Margot Kelsey | Survivor of Addiction

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Today I am a truly grateful individual. I am healthy in all aspects of my life and now understand what I need to do to keep myself healthy for my future.

I started drinking when I was a teenager in high school. It was fun, dangerous (which made it exciting), and everyone I knew was drinking or wanted to, at least that was my perception at the time. I always had a lot of friends, connections mean a lot to me. I never felt like I truly fit in. I was a smart kid and it was hard to relate to other people, especially my own age. When I drank, as a teenager, I had fun, fit in and the weight of the world seem to leave me for a little while.

I did not drink like everyone else. I noticed that right away even as a teenager. I had a much higher tolerance and seemed to need a lot more than anyone else I knew. I also felt like I was not like everyone else, I was different and I did not know why. I felt like I had a hole in my chest and heart that I needed to fill, that other people did not seem to have. Understanding what I do now about the disease of addiction, I am genetically pre-disposed to suffer from the disease of addiction.

I grew up in a home that you worked hard and you played hard. For me, that meant recreational chemical use. I tried a variety of things in college but my escape of choice was hard alcohol, that is what I always went back to and wanted above all other forms of escape.

The first time I took a break from drinking I was 19 and had severe alcohol poisoning. I never was brought in for medical care, although I should have been. I quit drinking for over a year my first time, not realizing then that I suffered from addiction. I thought if I cleared my head for a while I could go back to drinking and be fine.

Over the next 15 years I worked all the time and when I was not working I always had a drink in my hand. I had some personal hardships, a failed marriage (we did not realize at the time both of us suffered from addiction), we also lost a son (I had a late term miscarriage). Neither one of us were equipped to healthfully cope with life’s challenges. My two drugs of choice to cope with life were work and booze. I have always worked hard and my identity has been wrapped up in my career. I worked in the Food Service Industry for 17 years. I put in a lot of long hours over a lot of years. The culture of that industry is one of chemical excess for many people, it certainly was for me.

The last few years before I decided to get help I was really good at lying to myself. I would tell myself that I could not have a problem with addiction if I could “control” all these aspects about it. I had a lot of rules so that I wouldn’t be what I was: A person suffering from the disease of addiction. I suffered from blackouts, depression and anxiety. I got a DUI that was a really high blood alcohol content that I had to sit 10 days in jail for (now I am thankful that I did not hurt anyone, in the many years I drank and drove).

The best choice I ever made for myself was to get myself help for my addiction. For me I reached out to a twelve-step community in my town. I knew that it was not just about abstinence to get myself well. Because I had tried to moderate and control my drinking for most of my adult life, I had proven to myself I could not do that. The twelve step program helped me, I was fortunate to find a good group and an even better sponsor who understood me. I also saw a therapist to work on my emotional health, worked on my physical health as well as my spiritual health. 

Today I am a truly grateful individual. I am healthy in all aspects of my life and now understand what I need to do to keep myself healthy for my future.  My life is better than I ever dreamed possible. There are days that are hard but I now have healthy life skills that I can use. I am so grateful for my path of recovery. I am an addiction survivor, now I have a life that I love and thrive in.