‘Recovery Rocks – Betsey Berry’ by Veronica Valli

photo-300x300Here’s a recent addition to Veronica Valli’s Recovery Rocks blog.

‘This is just one of those ‘blow you away’ recovery stories. I am in complete awe how Betsey Berry managed to put her life back together after a serious meth addiction.

Getting clean is challenging for anyone, getting clean of meth whilst having 4 children, a drug addict husband, going bankrupt and loosing your house is a whole new level of challenging. Not only is Betsey clean, she has just graduated college with a BS in Alcohol and Drug counselling. Betsey writes about her experiences on her blog Mom off Meth.

She is incredible, please read and share her inspiring story.

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom’.
I had been in and out of sober recovery for years. This time, I’d been out awhile.

I have four kids with a man who was my “drug buddy.” When we would crash off of Meth, we would fight. We would be both so full of rage, I could feel it pumping through my veins. Never hitting each other, but screaming, swearing, “I hate you!” and cussing up a storm. I would punch holes through the walls. When we weren’t fighting, we were locked in our room smoking meth.

One night, during one of our rage fits, one of my children threatened to hurt himself in a very serious and attention catching manner. I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t bring him to the hospital because I had scabs all over me and I knew they would take away my kids.

So I slept with him and told him everything was going to get better. A promise I had made a million times. But this time I meant it. I clearly saw what I was doing to my kids. I saw what I was doing to myself.

That was August 23, 2010. I haven’t needed to pick up again. And since that date, although things haven’t been perfect, my life has gotten increasingly better.

My husband’s is another story, and I won’t share it here, other than he is a combat veteran, and his wounds show up as mental illness and addiction. Sober now, but very ill. War sucks.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
Two days after quitting, I left my chaotic family (seemed selfish to me, but I had to go) and went to a retreat. I had scabs from head to toe. I was crabby, starving, and had exhaustion from the depths of everything I was. So fucking tired!!

The retreat was about that one 12-step group that is for the family members of addicts. YUCK! But for so long I was trying to fix “our” addiction. I heard loud and clearly there that I could only fix MY addiction.

I went home, told my husband to leave and not to come back unless he gets help. So I was broke, alone with four kids in a house that was trashed. I reached out to my sober community, who were glad to see me back. They helped me clean my house. I went to a lot of meetings. I called my friends when I needed them.

I grew less and less tired. I could wear short sleeves again because my arms weren’t scabbed. I started to get strong and believe I could do it.

It wasn’t easy. We were broke. I applied for welfare, filed bankruptcy, my house was in foreclosure. Things were scary. But I took care of each little mess one thing at a time. Only what was right in front of me. That is how I got through that without using.

That was probably the most stressful, scary time of my life. It was also the most freeing, grateful, wonderful times of my life. I learned a lot in a short period of time. I came from a fairly well-off family. I learned a lot about humility. Applying for welfare is very humbling. Losing your house is too.

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
The best things that have happened to me sober are that I have learned so much about myself. My dad saved our home, so I didn’t lose it after all. He loaned a Meth addict an incredible amount of money. Maybe codependent of him, but it was gifts like that which made me grateful to be sober and helped fuel me when I was low.

I went back to school and just graduated so I can give back as a counselor. I have started writing a blog and with that I have gotten rid of any shame I have ever had about being an addict.

My children are doing great. One of them recently went through treatment and today is celebrating her 90-days of sobriety. My kids were effected by my drug use. They are children of two addicts. The chances of them becoming addicted are greater than the average child.

But I have given them the gift of recovery. I have been present. So when and if they find themselves in trouble with chemicals, they know it is possible to have a wonderful life without them. We have come a LONG way. And we have so much farther to go.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
Holy shit that is a good question. Would I say stop? No, because I couldn’t stop. I would ask myself to pay close attention to my kids. But I don’t think I could, or I would have.

I guess I would just tell myself that “You don’t have to live like this anymore, and recovery is awesome.” And probably it would have still turned out as it did.

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
I am not dumb. I am smart. I have never thought of myself as a smart person. I am strong. I don’t need a man to make myself complete. I am fine. I love myself now. I AM PROUD to be in recovery. I love to help spread the message that recovery works, and that we have nothing to be ashamed of.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.
I filed for divorce. I never thought I mattered unless someone loved me. I still love and care for this man. But this relationship has run its course. We are not going to grow together anymore. I would never have the courage to do that if I was still using. Oh, and obviously I GRADUATED COLLEGE!!!

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
“One day at a time.” For real. It is that simple. Sometimes it is one second at a time. But my head often floats to the future when I don’t even know what is going to happen. What do they say? “If you have one foot into yesterday, and another into tomorrow, you are pissing all over today.” Waste of time!!

“Keep it simple” also is a good one. I can complicate boiling water. It turns me into a procrastinator. These ones help me day to day.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?
Recovery rocks because there is this huge community out there that is moving and doing incredible things to get the shame and stigma out of this brain disease. People are excited about it and so am I.

My life is so lucky. I feel like the luckiest girl around to be where I am at. None of where I am at would be at all possible, if it weren’t for recovery. I’ve met so many incredible, inspiring, funny, smart people on this journey, and I know it will keep getting better and better. This IS the life.’

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