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Voices for Recovery

Patrice Pooler (08/15/2011)

Patrice Pooler Voice

I have been clean and sober since March 27, 1995.

I was in college studying to be a counselor when I took a class on substance use and saw myself within the pages of the textbook and at the mandatory 12-step recovery meetings. I was shocked to discover I was dependent on alcohol and drugs.

Growing up in an alcoholic family, I had learned at a young age the family rules of "don't talk, don't trust, and don't feel." I had my first drink at age 14. At 16, I was forced to put a child up for adoption—the hardest thing I have ever done. It took a lot of alcohol and drugs to numb the emotional pain. I spent 21 years trying to be happy in the form of substance use, and always wanted more.

Fortunately, after 10 years of recovery, I had the chance to be reunited with my son when he was 28 years old. I have a relationship with him today. He has had a good life with parents who gave him the life I could not.

I know today that happiness is an inside job. Thanks to recovery, I have gained the courage to heal and to learn that healing comes from feeling. The very thing I had avoided was exactly what I needed to cope with life, one day at a time, without the use alcohol or drugs.

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