Please note that some of the material may be graphic and/or vulgar in nature. Student’s names are kept confidential.
On January 10th, 2009 my life had hit a low like I had never felt before. It was a very cold and icy night in Omaha, NE and my driving condition was not up to par; I had been drinking and smoking marijuana. I did not see the red light until it was too late and ended up getting t-boned by a plow truck. Thankfully there were no injuries in this accident, but the consequences to follow were a string of events that would finally lead me to surrendering my control over alcohol and drugs.
Before this accident I had two other alcohol related offenses that landed me on probation. I had people telling me that I may have a problem and needed to seek help. Very rarely did the thought cross my mind that a problem existed with the way I was living my life, but when it did it was usually at the fault of my parents or the police, never was it my problem. The previously mentioned accident was an exception, it was at this time that the thought came to me that every time I drink or do drugs something bad happens. This accident landed me on probation, once again, with a 2nd DUI. The judge required me to complete an outpatient treatment program and attend 1 AA meeting a week.
I was raised in a sober environment, with most of my immediate and external family being in either AA or choosing a sober life. I had been to more 12 step meetings than most AA members by the time I was ten years old and had a working knowledge (or so I thought) of the 12 steps. I knew that AA worked for people and could see this evidence all over my family, but it was not what was going to fix me. I continued to drink while on probation and while attending outpatient treatment. Little did I know that the information I was accumulating in those programs would finally take hold in October of 2009. On October 9, 2009 I had my last drink. I had been regularly attending AA meetings, got a sponsor, and started building a fellowship of support that helped me surrender my control.
Sobriety has not only been about combating my control over alcohol and drugs, but also about figuring out who I am. Giving up alcohol was the easy part for me. When I was new the only thing that I could understand is that drinking caused me problems and I wanted it to cease being an issue for me. Today I can see that I am the problem and I drank to cover up the wrongs inside myself. I have learned that once I can work on myself and face who I truly am, only then can I gain a so called power over my alcohol and drug addiction. Spirituality has been a major factor in my sobriety. I have struggled over the years with a concept of a Higher Power, but so long as I have been willing to believe I have felt that Power work in my life. Sobriety has been a big roller coaster ride for me, with highs and lows, in fact I have had to deal with some of the most difficult situations, in my life, sober. When I was a little over 2 years sober my dad was diagnosed with cancer and my grandmother was starting to become very ill. Sobriety taught me that instead of running from these problems and getting drunk or high over them, I should run to them and see where I can be helpful. By being a part of my family during these hard times I was able to build closer relationships with both my father and my grandmother and not dwell on the difficult situations we were facing.
I had tried college right after high school, but partying quickly took priority in my life and I failed out of school after only a year. In 2012, at the age of 25 I decided I wanted to go back to school. I was able to complete an associate’s degree at a community college and have since starting working on a Bachelor’s degree here at UNO. In community college I was not aware of any recovery groups at my school and was forced to seek out support on my own. I had my AA community and luckly I was part of a fellowship of young people, many of whom were in school. The support from this fellowship helped carry me through my time there.
I found out about the UNO Recovery Community before actually becoming a student here. Knowing that there was support on campus was a big reason why I chose this university. Being a non-traditional student, I find it difficult to find campus organizations that I can fit into. The CRC has not only given me the support I need for being a student with alcoholism and addiction, it has also given me a way to feel a part of my school and participate in my learning outside of the classroom. The best part of the CRC is the community we are building. It is one of the coolest things to walk into the CRC dorm and talk about life, spirituality, sobriety, etc. Having a support system on campus was something I did not even know I wanted until I experienced it. I am very excited to watch the growth of this community and hope to one day see sober housing and scholarships. I tell everyone I meet about the CRC and encourage students who are facing drug addiction and alcoholism to come check it out.
A huge part of my recovery is having a support system that can hold me up when I feel as though I am falling. The CRC is that system for me here at school. A lot of my friends outside of school either are already graduated or have never had the experience of going to school sober. The CRC gives me the opportunity to learn and grow with people who are in the same shoes I am in. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next few years with this community and I am so pleased to be a part of something so big.