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I met an amazing woman during my recovery journey named Dani. She has such an artistic, light, and beautiful soul. Very rarely did I see her upset or angry; she emanates a calmness and contentment that puts others at ease. She walks hand-in-hand with the spirit of the universe, the sun, and the moon. This is Dani’s Story of Recovery.

               Dani grew up in a large, Irish-Catholic family, and true to the stigma, they loved their booze. Dani’s family actually owned a tavern that was connected to their home. She recalls her childhood as shiny, bright, and happy. Dani’s mother wasn’t too affectionate, but her father was her rock and they had an incredible bond.

               When Dani was thirteen years old, her father passed away. She was his caregiver in the fourteen months leading up to his death, and due to cancer, watched him whither away from two hundred pounds to one hundred and twenty. She witnessed him endure chemotherapy for over a year. “The evening that he died”, she says, “he told me to watch over the family. I broke.” This is when Dani began drinking.

The Downward Spiral

               Her alcoholism developed over the course of twenty-six years. “At first it was social drinking, then I started drinking just to drink. It became ‘one was too many and a thousand was never enough’.” Alcohol was always around for her growing up, and it was an accepted aspect of the family dynamic. Her mother passed away in 2008. Dani admits, she and others, were drinking at the funeral.

               Dani’s longest period of sobriety was ten years. In March of 1993 she relapsed when she was getting a divorce. She eventually remarried but her alcohol abuse became a concern for her new husband. She got a DUI in 2015 and in the past year, was hospitalized for extreme dehydration and a bleeding duo-dermal ulcer. The doctor stated, “you’ll die in ten years or less.” “That,” Dani says, “is when I started to hide my drinking.”

               Today Dani has graduated a twenty-eight day program. She says that she has found it interesting how the brain works and the affect that alcohol has on it. In her sobriety, Dani sees herself as free, open, and artistic. She desires to be straight, a good wife and mother, and to find something for herself in retirement that she wants to do, rather than has to do. Her greatest motivations are her husband and her children.

A Spiritual Experience

               When I asked Dani about her spiritual beliefs she said “My Higher Power is the sun and the moon.” She elaborates on one of her spiritual experiences: “I dreamt the same dream for four years. My dad came and sat on the edge of my bed and said ‘Your questions will be answered.’ While we were moving after he passed, my mom was going through some books and an envelope from my father fell out. It had letters inside he had written to us before died. My dream stopped and I knew it was him.”

               Dani’s Story of Recovery says to alcoholics active in the madness, “Be ready and be open.”

-I’d like to thank Dani for allowing me the privilege of interviewing her and her bravery of sharing her story. You can find other personal stories here!-

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