by Kristen Cannavino
The rush of the first sip of alcohol would light up my body in a magical way. It wasn’t long before alcohol became my God; the progression was fast and intense. At 17 years old I was single, working three dead-end jobs, lonely, living to drink and spiritually bankrupt. I reached an emotional bottom and I wasn’t even aware of it.
I thought drinking to oblivion was the best that life had to offer me. I spent all of my time working in restaurants, hanging out with friends, partying in the college district and head over heels in love with the amount of drinking that surrounded me. The only relationship I truly cherished was the one I had with alcohol. However, one man passed through my life who planted a small seed of hope and love that wouldn’t bloom until many years later.
Life happened; I moved away, went to college and started a career. On the flip side I spent all my time in bars, jails and hospitals. It wasn’t until a decade later when I found myself walking out of a hospital from acute alcohol poisoning and through the doors of my first twelve step meeting. I was physically, mentally and spiritually broken and ready to surrender and face my most debilitating fear; living without alcohol. I let go and fully accepted that I needed recovery in my life if I wanted to live.
Fast forwarding to today, I attend meetings, practice a daily reprieve and work the 12-steps with a sponsor. I’m consistently working on strengthening my relationship with my higher power – which I choose to call God today. For the very first time in my life I was living in the present moment; truly living. One day I closed my eyes, reflected back and realized my journey was beyond my body and my mind. Instead, a profound spiritual awakening.
As I continued to walk my path life continued to happen. I was unexpectedly reconnected with my high school spark which turned out to be a flame. We lived 3,000 miles apart but connected as if we were in the same room. The match that ignited the flame was finding out that we both built meaningful lives through working the steps.
Sharing our experience, strength and hope with each other was magnetic, the vibe was incredibly positive and the energy radiated. We separately walked uncomfortable paths of pain, struggle and regret for over 20 years which slowly healed through patience, compassion and love. Our paths connected full circle and our spiritual growth is mirrored within one another. He and I share a oneness – 24 hours at a time. A true miracle captured by the spiritual principles of a program of recovery.
Kristen Cannavino found acceptance surrounding her alcoholism in September 2012 and has been in recovery ever since. She believes that creating a strong sense of community is extremely powerful and positive. The “WE” in recovery really encourages the sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself.