Today I am joined by the brave and inspiring Jenann Richards. For the first time, she shares the story of her addiction and recovery. Jenann discusses the importance of telling her story to help other addicts step into recovery. The journey has had many ups and downs and Jenann is grateful for them all, as they have led her to her purpose. Listen in to this inspiring story and road to recovery.
About our guest:
Jenann Richards grew up in South Jordan/Riverton/West Jordan, Utah in a lower-middle-class family of 5 siblings. After being sexually abused as a child, bullied in school, and made fun of throughout her childhood, Jenann found herself using alcohol to escape all of these painful experiences in her life.
Jenann is now 20 months sober from alcohol, living in Sandy Utah with her loving husband Al Richards, and is looking forward to helping others in recovery. Jenann has two children and 4 grandchildren who are the light of her life.
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I know you, you are afraid to speak up, you are scared of what other people think of you. And you blame yourself for what happened to you. I know how it feels. Because I’ve been there. If you found me, I’m so grateful you’re here. This podcast will give you hope. And now I’m your host, Anna ditchburn. I’m going to hold your hand and provide the guidance that I needed the most. It’s time for you to find your why. And turn your experience into your superpower. So lock your door, put your headphones in, and enjoy. Japan. Welcome to the world’s best German recovery podcast.Unknown:
We thank you for them. Great. SoAnna Ditchburn:
so great to have you here. Gentlemen, I know this is your very first time when you are when you is going to tell your story or your full story. Yes. After many, many, many years of battling with your addiction, yes. I just wanted to tell you how brave you are, and how proud I am of you. Thank you for doing this. You can how grateful I am for knowing where you’re doing this.Unknown:
Thank you so much.Anna Ditchburn:
My first question to you. Why is it so important to speak up to tell your story?Unknown:
There’s a couple of reasons. One, the most important reason to me is if I don’t give back if I don’t tell people my story and try to help others I will use again, I will be drunk again. And no time. The other I think, which is what kind of what God’s plan is for me to educate the world or educate help others learn how to get sober because I went through a really, really hard, hard road of trying to get sober. And it really takes that person making the decision to do it doesn’t matter what who on the outside wants them to do it, they will not be able to do it, unless they know it on the inside. And I just feel like that’s my purpose in life now is that I was made an alcoholic so I get to teach other alcoholics how to become sober how to be live in recovery?Anna Ditchburn:
What an amazing answer. And they know you. You’ve been you’ve been sober for 20 months. Yes. Congratulations. Thank you. What was your addiction?Unknown:
It was alcohol was as funny I used to when I first got into my addiction. Well, when I first started drinking alcohol, I was taught I would tell everybody, I will never do anything about alcohol. Because my dad is a what I like to call my trash addict. But his main drug of choice was heroin. But he did everything. And so I, I always used to tell people, I’m never going to do anything about alcohol, thinking that it’s not the worst one, which in fact, it is like alcohol and heroin are the two worst drugs you can take or get addicted to. Because they’re the hardest to come off of. It could kill you. Either one of them can kill you if you don’t, are on the right. medications and stuff like that in the right circumstances. So I used to say, Yeah, alcohol is something I’m never going to do. I’m not going to do anything worse than that, you know. And now, now I look back and saying that, I mean, how ignorant was I to think that I was in the best spot by drinking alcohol, you know, because it’s, it’s difficult to get off of it. It really is because it’s legal. It’s a social thing. People do it all the time. So it’s it’s difficult. You have to get you have to really row girl past the point because oh, you know, he’s a, he’s a social drinker. And he can he drinks around me now. And it doesn’t even bother me. In fact, after ever since I got sober. I smell the smell of alcohol and I want to throw up that’s how bad it is because I use my body so badly over those months or years that it just it just reacts that way to it. It makes me sick. That’s so that’s so good. Yeah, it is. It’s very, it’s a very good relapse prevention thing for me is to all I have to do is think about it and what it tastes like and what it smelt like and I’m like, No,Anna Ditchburn:
when was the first time you realize that you have a problem that was the first timesUnknown:
I cannot really pinpoint but I can tell you around this area and that was when like I was saying yesterday when we got married because every thing in my life started falling apart. And I started drinking more often. So for years ever since I first drank, I mean, it was my first drink, it was like, once in a great while, you know, whatever. And it was very social. And then, since my early 20s, I would probably drink on the weekends I was drinking, I used to tease myself and say, I’m a weekend alcoholic,Anna Ditchburn:
you know, drinking wasUnknown:think it was probably around:Anna Ditchburn:
I’m just wondering, you know, the alcohol is a disease. Yes, I do. And being an alcoholic, it’s just a sign of a deal. Yeah, it’s a symptom of what’s going on in your life that you’re trying to escape, or you’re trying to diminish what’s, what’s your, what was happening in your life that you were trying to escape from, and that itUnknown:
