Leslie S.

I was born in Los Angeles area in California and moved near San Francisco when I was one. Our family had the opportunity to move to Hawaii when I was starting 5th grade. I was blessed to grow up with three siblings influenced in the island culture. Growing up our family struggled. My mom married my first stepdad when I was four and the second when I started high school. Unfortunately I watched my mom’s progression into an alcoholic with those marriages. Therefore I didn’t have tremendous role models for the life ahead of me. I dropped out of high school in junior year. I loved to party and was always the first one there and the last one to leave. I then moved to the big island of Hawaii at age 17 to be more independent, away from family. I worked at Kona Village Resort as a server and filled in as cocktail waitress in the bar in Kailua. The drinking age in Hawaii back then was 18, and they never carded me. I continued to work in the restaurant bar industry for the next 16 years. I wandered from Hawaii to Nebraska when I turned 21 and my addiction to alcohol progressed rapidly. I continued to chase that good feeling and after two years moved back to California. I married my first husband, my drinking buddy, at about age 24. After 3 years that became toxic and we divorced. I then found husband number two who was also a partner in not only alcohol but other mind altering substances. Another failed attempt at a relationship, but this time it led me to look at recovery.

I was inspired by my mom, who, for five years of her sobriety kept telling me how “happy, joyous, and free” she was. My sister had 10 months of sobriety when she walked me into my first meeting. That is one I will never forget. It was a book study and when it came around to me to read, the words described me from the inside out. At that point I knew I belonged and this is what I needed. By the grace of God that was June 14, 1988 and I have never turned back.

I immediately got connected with service work as coffee maker and made baked goods of course. I even got a sponsor and started working on myself. I was blessed to take a six-week trip to Europe with my mom and received my 90 day coin at a meeting in Rome. I became secretary of my home group and found speakers and lead discussions. When I got back, I left the restaurant business and pursued more education. I moved on to GSR and was awed by the way that the program was run. I was amazed how vast recovery was! I continued to volunteer for service work and sponsor other women. I am grateful how my relationship with God as my higher power has blossomed.

My husband and I married in June 1990 and we have a beautiful daughter and grandson. I have been blessed to have worked in Alaska since 1993 at UAA, Anchorage Fire Department, Palmer Police and the Division of Public Assistance which allowed me to retire in 2016. I have had many life challenges in sobriety – lost both my mom and my sister to cancer, lost two pregnancies, job challenges, and moving all of which I did not need to or wanted to use any mind altering substances!

I am blessed today to work in my “dream” field as a Peer Support Specialist at Mat-Su Recovery Services especially alongside others in recovery. I aspire to help others in both my personal life and work to be successful in their recovery as well. What a joy to find the real me and be genuine and not have to try to “fit in”. My prayer is that those suffering find their path to recovery and reach out for help and find the life that is second to none!