Reflection on the Edna Experience
As I sit here on the 9 month anniversary of my sobriety, I have started this letter over and over, but I have come to realize that i don't have the proper words to express my gratitude to the Edna House and what it has done for me.
Prior to coming to Edna House, I was drinking... a lot. I had lost my job and totaled a car. I came very close to dying twice, not from alcohol poisoning, but from all of my major organs shutting down. I had to be put in a coma at one point, the doctors hoping I would "remember" to breathe when they took me off of life support. I will tell you that death by alcoholism isn't a pretty way to go and I cannot begin to know the terror, as a parent, to be told by a doctor that your child may not survive, yet my Dad sat at the hospital day after day, helpless. The doctor told me if I did not stop drinking, l was going to die. It was not enough to make me stop. After that, I also got a DUI, but legal consequences still were not enough. It took another several months before I realized that I could not continue to live the way I was living, but I also could not imagine my life without alcohol.
I came to live at Edna House August 22nd, 2017. The truth is, I was not sure that I wanted to make a six month commitment to anything, especially not living with other women and strict rules (some of which made no sense to me at all). It seemed that just about anything would be easier than living the way "those women" lived. I told myself would leave at 30 days, then maybe at 60 days, then perhaps after the job skills class...
It is now May 2018. Here is what I have learned at Edna House:
Each and every one of those rules is in place for a reason. The rules taught me responsibility, accountability, discipline, and consequences for my actions. The rules taught me how to behave as a lady in a society that does not bend to my will and my wants and needs. The rules taught me about honesty, willingness, and integrity. I learned to do the right thing, even when no one is looking and may never find out. I also learned that when I had done something wrong, it is better to go and make amends instead of holding on to it. I learned structure and having a specific set of rules helped me to learn to do things in a better way than I had ever been able to accomplish before.
"Those women" have become my sisters and my best friends. My Edna Sisters loved me until I was able to love myself and realize that I AM worth sobriety and a better life; and that all I had to do was follow a few simple rules. It takes courage to entirely change our lives. We support and encourage each other when things get rough (sometimes they really do!) and lift each other up. My sisters have taught me what it is like to love another person without boundaries and to give of myself in a loving way, as they did for me. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I know for sure the Edna Community raised me.
Edna House taught me to not give up. There is no problem that will be solved or any situation made better by my taking a drink. I've learned to approach all problems and all situations with grace, dignity, and love. I did not come to the house with a grateful or positive attitude. Now I use both of those things to enjoy every day. There is true beauty to be found in each and every single situation of my life. I've learned to be grateful and humble. I may not be perfect, but no one is. I am so far from the person I was and that alone is a huge blessing.
By far, the most important thing I have learned from this experience is that there IS hope if I just have faith and live by doing the next right thing. I have learned that there 15 a loving and patient God who DOES love me. I have learned, not just to stay sober, but how to live my life in a way that I no longer want to drink. The Edna House, Staff, & Community have "raised me" to be a better person and in turn to share that message of hope, love, courage, and faith with others, so they also know where to turn for help and know that someone will love them through it, just like it was done for me...And because of these things and a million other reasons, I know that I am TRULY BLESSED to have come to Edna House.
Thank you does not begin to cover my gratitude for this house and this program,