is still hard for me to kind of put the pieces together, but a lot of Okay, so when I was when I was young, growing up, I came from a lower middle middle class family, there was a lot of hand me downs, there’s a lot of, you know, so in school, I was bullied a lot. I didn’t, I got made fun up, I got treated differently. And so I always felt different. And as I got older, you know, I never had a whole bunch of friends, a big group of friends. I was like, two or three friends, thoughts was all I had. And that’s just something that worked for me. And so, as I grew, I just had really low self esteem. I thought I was worthless. I thought nobody wanted me. Another thing. My father and I were very, very, very close. I have five siblings, I was the only one he gave a nickname. My nickname was candy. And I was just as girl. I have two older brothers, two older sisters and a younger sister. And there was a special bond between us. And when I was 12. He lost his job of, I don’t know, 21 years. I mean, it’s when I tell you this story, you’re gonna put the two together because you’re gonna see me now and our relationship. You see me and my, my dad and our relationship. So once he starts once he lost his job, he went to work for a bar, and he started with drinking. And we’re all LDS, we grew up LDS my family. And he started with drinking, and then went to pot. And then he worked his way up to where he was at heroin. And so he would take anything to get him out because he didn’t want to deal with his own demons. And so when that happened, we he was I wasn’t his little girl. So I dealt with abandonment issues, all sorts of things more than I wasn’t a little girl anymore. Once I had my own children. I was a single mom. So I’m raising them and all my siblings are married. So I was the one my mom came to for my dad used to leave her at work and be gone for three weeks. So she would call me and say will you come and pick me up from work? Will you take me to work every day until my your dad comes back? I think my dad got jealous of that relationship coming from an alcoholics, addicts perception. I would think that that’s what happened. Because we started to fight a lot. He would call me names he would call my daughter names. And I don’t know what kind of grandpa ever calls her granddaughter name. But he called her a bitch. And he called me a tramp and a whore, whatever. And so our relationship wasn’t good. And when he died, we weren’t even speaking to each other. And so I think like it’s funny because two days before he passed away my mom, it’s not really funny, but With My Mom, I had told my mom, I don’t want my dad at my house. It’s not okay with me. And she came over to my house two days before he died. And she, he was with her. So I opened the door and I saw him and I said, I’m sorry, dad, but you’re gonna have to stay in the car. And I love my mom. And and then two days, two days later, he was gone. He overdosed from a heroin overdose. I didn’t. I mean, I felt kind of guilty that I didn’t have any kind of interaction with that with him. But I, I, the guilt went away once I became an alcoholic, because I realized what he went through, and how other people react to me. I can see exactly why the whole situation played out the way it did. You know, you understood Yeah, I hated him so bad when he was like that, you know? And it took me becoming an alcoholic to not hate him anymore. Because I started realizing why, you know, because it was underlying, there was something else there that was making him do the things he did. And as long as he did the things that he did is, that’s why he treated people the way he did, because that’s what drugs do. Yeah. So I think it’s a mixture of everything. When I was in rehab, at one point, they played that game. I don’t know if you remember, or if you’ve ever played this game on your kid, but the blindfold game, or they hand you things, and you have to figure out what the item is that you have you ever heard of that game? Yes. Okay. So we played that one time. And when they put a blindfold on me, I realized who it was sexually assaulted me when I was a child. And it was my dad, because I remember playing that game with him. And I thought it was a banana that I had in my hand. And it wasn’t a lot, of course. And I remember describing it to him what it was, you know, because that’s how the game goes. And, and then there was another, there’s another memory that I have of him when I was with him where he sexually assaulted me. But I, that one, I don’t want to talk about that. So yeah, so there’s bullying, the sexual assault, the feeling of not being good enough or never been enough. I dated, I’ve dated my share men before I’ve met out and never been married. My both my children are with different fathers. Their fathers are actually the worst ones I ever worked with. My daughter’s dad was every kind of abuse you can think of, you know, sexually, verbally, physically. And my son Stan was just really controlling and didn’t feel very good at all, you know, maybe made me feel really worthless. Or I felt really worthless when I was at him. And so I was engaged many times to, and I never been ever faltered, not one guy ever felt that too. So that, you know, that left a lot on me. I was like, Wow, am I that worthless? You know, I’m not important enough to anybody that you know. And then I met out, and it’s like, my whole world change. And when we got married, that was for sure. I’d been married. And I, we fought for like a year before that about getting married, because he’s been married. This is his fourth time. So we thought because he’s like, I’m not ever getting married again. But it was so bad. Because he thought for a year with me, I’m knockdown drag out fights he had I would have to leave the house. That’s how bad it got. And the whole time he was planning on asking me a New Year’s Eve, and wonder. And I’m like, seriously?Unknown:
