Story 19/25 Survivor: Jillian Lee Peterson
I grew up feeling different, afraid, alone, insecure and most definitely that feeling of not being good enough was at the core of my very existence….whether I was born an alcoholic or I drank myself into being one it doesn’t matter….I AM an alcoholic. And today I’ve actually come to accept and to truly believe it to be a GOOD thing. I am also a Mother, a friend, a sister a daughter, a fiancé AND a SURVIVOR. I began working as an escort as soon as I moved to Vancouver in 1997 and in the beginning I told myself it was just a side gig while I was in college, but college was over and I never quit. I worked some square jobs at first with the escorting on the side, living somewhat of a double life, but as my disease progressed, those square jobs disappeared and it wasn’t long before I was completely entrenched in that world and the lifestyle that came with it. It certainly kept me sick for a lot longer because my consequences of drinking and using were usually taken care of by a client and I also could afford to keep self destructing because there was always more money to make. But I was dying on the inside and deteriorating on the outside. There would come a point where I just couldn’t keep up with all the lies and all the self loathing and the day in day out struggle of wearing so many masks. I knew I had a problem and I knew I couldn’t stop. That’s how I came into recovery, still having “things” but having literally sold myself I truly had nothing left on the inside, I was soulless. It was 2011, I had a four year old daughter that needed me and we had suffered enough. I had crossed all my bottom lines and I had no hope. I was desperate to find a new way to live. I have not been sober since 2011. I have had many ups and downs in my journey of recovery and have visited all three hells along the way, jails, institutions and death, and it wasn’t until I ended up in the hospital and almost lost my life that I fully conceded to my innermost self that I was truly an alcoholic. I wanted so badly for that Easter long weekend to be the end of my “research” but what made it even more apparent that I was suffering from a cunning, baffling and powerful disease was that even a suicide attempt couldn’t stop me. I had so much guilt and shame and remorse and sadness that every time I got a couple months clean and sober the feelings and the ugly truths about myself were just too painful to manage and off I went again, self destructing and tearing down everything and everyone I loved….until January 19th 2016. My fiancé never let me out of his sight that day and literally held my hand minute by minute and hour by hour and that night there was a knock on the door, it was car 86 and by the grace of God I was sober and they (social services) did not remove my children that night. It scared me so badly and woke me up, so to whoever called the ministry on me I am actually forever grateful. You see, I love being a mother and I truly believe it is what I was put on this earth to be, but God wants me to be sober and now I want that too, for myself, not for my kids, not for my partner, or my parents or whoever else, but for ME! Because I am worth it and I deserve recovery! Today I have three beautiful daughters who I am sober and present for, a fiancé who I adore and who adores me right back, an amazing sponsor who I look up to and who inspires me on a daily basis, and a loving relationship with God, who never gave up on me even when I had given up on myself. I am Jillian Lee Peterson and I am a survivor!
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