Starting Small in Recovery with Jeanne F.

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woman in overalls smiles in garden

Hi, my name is Jeanne, and I am an alcoholic.

A simple statement of ownership of who I am, and at certain times in my life, I have forgotten. I substituted that statement with, “I am a mother,” “I am a wife,” “I am a runner,” and finally, “I am overwhelmed.” Truthfully, I am all those things, but one statement that haunted me for years is, “I am at peace.”

My journey for acceptance and inner peace began on Sep. 1, 2019. It was the day I entered Mountainside for the second time. I had lost everything, especially myself. I was 50 years old and struggling to be the person I was in my 30s. My expectations were high, and my acceptance and self-love were low.

I knew that to stay sober and live a meaningful life, I had to start getting honest, feel passion again, and find fulfillment in something.

My journey began with trying to discover what makes me happy. I truly did not have to go any farther than my own backyard. My bliss comes from experiencing and contributing to the joy of others. Once I figured this out, I began to regain self-esteem by doing estimable acts.

This joy and love mostly come from small actions. I started with a New Year’s resolution to make sure I told people how much I value them. My other goal was to do something of purpose when I saw them. It started when I witnessed a friend’s son randomly help an older man with his grocery bags to the car. It was so full of grace and love, and I texted his mom to tell her how beautiful her son acted toward this man. She was so thankful and happy to hear this of her son. I felt blessed to be in a place to notice such grace.

I now know that to keep this peace and love, I must continue to give it freely. I am very active and enjoy volunteering my time to other addicts and try to continue being of service in AA and at Mountainside. I have learned to establish boundaries and make sure I do not give away too much of myself to the point of resentment.

I find balance by staying active and find acceptance and peace in the smaller milestones I continue to achieve. I am learning to love this 52-year-old woman I see in the mirror. I am learning to see past the flaws and scars of the past and embrace the person who survived them.

Today, life is good. Today, I cherish my family, friends, and the gift of sobriety that was so freely given to me but so hard to accept. This journey will not be without bumps and setbacks, but I know if I continue to stay sober, I will not have to go through it alone.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Mountainside can help.
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