Nothing I Wouldn’t Do To Keep My Sobriety by STEP Alumna Melissa S.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My name is Melissa and I’m an alcoholic.  I was 24 years old when I got sober.  Prior to that, there was almost nothing I wouldn’t do in order to get drunk.   After completing AODA treatment at Nova in Oshkosh, I went to live at Terra House in Oshkosh.  This is where I was introduced to STEP Industries, a local contract manufacture.  I needed a job and so I applied.  The interview didn’t include my employment background, education, etc.  Instead, I was asked questions about my plan for my recovery, which is their priority.

    I worked at STEP from October 1999 until August 2000.  One of the first things that come to mind when I think about working there is how early I had to get up.  We (me and others at Terra) were picked up around 5:00 AM or so by a guy named Bob because we picked up others and were driving from Oshkosh and needed to start work by 6:00.  I hadn’t gotten up that early in a long time!  Our workdays at STEP started with a daily meditation reading because, like I said earlier, this is their number one priority.  I’m pretty sure that inspecting diapers was the most boring job I’ve ever done.  However, the conversations I had around the table of diapers were, and still are, some of the best recovery conversations I’ve ever had.  My friend Kent D. used to always say to me, “Melissa, you got the first step? The other steps are important, but the first one, that’s the key.” (I may be paraphrasing a little-it was a long time ago!).  I must say that the hair nets were my least favorite part of the job.  Not many people can pull off looking cool in a hair net.  While at STEP Industries, I also worked as a janitor and wrote for the newsletter. 

I met one of my closest friends at STEP and we are still close today, even though we live in different cities.  I chose to leave STEP for my next opportunity.  Although it was difficult, sad, and scary to leave, I believed STEP and my other support systems had given me the tools to succeed.  I am eternally grateful for STEP.  I would be leaving something/someone very important out about my experience there if I didn’t talk about Mike T.  I will never forget riding to work with him in Bob’s van, the coffee concoction he taught me how to make at Kwik Trip (vanilla creamer and hazelnut coffee-yum!), the snow angel he gave me a dollar to make in the parking lot at STEP, and his laugh/smile.  He is missed. 

I have been sober sixteen years.  I maintain my sobriety by attending meetings, spending time with my recovering friends, having a connection with my higher power, and accepting that I’m powerless over alcohol and drugs.  I’m also a firm believer in working the steps.  They work-they really do!  At 24, there was almost nothing I wouldn’t do for a drink.  Today, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep my sobriety.  I don’t know a lot of things for certain.  But I do know that if I drink, I lose everything.  I will lose my job, my husband, my family, my home, and probably most importantly, myself.  Maybe not right away, maybe not in a month or two, but eventually, I will lose all those things.  I’m an alcoholic and as a result, I cannot or never will be able to drink socially.   Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease we have, only a reprieve.  I’m so grateful for my reprieve.