Merlissa: Living Sober and Accessing Her Higher Power

Merlissa C. Alfred
A woman shares her story of recovery from alcohol use and binge drinking.

Merlissa C. Alfred
Sober Home Manager, Any Length LLC
Austin, TX

I am Merlissa C. Alfred, and I have been in active recovery from alcoholism since February 21, 2013. Reflecting on my journey to this point, it’s clear I was always an alcoholic. The first time I drank alcohol, as a freshman in college, it filled something in me that I lacked. It eased my insecurities and flaws, allowing me to feel relaxed and comfortable in my skin; however, I consumed so much alcohol that I became sick and ultimately blacked out. This same series of events—drinking in excess to the point of becoming sick and blacking out—occurred almost every time I drank throughout my undergraduate years. Though I did not drink with any regularity during that period, the times I did drink proved I had absolutely no control when it came to alcohol.

Eventually, I grew tired of alcohol and stopped drinking for many years, but that internal void remained. Ultimately, I returned to drinking alcohol. Initially, I drank socially; however, in a short time I was drinking at home by myself in the evenings. The evenings turned into the mornings, and eventually I was drinking all day, every day. My drinking consumed me, and I could think of nothing else. I drank until I blacked out, and upon awakening, would start drinking again, repeating the cycle.

By 2010, my family realized the situation I was in with my drinking and held an intervention. I believed I had everything under control and could stop any time. Then I saw the pain that I had caused and decided to go to treatment. I learned a lot about addiction and recovery while I was there. One month after being released from treatment, I started drinking again, picking up where I left off. My drinking quickly grew out of control, which resulted in me getting two DWI’s within six weeks. At this point, my family and my lawyer made it clear my only option was to go back to inpatient treatment. I went and had an amazing experience, and upon discharge I did almost everything that was suggested for the first few months. I went to outpatient treatment, I saw a counselor, I had a sponsor, and I went to meetings. However, one-by-one, I started removing components from my recovery program to the point where there was nothing recovery-related left. At 10 months sober, I returned to active alcoholism. The insanity returned immediately, and I couldn’t stop drinking no matter whom I hurt.

In a moment of clarity, I agreed to talk to my counselor, and I entered inpatient treatment. I was void of any hope or faith, so I held on mightily to the Big Book and the recovery community because they demonstrated that I never had to return to a life with alcohol.

Last Updated: 12/18/2015