Woman tells gripping story of addiction and recovery

It was the fall of 2006. I was in junior high with high honor roll. A connected circle of friends. Happy. Friendly. Well liked. At least in public eye.

Casey Quick

I just had my son at sixteen. I did not see this as a happy time as my mother did not approve. She was angry I had thrown away my education for a boy she did not like. l hid my pregnancy to hide the shaming I perceived until I couldn’t hide my growing belly This fear rooted from growing up in an old-fashioned, low-income American household. Under rein of a dictator, abusive, alcoholic mom and a submissive, quiet father whom worked long hours doing the only trade his education lead him to – roofing.

I was taught to be seen and not heard. I was raised from my mother to ‘do as I say and not as I do’. The mornings I would wake up for school and step over her sleeping body from a night of blackout drunken stupor… seemed routine. I was not to argue or question or there would be consequences. Retaliation and anger. My mother guarded her alcoholism with such ferocity… such denial it was a big issue. Much as I did only a few years later.

My road into addiction, like many in my opinion, begun innocent and unknowing. My first job as a waitress, having drinks socially after work. We all think our lives are under control. This is fun, right? I didn’t know better at the time, but I felt compelled to make my life right somehow. I was about to graduate and looking into college. Working full time and looking for a place to call my own.

All the while my mom miserably sat, drink in hand, with such resentment.  Knit picking mountains out of mole hills. I was an hour late. I left my shirt on the floor after (what she perceived) a long, money-wasting shower. Bless my mother, for I soon followed her footsteps. I wish I’d known better, but I felt so rejected and unloved by my mother. Maybe it wasn’t me… maybe it was her. I just wanted things to be right. It seemed like a minor detail, but the fifty pounds I had put on after my son was born was on my mind. I felt like I was chasing achievements like a hamster wheel so I could, at the very least, lose some weight to feel better about myself. Looking back, I learned how helplessly anxious I was in my life.

After some reading, I adjusted my foods and portions and began walking. So after closely following this after a few weeks, I did lose ten to fifteen pounds. I remember having more energy and the positive compliments from my friends at school. I loved it. I soaked it up. Even my parents were in agreement. This began a dangerous momentum unaware of myself. I suppose my mindset was ‘’well if this is good, more is better.” It was certainly a great feeling. I was in control of my life. I was finally doing something right.

My casual drinks with friends extended to drinking alone in my room at night and limiting my food all day, as well as the juggling act of life. On the outside I was fearless, polite, and happy. Inside, I clawed my teeth and nails into my imaginary happiness. Anorexia and alcoholism. In only months time forward, I lost myself rapidly. The list of foods I deemed “unhealthy” grew longer. I restricted smaller and smaller portions. I actually began fearing foods and having panic attacks when confronted. The positive compliments began morphing to concerns and questions of which l unwillingly lied to guard my anorexia. By this point I couldn’t see myself as others seen me. I felt powerful being swept away in my own world. I drank nightly to the point of blacking out daily. I was often disheveled and late for my job, which lead to a suspension until I sobered up. Without a job I fell behind in rent, which lead to eviction. My grades suffered since my health and my mind was declining. I became mean and aggressive when I drank, which you can imagine gotten me in a lot of trouble. Many, many nights I woke up and couldn’t remember anything that happen to me. How terrified I felt, but I couldn’t t seem to stop.

I had dropped half of my original weight, I appeared painfully thin, frail, pale. My hair was thinning. I was cold all the time. My bones hurt me to sit in a chair and my shoulder blades and hips sank into the springs of my bed. The gravity of the whole situation seemed not in my favor and I knew it.  I knew I was in trouble but I didn’t have the courage to reach out. I felt like I couldn’t let go.

One morning, living at my parents, still rather dark outside. I had walked downstairs to fill a glass of water to drink. My mother sitting at the kitchen table Nodding in and out in a drunken haze from a long marathon of screwdrivers all night. This of course was common. I paid no mind and had only the intention on getting water and going back upstairs. Glass in hand I heard a muffled slurry voice. I stopped feet away in mid-stride.


She waived her hands to signal me over with head down. Oh great, l thought. When I walked over she remained motionless.

“You okay, mom?”

She raised her hands to rest on my protruding, bony hips

“…please,’ she uttered. “Please gain weight… I don’t want to lose you.”

She began sobbing. She staggered to stand and embraced me tightly exclaiming I love you’s over and over. I was silent and accepting. I never seen so much warm outwardly love from this woman. I wasn’t sure what to say or do but embrace her back. I smiled, but it faded following a sinking feeling of fear, guilt and heaviness. For the first time the thought entered my head… maybe… maybe I am too thin.

The next morning I ate a piece of bread. The first food I decided to eat in 21 days. I chose to do so because my answers came to me that night. I never wanted to starve to death.  I just wanted love. So over the course of time I maintained a healthy weight. I developed a healthier self-image of who I am. I continued to struggle with some food and alcohol issues in secrecy until I stumbled into the love of my life who was also recovering from alcohol abuse. He was the stranger across the hall of my apartment that boldly opened up about his struggles with alcohol dependency without actually knowing anything about me other than I was his neighbor. I really respected that. It inspired me to reach out. So, after a few small talks and smiles I opened up to him about my past and my struggles, which was incredibly difficult.  When I seen how warm and attentive he was, I asked him to attend AA together, which of course he immediately agreed to.

So we set forth and dedicated our time and energy to attend a meeting every single day. I say time and energy since we had no vehicle, so it took great planning to time out buses and routes. Being prepared to walk sometimes over an hour for some locations that didn’t bus. We picked up chips.

As of today I’m proud to announce I’m (I should say WE are) 5 years sober. I’m married to the man that introduced me to AA. We have two beautiful children (4 and 2). It’s a working progress in recovery of my eating disorder. I’m learning more and more about myself and practicing simplicity and gratitude. I wanted recovery more than feeling stuck and hurt. Recovery means asking what the key is to that locked door. Asking the deeper questions to your hurts to find peace and understanding. This allows you to respond to life instead of react. I deserved to be alive and well. It was my responsibility and right to not allow my disorder to have power over me anymore and I continue to smile forward with that thought.


Written by My Recovery Story Contest Winner Casey Quick.

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