such gifts. And the story continues to unfold in divine grace.
~ Mela, WA