It’s amazing how regardless of where I’m at, I feel at home when I walk into the rooms. I could be in a different state, and feel like I’ve always been there. The rooms and the people in them are like my home away from home and my second family.
Before I joined this program, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I thought alcohol and drugs were all the love I needed. My addiction took the place of everything, it was the one and only thing I loved. I never realized what real love was. When I finally got sober, I didn’t know how to act towards people. I never really associated with people. When I did, it was just to get something from them. I always thought that everyone was like that. I thought people did things to get something out of it too.
When I attended my first meeting, everyone was so nice to me. They showed me where everything was and refilled my coffee. They showed me how the meeting went and didn’t pressure me to share. I had just lost a baby as a result of my alcohol and drug use. I never felt so at home and cared about. I could tell the people in that room that day really wanted to help.
As a newcomer, I believe that helped me stay in the program. The acceptance, love, and compassion and the desire to help people without getting anything from it is one of my first lessons I learned in this program. I also like that people were comfortable enough to open up and share their problems with each other. I even learned that guys and gals could be friends and help each other without it going any further than that.
The more meetings I went to, the more comfortable I was with the people in the meetings. The friends I have made in this program have done more for me than they will ever know. They have helped me stay sober, and learn a lot about myself.
When I see a newcomer, I try to remember what everyone did for me when I came in the program, and I do what I know helped me. I pass on what was given to me by my friends. I try not to go over board and scare them away. I have found that people who are comfortable with where they are have the tendency to come back more often.
I have a passion for helping people and I love knowing that I have helped someone stay sober even if it is one day. Who knows, that cup of coffee you bring them or that hug, or just the love and friendliness in the air can help a person decide to stay sober. Even though I’ve been in the program for a little while, I still like the reassurance that no matter what, I won’t be judged. People might make suggestions because they have been through a similar situation. This helps reminded me that no matter where I’m at, I am not alone.
My name is Kristen Kellem. I was born in Rantoul, IL on the Air Force Base. I’m 27 years old, and have lived an eventful life. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, even had a stillborn because of my addictions. Now I have a beautiful son, I’m going to school, going to church and I have 5 months clean and sober. My do I have a story to tell.