My name is Tina and I’m an addict.  I managed to make it through highschool without touching drugs and only getting drunk once.  Once I hit university though, and the first “welcome to school” party, a whole new world opened up for me.  Drinking gave me a confidence I never felt before.  I could go up to a guy and flirt ... I could look at other young women and not be envious of their looks or intimidated by their personality.  Alcohol made me comfortable in my own skin.
I spent the next year drinking hard ... failing classes ... blacking out ... waking up in parks or in the hallway or in some strangers’ vehicle.  None of this bothered me because I liked who I was.  Surprising how in that year, drugs did not make an entrance ... at least not until “that” party.  “That” party set the course for the next 27 years of my life.  No more hangovers.  I didn’t slur my words.  In fact, some of my most profound thoughts were when I got high.
Pot and hash were constant, alcohol only on weekends, harder drugs every so often.  Drugs opened another door into another world for me.  I had a good job so I had money, which in turn made it very easy to become a supplier.  I was popular.  My phone rang all the time.  People needed me.  Drugs gave me yet another boost of confidence that I craved so much.
Flash forward 20 years or so.  Married with children.  Lonely, unhappy, isolated, depressed, shy, introverted ... slowly over the years, pot stopped giving me that confidence.  In fact, pot tricked me ... it stole my life and now was rubbing my face in it.  I got high every day ... as soon as I walked in the door.  It was the only way to tolerate my life ... to escape ... to hide ... to avoid.  The thought crossed my mind a number of times that I needed to cut back, hopefully quitting for good.  Many attempts led to many failures.
I couldn’t deal with little life issues without getting high, let alone major ones.  It took a heartbreaking event in my life to spin my world out of control.  I started smoking from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed.  Sometimes I would wake in the night and get high.  I had become powerless over pot.  My life had become unmanageable.  I was trying to die.  I didn’t want to live anymore.
    On 01/31/09 at 10:00 in the morning, I went to work hung over and so very high.  I sat down at the computer and googled “symptoms of marijuana addiction”.  That led me to a chat site where I found something I didn’t know was out there ... other addicts just like me.  There was a list of 12 steps down the side of the screen which I quickly read over.  They meant nothing.  I listened to others ... I spent hours in that room.  Some people’s words had meaning and made me wonder that maybe I could quit using.
    I tried to quit in April on my own ... reaching out to a few, going through withdrawls and emotional surges, but what I didn’t see was that I was back to drinking.  I was replacing getting high with getting a buzz ... then it became getting drunk.  My May 20, I was 42 days clean from pot, but zero days sober.  I was devastated when I woke up one morning for work with a terrible hangover.  I said “screw this”, and had a toke.  That was it.  I gave up ... I couldn’t quit.  This is who I am ... Tina, the stoner mom.
    On May 23, I met someone in the MA Online chat room ... and he was saying things that no one had ever said before.  He talked of hope.  He talked how he KNEW how to quit.  He said there is only one way to quit using, and that is by going through the 12 Steps.  His words stopped me from giving up.
    By the end of June I had asked him to be my sponsor.  He emailed me a section out of AA’s BigBook, and told me to practice.  One Sunday I went to the park and laid in the sun ... I read the email again a few times and then got very quiet and relaxed.  I felt a nudge or a touch or maybe even a hug.  It startled me because I thought it was a dream, but I was definitely awake.  The door to God had just unlocked, and my sponsor was holding it open for me.
    I last got high at 8:30 a.m. on 07/08/09 ... why?  I really don’t know, but I have not looked back and regretted my decision to be open to anything and everything that will help me quit using.  Since that day, I have been amazed time and time again.  Each step taken and worked with honesty and thoroughness, revealed something new and exciting.  I was thrilled.  I was waking up and wanting to live.  God touched me in so many ways, and for me, the most important way was that I smiled ... a REAL smile.
    Addicts are special people and God sent something special for us.  They are called the 12 Steps.  They have shown me a new and better way of living.  I know how to cope with life issues ... the small AND the big ones.  I am learning to love myself.  I am excited at all the new and interesting things in this world.  I am still an addict, but I’m addicted to living now ... not hiding.