Why? How could you go through all that stuff? I mean, all the stuff I said to him and all that stuff. He went through all of it just to ask me, ma’am. So I was feeling pretty dang good. Once we got married, I’m like, finally, I have somebody that can help me with my kids and help with finances and you know, take care of us, you know, so I don’t have to do it alone anymore. And then he loses his job a month after we got married. And it starts coming back to me. Plus, I don’t think he mentioned this when he was on stage yesterday. But he has a he likes to do cocaine. And he was doing that when we first met. And I had that that little thing. I’m okay with everything except for I mean, I’m okay with alcohol, but not anything else. And he knew that and we talked about it. And it was like our second New Year’s together or something. He kept going into his friend’s room, and then coming back out. And I was like, there’s something going on there. I’m not stupid. You know. I’ve seen people do drugs, and I know what they act like. And so on the way home, I mentioned something to him, and he told me yes, I can just do it. And he was still doing coke. And so I said, I want you to stop doing that. Well, when he lost his job. Three years later, I found out he was still doing it. And that’s how he lost his job because he got a dirty drug test. And so There’s that there was that. And then there was the lying about not doing it anymore. And then there was all the stress that just came to me because I was going to be the breadwinner again, which you know, and then there was just all my past or that are low, I felt, you know that I was worthy of anybody else or worthy of love worthy of anything. So that I mean, I’m aware of why and I think that helped me stay sober this time. Because I’m aware of the reasons why I drank. And now I don’t need to drink to feel complete, you know, I love myself enough to be able to make it through any issue and any problems that I have, you know,Anna Ditchburn:
thank you so much for sharing your story. And one company shared. Yeah, this is really courageous. And they know, it’s for the very first time. Yeah, telling this story. Yes. publicly. Sorry to hear about your sexual abuse. I know how it feels. Yeah. And I know at one one moment, you will be able to, to heal it, and you share it with people to help others. I know how it feels you took me took me two years to start talking about this. So baby steps, yes, baby steps, and go easy on yourself. Okay, how did it feel for you, when you’re when you went into this addiction? When you started to drink every single day? Do you remember how it felt to be an alcoholic?Unknown:it just there was a point in:Anna Ditchburn:
You went a few times to rehab. The jailUnknown:
nine times in rehab. And I don’t know how many times in jail. A lot of those times were Alan deuce to Yeah, he would call the police on me. And the first couple times he did I was like, How could a husband all cops on your wife for one, you know all about our fair gel. And for another Imran wife, you should love me more than want me to be in jail, you know? And so that really affected my self esteem too. I was like, How could you do this to me, you know, I must really be worthless. But that was not his attention at all. You know, his intention was slap me in the face and make me realize what I’m doing. But it didn’t work. It was just the opposite effect.Anna Ditchburn:
That’s a really good point for for some families who are struggling with a family member, right? What if you go back? What would help you to realize that enough was enough? What would what could owl do to help you in this situation?Unknown:
I think one thing would have been that he wasn’t sort of oppositional with me. Like he would tell me it’s like he was trying to convince me of things you know, and so He would tell me, you’re just drunk, you’re just, you know, you, you’re gonna kill yourself and things like that. It was almost a rebellious side of me that said, you know, I, if you think it’s not going to be that way, I’m going to be that way, you know. So I think a lot of the slanderous words that he said, which, you know, I don’t blame him for him, because he was scared, he was scared to death, I was gonna die, or something else worse would happen to me, you know, somebody would pick me up for something, and he was scared. And so I don’t blame him at all. He just didn’t know what to do. And most people on the other side, don’t know what to do. That’s why I’m so proud of him doing what he’s doing with this podcast, because it’s helping all those others out there. Because when it comes to the alcoholic or the addict, there’s rehabs, there’s, you know, there’s all sorts of different things for them to do. But when it comes to the family members, there’s the only thing I know, besides our podcast is Al Anon. And owl will tell you, he didn’t like Al Anon at all. But I think everybody even, you know, people in recovery, people outside of recovery on the other side, whatever, they need different options, not just one option is going to work for everybody, because we’re all different. And we all need different things to heal. And so I love that he’s doing that podcast, I just love it. And so because it’s taught him so much, one time, he likes to tell his story. And I don’t know if he did yesterday or not. But I was in this state run program, rehab program. And they, after you’re in there certain amount of time, they give you passes, like day passes, and overnight passes and things like that. And we