For the month of April, Fellowship RCO would like to recognize Adina Swan.
I first met Adina in 2014 when she arrived at Fellowship Recovery Residence, she was broken, hopeless, and helpless. Despite her hopeless state of mind, she did possess some willingness, her willingness to take suggestions was key. She started by getting a sponsor, attending daily meetings, and working the 12 steps. Adina soon began to thrive, she started taking on commitments and performing community service. She became a huge asset to our community by helping the newcomer just as someone had helped her. It has been truly amazing to witness Adina transform and grow into a dependable, responsible, respectful, and loving friend, woman, daughter, and mother. Adina continues to give back and inspire others today by sharing her experience, strength, and hope. She is a model Fellowship RCO Alumni, and we could not be prouder.
My name is Adina and I am an alcoholic.
Stigma…maybe…. don’t care. This is who I am and I have never, in my life been happier. I am proud to say that is who I am. I have not always been a grateful alcoholic though.
I had my first drink when I was 12 years old and loved it. I did well in High School. I played varsity softball, and was on the varsity cross country team. But if there was an opportunity for me to sneak out of the house and drink alcohol, count me in. Growing up in a college town didn’t help either. My drinking had progressed so bad that by my senior year in high school, one of the fraternities on campus banned me from being allowed onto the property.
I was now in my freshman year of college and my brother was in his senior year at our high school and on the varsity baseball team. On Jan 11th, 1995 my mother and father attended a varsity baseball parent meeting at our high school and my father had a heart attack and died. My mom was there with him. He was 46 years old. It was on this day that the life of myself, my brother and mother changed forever. It was “off to the races” and I was drinking all the time (though I did not believe I was doing anything different than any other college student) Many times waking up in unknown locations or the next morning my roommates would tell me “we thought we were going to die when you drove us home last night”. I was so angry at GOD for taking my father away from me, my mother and my brother. I hated GOD!! The unmanageability of my life was seeping into EVERYTHING and it was only a matter of time before I killed someone else in one of my blackouts, myself, or both. Somehow, I got my crap together and graduated in 1999….but still angry and filled with so much fear.
I went on to work as a Child Protective Investigator with the Department of Children and Families and started my career in Child Welfare. I got married, and two years later had my son. Normally, these events are two of the happiest times in most people’s life…. however, for me, they only added more and more anger towards GOD and immense internal sadness. I found myself just barely hanging on as a mom or a wife and eventually ended up divorced, homeless, and living out of my car.
Between June 2014 and October 2016, I went into treatment twice and then moved to Fellowship Recovery Community Organization. I was not super “grateful” to be there initially but if this is what I had to do, then I will do it. I stayed there a year, stayed sober, did my chores, wrote in my freaking journal, got a sponsor, and did everything they told me to. I then decided that I “got this”, “I am nothing like any of them”, and left. I relapsed and went back to Fellowship. Nervous, and a little anxious about how I left, they took me in no questions asked. Fellowship was there when I started on my sobriety journey, and was there again in 2016. Just like the roots provide support to the tree and keep it grounded and growing, Fellowship did the same for me.
Today I work my program along with my sponsor and have almost 5 years sober. AA has given me the tools to finally LIVE and not just watch from the sidelines in fear. Finally, “letting go” and having FAITH in GOD is what allows me peace today. I do not have to control anything; I just need to show up and do the next right thing. ALWAYS staying in gratitude no matter how bad the situation is (or may appear to be) is what keeps me in the present moment with what I DO HAVE, and what GOD has ALLOWED me to have. There is no such thing as a grateful “drunk”.
I continue to work in Child Welfare today as a Trainer, with my own place, and my son in my life, ALL of which I would not have without the gift of sobriety. I have renewed healthy relationships with my son’s father and stepmother, my mother, brother, his wife, and cousins, ALL of which I would not have without the gift of sobriety. I also finally decided that my health and weight needed to be addressed and as of today I have lost over 30lbs since Jan 2021. My health has never been better, and I am now working as a health coach and helping others on a path to optimal health and wellbeing. These are the promises come true for me, but nothing will ever amount to the gift of sobriety and I don’t want to ever loose that gift. I am no good to myself, my son or anyone else if I am not active in my recovery FIRST. I am sober today AGAINST MY WILL and I will never forget that.