I found a need to make a page for those of us who are recovering 12 steppers who may go to discuss our grief and loss of our loved ones, whether that be loss we have used over or loss that is acute, and could make us use right now. My story begins below, and I used for years over the deaths of my loved ones. Today, with over two years clean, I know I don’t need to use over anything; no matter what! If you feel the same, let’s all say so, and share our experiences, strengths and hope about our loved ones who have gone on ahead of us in an effort to inspire each other and the newcomer.
My story really began back in 1986 when my sister, Linda, died suddenly from complications of an epileptic seizure. I had no sooner gotten through the ceremony associated with her death, and the shutting down of her apartment when my mother and father broke the news to me that my mother was in the end stages of renal (kidney) cancer. She attempted a last ditch effort at chemotherapy and radiation, but at stage 4, it was really too late. She was soon placed on Hospice, and almost within a year, she too died. During the last year on Hospice, I met my second husband of 26 years, became pregnant and my mother was able to see her third grandchild from me. At the time of her death I was 27. Three years later, at 30 years old, I began drinking heavily after my aunt and godmother, my mother’s sister, died also. I had lost all three of my matriarchal supports and was lost. My substance abuse through drinking, and then through prescription medications took off.
Over the years of my marriage my second husband had become physically abusive and I had spent time in a battered women’s shelter. We worked things out in therapy and I came home. From my first marriage I had a son and daughter, the daughter was adopted to another family, but my son was raised by my husbands parents and I had visitation. I also had an older stepson whom I loved, Jason, who grew up with all my kids. We had a big household with all our kids, neighbor kids and the old man and me. It was fun, but I went in and out of depression. There were times that I drank and when I drank and thought too much over my deceased mother, sister and aunt I sometimes attempted suicide. Thank God I was never successful.
In 1995 my father came to live with us and it was a blessing. We had many wonderful years with him while I went to nursing school. He was there when I graduated in 1997 and through my early working years as a new nurse. But, in 2001 he suffered a major stroke and was paralyzed on his left side. I kept him at home until he died Thanksgiving night 2003. After he died I fell apart. I couldn’t keep a job to save my life. I couldn’t even give an injection without shaking. In Aug. 2005 I took a Tylenol OD and was found by my youngest son, Jesse. If he hadn’t found me when he did, I’d be dead in an hour. I spent a week in ICU & a month on the flight deck (psych ward). I spent six months in therapy then got a great job with NYS in an Albany psych hospital in May 2006.
instantly. I saw him in the funeral parlor because as an RN I knew he wouldn’t be viewed. To know he was dead I had to see him. It was the worst memory I’ll ever hold.
In Aug. 2006 my 19 year old son, Keith, was driving alone to work at 7am on a beautiful morning going 5 miles above the speed limit. For some odd reason the police don’t even know his car rode up a guide rail and split in two. He was shoved into the back seat & the car accordion-ed down on him & he was killed.
In Nov. 2009, two weeks after a bitter argument between my stepson and me, my stepson Jason died in his mother’s garage after separating from his common law wife. I knew from the moment I heard it that he knew I loved him and the argument meant nothing. But, it hurt just the same.
From the time my son Keith died until I attempted to crash my car into a garage during the last time I used March 28th, 2010, I attempted to self medicate all these deaths away from the women in my life who had died to my father’s death to my son’s deaths. None of it ever worked. It took landing in the ER once more and seeing my ex-husband’s face once more, then being in the flight deck once more, and having my probation officer tell me “Look, you have a choice; either I can send you to jail or you can go to a 28 day rehab and then a six to 12 month rehab. Which is it?”
I chose life. I chose recovery. I used to define myself as a biker and went by the nickname bikerkate. Today I define myself as a grateful, blessed. recovering alcoholic and addict, and go by the name of nickname of gratefulkate. I’ve done many awful things to others in my addiction, and I’ve done many awful things to myself. But today I walk in gratitude and thankfulness, harboring no resentments while I continue to attempt to make amends. Some are not ready for my amends, and so I’ll wait patiently for the day they may be ready. But for now the God of my understanding brought me into the rooms of AA through a series of steps on May 29th, 2010, and through His unmerited favor (grace), I am a powerful example. I’ll remain one thanks to Him and my loved ones in the rooms of AA one day at a time. Thanks for letting me share. ~ Namaste ~ Kate Smeland