had just, we were just heading back to the rehab from one of those pastors that I was complaining about how I was there, because then my low self esteem, you know, that’s, that got even worse when I was there, because the girls didn’t like me. And so they treated me differently. And so we were talking about that. And he started giving me advice about, like a therapist word. And so he likes to talk about the story a lot. But I said, I just turned and I looked at him and I just plain as day. I’m like, for once I would like you to be my husband instead of my therapist, you know, and just listen, I think that’s a big thing is he was so busy telling me how to do it, that he never listened to how I was feeling, you know. So I think that was a huge thing for him, too. I think that really changed our tables once he realized, because even after I said that he’s still continued to do what he was doing. But then he finally he was like, Okay, this is this has got to be hard for her. She’s got nobody, nobody to talk to. And every time she tries to talk to me about it, I just get triggered myself. And I want to lash out on her. So she says, I need to stop doing that. I need to tell her, you know, you need to go talk to somebody that understands what you’re going through. And, and he started doing that. And yeah, things started getting better. And once once he was in that spot where he’s like, I’m going to take care me stop trying to take care of her. I started coming around to that same thing. You know, I started saying, because it wasn’t your drunk all the time, or it wasn’t any of that. So that rebellious Ness went away. My fight left me. And I started focusing on what I can do to get Sower. So yeah, so I think he’s got a lot of knowledge. And I think he’s got a lot of things that he can help others with that have been on the other side. SoAnna Ditchburn:
this is so important. Sometimes, yes, it is to listen. Yes. So to someone, instead of telling what to do, I guess. And I know, for some families who don’t know what, what you’ve been through, it’s hard to understand how to behave themselves. And you’re right. Family members have to take care of themselves. Yes. And to learn what is the what is the problem? What was your most shameful moment?Unknown:
Oh, well, that’s a good question. There are so many, I would have to say, well, one of them was I was really, really drunk. And so I had done my always does kick me out and my daughter and her husband came to get me and they were going to take me to a hospital, go to detox and I was like, I didn’t want it. So I was like, I got this really huge fight with my daughter about it and she was trying to pull you back to her car and stuff. And I was like, No, I’m I’m not going to I’m gonna take my suitcase and I’m gonna go somewhere else. And she She called the cops and tried to get them to get me to go inside? And I’m like, No, I am not. No, that’s not gonna happen. And they can’t make me do it. You know, nobody can make me do it. Only I can make my day let me do it. So she convinced the cops not to arrest me because I wasn’t gonna go in, you know. And that’s what they would normally do is they’d either arrest me or get me to go inside, because I’m drunk and did sort but yeah, I’m outside. And I’m drunk and public do talks, and talks and stuff like that. But she convinced him not to arrest me and said that I was gonna go with them. But as soon as the cops left, she’s like, Hey, we’re getting on our car, and we’re gone. You just, you’ll have to do it on your own. Because, you know, that was the proper thing for her to do. She didn’t want to enable me and, you know, give me a place to go drink more, you know, so she left me and I was only I’d say, if I took the bus, I would be only about 20 minutes away from my sister’s house. So I was planning on going over there and went up the street. And I sat down, I was really drunk. And I sat down and I was waiting for the bus to come by. And I had this guy stop and ask me if I need it, right. And I was so drunk, I didn’t even think about it. I didn’t think twice and got in the car with him. And so we’re heading towards my sister’s house. And he was he started talking to me about giving me some money for so I can get some more alcohol or go on and buy me alcohol. And then he’s like, she puts his hand on my leg. So it’s not just me and stuff. And I, there’s one thing I can say, with both of us, me and now, there was no cheating. When I was an alcoholic, you know, he stayed true to me. I stayed true to him. But this guy, he would put it, he put his hand on my lake, and we just barely got to my sister’s subdivision area. So we weren’t going as fast. So but he touched me, I have a vagina. And I started tinkering, man, I opened the car door, and I just jumped out my suitcase with me. But I think that was I mean, that left me with the emotion. Out of everything that I’ve done. There’s been some other times that were kind of similar to that I would meet people on the street when I was drunk, and my dad kicked me out. I don’t even know if he knows this stuff. So I guess he’s gonna find out first time because then I’m sure so I know I don’t hear this. But this other time, I saw two people riding their bikes, probably about 10 blocks away from where I live. And I was walking in on junk and I had my suitcase. And they offered to give me right, I got on the handlebars. And they stopped at this church, the LDS church, and they were smoking pot. And I would do that once in a while, you know, and I didn’t have any alcohol left. And so I was like, Yeah, I’ll smoke the pot with you guys. And then they started touching me and I I’m really not sure of what all I I did myself physically. I know I kissed the guy, but I’m not really sure what else but I’m like, I get it’s like my, my morals would come way after it was too late. You know, I’d be like, Well, okay, I don’t want to do this stuff. You know, it’s I know, there was no sexual contact in between any, anything ever. But those were the two things I think are the most shameful for me. Because yeah, that’s not to have better values. And that that’s not ever, ever, ever, on my mind, you know, to go out on our anything like that. SoAnna Ditchburn:
