The Unexpected Gift of Recovery
BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
In less than one week I will watch my baby girl graduate from high school. She is the youngest of my tribe and will be accepting her diploma with honors. What an amazing blessing. That same little girl who stood crying in doorways trying to keep her mother from going to a bar night after night, who got up on her own everyday of her elementary years and got herself to school, has been a true testament to my sobriety. I am honored to be her mother. But I can’t own her achievements. She is the one who deserves all the credit.
This young lady had one of two choices in her life. At the tender age of 11 she witnessed a mother who was hell bent on destroying her own life, and was oblivious to anyone else she was taking with her. Beside her was an innocent child caught in the wake of a terrible disease that she did not create but had to bear the markings of daily. This 11-year-old girl was at a crossroads in her life. This is the age that they go one way or another.
A lot of girls her age were dealing with similar situations. A lot of those same girls were beginning to experiment with the idea of drinking and drugging themselves. Some had already begun. Most of them were already running the streets, staying out odd hours, cutting school, and breaking the law. This little girl was beginning to entertain those same thoughts. Why wouldn’t she? She had a mother who was a shining example of what that life looked like.
Somehow, in the nick of time, this little girl’s higher power heard her pleas late at night to please help her mother. I found the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous before my little girl turned 12. At that time, my daughter stood with one foot on both sides of the invisible line that life had drawn for her. On one side she could use the excuse of beer pong was in her blood and that it was normal to step over strangers passed out on her living room floor and take the chance of becoming like me. Or, she could wait another night to see if I would come home sober again and join me at meetings night after night to see if this recovery thing was for real.
She stood at the fork in the road, with a very young and impressionable mind, her faith in something greater cloaked her in protection. It is nothing short of miracle that she chose the road less traveled. It is nothing short of a miracle that in a few short days she will stand on stage and feel the honor of her choices these last 7 years.
In just a couple days before her graduation from high school, that same mother (me) who couldn’t stay sober to save her life all those years ago, will be taking 7 years of continuous sobriety. We are both miracles in our own ways.
This is not the typical story. The story doesn’t always go like this. But this one has. We are only a handful of success stories. I thank God everyday that he kept me sober so I was able to be present for each of my daughter’s stellar accomplishments. I would have missed the multiple amount of miracles that have occurred along the way.
I was able to witness account after account of choices that she made year in and year out that often times left me baffled. At the wee age of 14, she was already involved in student council and on the varsity volleyball team. Her influence at school carried over to her 14th birthday party when she held a very sober house party that rocked the halls of her junior high for days with accolades from her peers about what a “rockin” party she threw. She would continue to amaze me as she went against the grain and chose to leave parties because there was drugs and alcohol there. She proudly carried her message into high school with continual involvement in student leadership positions. She joined Drug Free Idaho in hopes of sharing the message of hope with her peers. Hour after countless hour she devoted to being of service to others and continuing her quest to better herself.
During all those years she gained and lost a lot. She saw death, experienced a broken heart, and fell short of her academic ideal for a semester. She walked with me hand in hand through all of her trials and watched as I handled mine. With each challenge we faced and overcame, we became stronger in our own testimonies.
Her walls would be filled with awards and there were assembly after assembly of recognition for her hard work. At the age of 16 she would again throw a sober party that would echo throughout the halls of her high school and give her the chance to show kids her age that they didn’t need alcohol or drugs to have fun. She proved it to them time after time as they filled social media with posts about the awesome time they all had at her parties. She loved being that example for them.
Now, tonight, I sit across from her at the local coffee shop as she studies for her very last final. Who is the young woman that sits, Italian soda in hand, busy flipping note card after note card? She is my daughter. She is reflection of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and a mother who has worked the steps, living the principles in her everyday life. She is reflection of the grace her higher power gave her and her mother 7 short years ago. She is a miracle. She has been my greatest blessing from getting sober. A byproduct I could’ve never perceived happening. Thank you God. Thank you for getting me sober all those years ago so I could be the mother to this young lady that you knew she deserved. Thank you for allowing me one more sober breath so I could experience this miracle. Thank you.
~ Tami Harper Winn ~
The story written here is solely the work of the author’s. Any use or reproduction of this article is prohibited without written consent of the author or credit to the author through works cited