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From an Alcoholic to Becoming a Licensed Psychotherapist


I grew up in an alcoholic home, so it was natural for me to start drinking at the age of 14. I very quickly spun out of control, and was engaged to be married at the age of 16. I got married shortly after my 18th birthday, and had two children by the time I was 21. I loved being a mother, but one of my greatest sorrows is that I drank through both pregnancies, and always had a beer and cigarette while I was nursing them.



At that time, it seemed so normal, as there wasn't much information about the damage smoking and drinking while pregnant can cause. By the time my children were three and four years old, my drinking had really gotten out of control. My ex-husband and I were fighting all the time, and one night he ended up in jail for drinking and driving. That was my bottom, as I saw how I was recreating the same experience for my children that I had suffered through as a child; something that I had promised myself that I would never do.


When my ex-husband was released from jail, I told him that I was going to stop drinking, and if he continued, I was going to have to leave him. We attended 12 step meetings, but back in 1974, the rooms were almost all men, and the smoke was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. It wasn't for me, so I white knuckled it for the next 12 years.


Those years were mostly focused on going to university, becoming a teacher, involvement with the children's activities and sports, and living a good life. Unfortunately, I did not have any emotional or spiritual recovery, so the insanity of being a dry drunk was very much with me. I had a rage inside me that just wouldn’t go away. I truly believed that if only my children and my ex-husband treated me better, I would be happy.


At the ages of 14 and 16, my children became involved with drinking and drugging, and I felt myself trapped back in the insanity. I had escaped the insanity of my father's alcoholism, I had escaped the insanity of my alcoholism, I had escaped the insanity of my ex-husband's alcoholism, yet here I was again, back in the muck, with no visible escape.


After searching out different resources, a friend directed me to a 12 step program for parents, but I found myself wanting to drink. It was becoming more of an obsession, and eventually I found myself back in the 12 step program for people who struggle with alcoholism. There, I found wonderful friends, who guided me through the solution. I worked hard for those first 2 years, going to a meeting every day, talking with my sponsor, meeting with peers and doing step studies. Even now, after 42 years, I still do the same thing. I start my day with prayer and meditation, followed by a long walk with my dog. I usually call someone when I get home, then settle down to work for the day. Meetings and the steps are the foundation of the wonderful life that I lead today.


I love learning, and earned two different Masters degrees in sobriety. At the present time, I am a licensed psychotherapist in BC Canada. My passion is to help others to find the light within. We all have it, it is just hard to find sometimes! I do private face to face sessions, online sessions, workshops and retreats, and write a weekly blog. I am presently launching an online workshop called “Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness.” Please check my website for more information and to sign up for my weekly blog at www.arlenegeres.com


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