I appreciate you share this story with me. And I know when you women will listen to this. And they will associate themselves Yeah, with the with your story and resonate with your story. And it’s not you I know it’s an alcohol is a disease once again, that push you to do this. Even I haven’t been an alcoholic, but my self esteem was so low. And even when I wanted to say no, I would always say yes, please. And I had so many sexual intersections, because I couldn’t say no, yeah, just because I didn’t want to upset the person who I met.Unknown:
Yeah, there’s so much like, it’s crazy. I mean, that was the same way about our, I would say over 30 men. It was all voluntary. You know, it’s my was my daughter’s dad. You know, that was the only time but every other time was all voluntary. And it’s just because I couldn’t say no to that person. I didn’t want them mad at me. And I didn’t feel good enough about myself unless I was doing that. You knowAnna Ditchburn:
Yes, yeah, that’s that’s what I went through. Yeah. God is nothing.Unknown:
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, we knew i had i. There couldn’t be more. I don’t know. But yeah. As far as IAnna Ditchburn:
remember. Yeah, it’s not it’s not funny. But now when, when you when you think about it is everything comes from the childhood. Yeah. What was the turning point for you when you really decided, Okay enough is enough?Unknown:
That one’s easy. So when I was November, beginning of November, I got arrested for drunken disorderly and sent to jail. And I was, I tried my hardest to get. I called everybody to get bailed out and all this stuff. And this first time I spent a holiday in jail. I had Thanksgiving in jail, which, you know, junk food is really awful. It’s nothing like Thanksgiving dinner. And I had called, tried to call everybody my siblings, my husband, everybody on Thanksgiving itself. Nobody answered. So I was pretty much at my bottom. I mean, I’ve had many bottoms. But this was, so I was in jail. And every time I go to Joe, they won’t give him my medication like anxiety medication, depression medication, because I don’t know it’s a system here is so weird. Like, they have to have a prescription for you for it, in order to give it to me. And so when I go to Joe, I’m just hilarious. I mean, hysterical all the whole time. I’m sterile, I cry all the time. Well, that’s one place you don’t want to be that little weak person in the corner. Because you’ll get your ass kicked, you know, but I never did. But I, I stuck to myself. And we were, it was during COVID, which I’m also claustrophobic. So just we were in ourselves 23 hours a day, on one hour out. And I was just freaking going crazy. You know, this happens every time I go to jail. But it wasn’t the same. It was better, I should say, and God comes to sit with me. And we talk. And this time he came and he held me in his arms, like a little child. And he said to me, he said, This is your last chance. If you don’t stop drinking, you’re gonna die. And I got out the end of November. Within two hours, I did what I’ve always done within two hours, I was drunk again. But I knew when I went and drank, drank again, that this was going to be my last time. I knew for sure that I was done. So usually when I’d go on one of my binge tours, I would miss out the house. And I just ended up sleeping and drinking all day. I’d be in bed 24/7 for about a week, and then he’d be sick of it. And he’d say, it’s time for you to go or go to detox. I’ll take you to detox if that’s what you want. But if not, then you do seek sleep. And so this after it’s been about seven days of doing this, he started bothering me about it. And so I went outside, I had my bottle with me and my cigarettes. And I sat out in front of our apartments. And there’s a little creek there in front of our apartments. And I just lay down there, and I smoked and I drank and I smoked and I drank and I pass out for a little while and then wake up. So about an hour after I first went out there all comes out and it’s like, are you ready to go to detox now? Because he could see how I was, you know, whenever he likes to say or doesn’t like to say but he could look into my eyes and he saw death. He knew I was doing. I knew I was doing. But I was so drunk that I had no control over my decisions over you know what I was doing? So I said, No, I’m not ready. I started hearing voices. I started seeing people. I’ve never been in an alcoholic psychosis. But that was the first time and I was like, I’m done. I just want to get sober. And you know, but I continue to drink books. I know.Unknown:
