The Blue Angel
My passions are the natural world, art, jewelry and helping people. For over ten years I worked as a personal buyer and designer of fine jewelry, frequenting the San Francisco Diamond District. For another six years I worked as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in California before joining Transforming Youth Recovery in 2013.
Working for Transforming Youth Recovery is one of my passions that gives me the opportunity to create awareness to end the stigma of addiction, and to help people live their best lives. I am optimistic and hope for the day when our young people freely choose health and wellness as their “drug of choice.”
As a person in long term recovery, I feel it is important to share stories that inspire and give others hope and motivation to keep moving forward on the path to wholeness. Every time a person takes another step towards wholeness it allows another person to follow. There are many paths to recovery, and recovery is a unique and personal experience to us all. Having said this, my hope is that Recovery Campus readers will finish this article knowing that all of us in recovery are “walking miracles,” and that a life in recovery is a wonderfully powerful way to move through this world.
What prompted me to get help was a life-changing experience I had one day while walking down the street. I had this crazy idea and decided to ask God when I was going to die. I never expected to get an answer, but I did. I heard a voice very calmly state:
“If you keep to the path you are currently on, you have six months to live.”
As you can imagine, I was totally shocked to actually get a response, and secondly I was shocked that my expiration date would be coming at the end of the year 2006. I never doubted for a moment the truth of the message I received – my inner knowing was ringing true in every fiber of my being, and I realized that the one thing above all others that I didn’t want to happen was for my parents to have to bury me.
I knew I had to get help, and so I told my parents what was going on (surprisingly to me, they already knew!) and started looking into residential treatment programs.
For most of my life I had been a “functioning addict,” and although I was sick of feeling like I needed something outside of myself to feel whole, I couldn’t stop using on my own. I also knew that in my current environment there were too many triggers and temptations, so I opted for a residential program to give me the best chance for success.
The program I chose was held on a working ranch. It was a nine-month program with the option to stay an additional year if you chose to go back to school. “The Ranch” was located on 146 acres and held winter retreats and summer camps to offset the cost of treatment. My work responsibilities gave me exercise during the day and each week there were over 30 different recovery-related meetings to choose from. I immersed myself in all the classes and meetings that I could. I knew that I had to make the most of this opportunity – my life depended on it.
There were so many buried and painful memories that started coming up during treatment that I asked God to show me what needed to be healed. During the day as I participated in work therapy, pictures of people and events would come into my mind’s eye, and I would consciously forgive the person, (or ask for forgiveness) and imagine that person or situation surrounded with unconditional love and healing. I would then send healing to the person or situation with thoughts and prayers floating away in a bubble of light. I was determined to stop carrying around uncomfortable memories that no longer served the person I was choosing to become. This prayer ritual I did daily. It took about five years to complete “emptying my closet,” but it was worth it.
It also took about five years of continued sobriety before I began really feeling emotions again. Doctors and others who had been in recovery longer than I, had told me this so I knew what to expect. My brain was healing, and knowing that each year was moving me closer to a state of wholeness, propelled me forward. Every night I would lie in bed and think of all the things I was grateful for.
In my third year of sobriety I began to see the Blue Angel. Each night when I lay in bed, I would look up at my ceiling and see a vivid, deep blue pool of light that would linger and eventually fade. I knew there was a Divine presence with me, giving me comfort and peace. This experience inspired me to paint the Blue Angel, and this painting was auctioned off in September during Transforming Youth Recovery’s
Art for Recovery event.
This year I will have nine years of continued sobriety, and I am thankful to the Blue Angel whose presence gave me the strength to stay my course.