He does it to me every time but I just I didn’t know how to stop. I didn’t know how to stop what I was doing. I didn’t know how to make that decision. I stayed there for another hour, an hour came out again. And he says are you ready now? And I said yes, I’m ready to go. I couldn’t get up. He had to help me up and he doesn’t usually takes me to the end to the detox and gets me registered and whatever. We fight the whole time. But this time he just dropped me off and put in the front doors and took off because he couldn’t. He couldn’t go through all my time. And I got in there and I had left ama too many times. And so they said we’re gonna Have to take send it over to VOA BIA stands for, let’s see if I can say it now Volunteers of America, but it’s the Utah branch. And so they have a detox, but they have no medical personnel. So you get your prescription for your detox medication from your doctor, they send it over to these guys, and they go to the pharmacy and pick it up for you. And then they give it to you. So the pharmacy lbs was able to do that for me. But when you detox, you don’t want to do anything, you just want to sit there and just go through the motions until it’s out of your system in your mind. So the just to show you a comparison, the LDS Hospital and the VA hospital is like you’re at a hotel. With the LDS hospital, when you go to detox, they have a menu, you can pick out whatever you want to eat. Yeah, nice bed, your own room, all that stuff. And you go to VOA, since it’s a state or a nonprofit organization. They don’t charge insurance or anything like that for you to go there. There’s four bunk beds in each room, you share with three girls or whatever the matches are like the camp mattresses that you see like, like the military would use or something, you know, that just barely thick enough, you have very sparse bedding. And of course, like I said, no medical staff, they make you do a chore every day, which you know, when your duty, you probably don’t know, but when you detox, you don’t have any energy, you don’t feel good. You don’t. Yeah, you get the shakes, you get the hot and cold, not let go. You don’t want to go do work. You know, the last thing you want to do is move. So detox is just for detox. And then comes the rehabs where you start to learn how to get sober and stay sober, you know, but this place is just like they’re starting you on your recovery already, you know, right at the beginning, your mind is just not clear enough for that, you know. So anyways, so I never liked detox in there, because at that, but those reasons. So I was only there for two days. And after that, I’m like, I’m out of here. Because you get to choose when you leave, you know, that’s the only difference between going to hospital for detail. I went to my daughter’s house, and she told me I could stay there. Then the next day, she told me I couldn’t stay there. Because her husband asked me that because I was on a PNP, which is adult probation and parole. So they am when you’re on that high of probation, they come and see you. And they come into your house, and they didn’t want somebody coming into their house at the time. So at that point, I was I had nowhere to go nowhere. And well, unless I wanted to go to the local shelter or whatever. And I’ve been kind of a princess to this whole thing, because I was always made sure I was taken care of, you know, if he couldn’t do it, he would find somebody that would do it, you know. And so I was only homeless two days, the whole time I was an alcoholic. And that was when I just kicked him out one time. And I just went over to the park across the street from my house because I didn’t want to bother anybody. And I just slept there for two days and finally came back and said, Please give me another chance. And so he came and picked me up and he said, When I first got home, he’s like, here’s the boundaries, we have nothing anymore. You and I were nothing, although we had to sleep in the same bed, you know, because there’s only one bedroom and our apartment. But he says, and you can make a decision as you’re going to be sober or not. And if you decide you want to drink, you need to leave my house and not do it before you start. I mean not drink before you leave. Please, I want you out. This is your last chance this is that. And you know, I was at the point where after my conversation with God and everything I’m done anyway. So I was like, Okay, and so about, I don’t know about a couple of weeks went by or so. And I was I was pretty much dead. It was like, I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t talk. I was trying to tell you no, and this never happened to me for all the times I’ve detox I never felt this way afterwards. I tried to to have a conversation with Alan on my words would get jumbled. It’s like it didn’t make any sense. So I’m figuring I’m probably got a little bit of wet brain finally, you know. And so, he asked his uncle if he would give me a blessing, because LDS in the LDS religion, they do blessings and stuff like that. And so he went over to his house and I could just see whenever I saw anybody, I could see what they were thinking about. You know, they’re thinking she’s dying, you know, because that’s what I looked like. I just I had had a hard time functioning in my mouth. You know, they it. I lost control of it. So but His outs over there going like this the whole time I walk in, and it’s just so scared for me, you know. And so he gave me a blessing. And after it took about two days, but I started coming back, I was able to talk normal on walking home on. After that I was like, hell no, am I ever doing that again?Unknown:
You know, I don’t want to feel that way ever again. So I’ve been sober ever since.Anna Ditchburn:
So I’m so glad to do that.Unknown:
I am. So every dayAnna Ditchburn:
Jeannette, what would be your best advice to your two years younger?Unknown:
So 10 years from now? Oh, don’t forget to keep growing. And don’t forget our precious slavers.Anna Ditchburn:
That’s an amazing place. Yeah,Unknown:e my husband’s daughters. And:Anna Ditchburn:
stayed me. By your side all the time. And big shout out to your beautiful and amazing husband out who started his own podcast, the other side of addiction based on your story. Yes. Based on his own experience. Now he’s he’s helping millions of people. Yes, go through a difficult and challenging situations. He shouted out. And as he said he wouldn’t be able to do this work without your and I’m so I’m so glad you came out on another side of this addiction. Yes. And is dealing with your trauma, with trauma, which is the biggest key. And you are co hosting his podcast as well. Yes. Tell me a little bit about your podcast, my podcast, your podcast,Unknown:
without Oh, okay. I don’t have much to do with it. So once in a while I get the opportunity of going co hosting with him. But really, I don’t really do anything to help. I am just an inspiration for it. So, but it’s a very safe place for people to be honest with themselves and others. And that’s where I look at it, whether you’ve been in the addiction, whether you have family members in addiction is the safe place to talk about. And his goal is to get rid of the stigma. And I was talking about some with somebody yesterday, Dave de rochers. Wife, and because I didn’t know she was in recovery, until he told his story. I was like I was telling him that pretty much I was like, I had no idea you were in recovery. When I first met you guys, I was thinking she should have lowered herself to be with that guy, you know, because he was the addict. And I knew that. And I thought I said you know how much of a stigma that is right there. Even people in recovery have a stigma about recovery, or addicts or whatever. Because I saw her she looks like this Molly Mormon or church Gone Girl, you know, and she’s with this guy, just so she’s never been she’s never drank. She’s never been where he has been, you know, and I just assumed that I made that assumption. And then I find that out. And we talk and we have so much in common, but I had my own stigma about what addicts are supposed to look like, you know. So that’s what we’re really, really focused on is getting rid of that stigma and offering help to the people on the other side because people in recovery, they get all sorts of but people on the other side they don’t. And we offer safe, vulnerable, vulnerable, safe vulnerability, that’s the best way I can say is you can say what you need to say or not say what you you know, I’ll give the podcast to that person. Pretty much he doesn’t, you know, he says you you, you lead and I’ll follow I will ask questions. That’s about what you have to say. And that works for me on the other. I would not work very well that way. Like I was telling you in the beginning, I liked that you ask questions, because that’s the way I answer. That’s the way I speak, is I mean, because I’m just shy about myself. And I don’t really like talking about myself. But that’s what the podcast is all about.Anna Ditchburn:
You’re doing amazing job. Thank you. What’s next for you?Unknown:
You know, so I’ve done accounting for almost 20 years. And when I got sober this last time, I was like, I was content with that. And I always said, every time I got sober, I said, I’m never going to be a sponsor. And I’m never gonna work in recovery, because I don’t want to deal with every single day in my life, you know? So I went back to working in accounting, and it’s been really difficult finding something in accounting because of my background, because I have a record. And I was able, so when I first got sober, I worked at savers and the Savers is like a thrift store. And because I couldn’t get back in accounting, and so took me about six months, and I found this job at a place called Sportsman’s warehouse. And I was working in accounting for them. And but it was only 10 per session. So I lost, I left that job in September of last year. So then I went, I was like, that’s when I was like, What am I gonna do? It was my life. You know, this is not what I want. That’s when I first spoke to Laban. About what I’m going to do with my the rest of my life. Yes. And he he inspired me so much, because he told me, I mean, he pretty much told me what I was going to be doing, without saying specifically what I was going to be doing, you know, and he says, if you follow the steps that I’m talking about, then you will be there. And so I ended up getting a job. So ever since I was a little girl. I have loved people with Down syndrome. loved, loved, loved them. My dad used to say my face would just light up. Every time I saw one. I just walked right up to him. I start talking and they have this such a sweet, special spirit, people with medical issues, medical disabilities. And so I wasAnna Ditchburn:
an Angels I call them not with medical disabilities, special peopleUnknown:
special needs. That’s what we call them special need people. Yeah,Anna Ditchburn:
not different special needs. They like judges, they are specialists. They’re special. They’re just special. They don’tUnknown:
have an evil bone in their body. They don’t have. Yeah, yes. They just they love everybody. Gosh, it’s such such thing. But anyway, so but downtown rose not as popular in our world now as autism is. There’s plenty of autistic people, you know. So I went and I found a job working at a company called CTA sports. And they work with autism. SoUnknown:
they work with autism. They do work with some Down syndrome, but it’s like every 20 to one. And then I really am passionate about the kid aspect of that. So I was working for the after school program. So it’s like, I would say teenagers, young adults, I mean, young preteens, and I loved it, I was in heaven. I wasn’t making very much what I could make for doing accounting, but that’s where it was I was giving back. And I was loving somebody enough until they love their souls, you know, and it felt good. And that lasted for about three weeks. And they got my background check back and they let me go. So then I said, I guess I’m just gonna go back to a county, because I can’t do anything that I really want to do what I’m passionate about, you know, and just before I got that, though, I have to mention Laban. Again, your husband, he is just like an angel to me, you know, because he, when this was when Al and him first talked is when he found out about what I was going through. And when he had Laban on his show, they Ben was telling the story. And then they got I guess during the break, they got to talking about me and what I was going through and leaving. After he got done. He sent me a message voice message on my phone. And I just love his accent as I said before, and it was so cute. It just meant so much to me. I cried. It wasn’t very long, but he’s like, I have to talking with you the other day. I feel like you’re he? Well, he basically described that. I’ll told him what was going on with me. So after talking with you the other day, I have been I don’t know how you guys say it. You felt something about somebody else. You know, I don’t know how to say it but I feel like you should go in this direction. And he pretty much said I feel like you working with kids and you’re doing those things are gonna be your passion. You know? And so then I went and got that job. And I was like, Yeah, I was in love. But then after, it took me some so far low, I didn’t drink. But I was low, I thought, I’m never going to be able to do anything that I want to do because of the stupid addiction. And so that’s where I think a lot of people hear people say, How could that person that’s been in recovery for so long, say that they are grateful that were an alcoholic, you know, it’s mind blowing to people when they first get sober. But as you get blessed more and more and more, you realize that God had a reason for you being that way. And it was your purpose in life, you know, so I was, but I was just really, really low. And I thought, I, I’m never going to be able to serve anybody. You know, I knew that I had to wait at least six months to have it expunged all these things. And so I said, I’m just gonna go back to counting because at least there I know, I can get a job. And I know what I’m doing. And so I got another accounting job. And three weeks after that, they got a good background check back and let me go again, for the same background. It used to be back then they you could do accounting, and you didn’t, they didn’t check your background, because unless it had something to do with stealing, or smuggling money or something like that. But at that point, I was getting really frustrated again, just going through all this the motions. And then any not middle of July, beginning of July, I got a job at meds for vets doing bookkeeping, and it’s only part time so I go there for hours day. And just recently, I was like, noticing that I’ve just been like there, you know, I haven’t really I go there and I’m in bright mood ready for work all that stuff. By the time I leave. I’m like, What the hell have I done today, we will advise her to have I helped and uma owl and I have a mutual friend named Rachel Santis. Oh, and she just started at usara. And I don’t know if I told you last night, but you tell us, you tell us support advocates for recovery Association, something like that. And they are pretty much that pretty much peers peer support. And I actually have one, her name is Tiffany. But she Rachel, she just barely got her certification. And so she put it on Facebook and everything. And as soon as I saw that, I was like, I need to be doing that. I need to be working with them. And so Alan, I discussed the previous weekend. And then when I went back to work on Tuesday, I had a appointment with my Tiffany with my Tiffany. And I went in and I saw her and I told her what I wanted to do. And she she pulled it off the application for me. And so that’s where I’m seeing my future is in a CPSS Yeah. So healthy people. Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah.Anna Ditchburn:
It’s such a fulfilling,Unknown:
yes, I’m so excited. I mean, like we had, I had that experience last night, but that girl that we went to the restaurant, and she’s six months sober. And she found out that we were we were working with people in recovery, and other family members. And she you know, it was just like she said, we I made, we made her day. And even the other way, just that we had that night, the one that were waited on us the most our table the most. She came to me and she said, You made my day. Just heard your story that made my day that made me look at things differently. Oh, and that was the best feeling I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I mean, the best. So yeah, it’s really great. I mean, because all throughout this time, I go in and out of recovery. And when I go to a meetings, I wish hear people saying that all the time. So they walk into a restaurant, and they see somebody they know, or they tell him that they’re in recovery, and then all of a sudden that person has a story about recovery, too. And how fulfilling that is to be able to inspire somebody or to be able to make somebody’s day. And that happened to me last night. That’s first time it’s happened all these times. I’ve listened to people saying that happened. I’ve never seen it myself. And then I saw it last night and I was like, this is all worth it. That’s that my addiction was worth it. Because I just saved one person today or helped one person today. And then tomorrow I can probably find somebody else I cannot. You know, yes, I see it. I finally see what other people are saying is so yeah.Anna Ditchburn:
If people would love to connect with you, what is the best way to connect?Unknown:-:Anna Ditchburn:
Janelle, thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you openly and so vulnerably today.Unknown:
Thank you. Thank you for being there for me when I did that. Thanks. I love you. I love you too.
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