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Addicted

May 25, 2008
When I decided to write a book sharing my life with the rest of the world I really didn't know what extreme this decision would take me in. I have been experiencing more emotional changes than I would imagine.

My story would start out to be about my addiction to alcohol and drugs from the age of eleven to the age of thirty five. During that time period I grew from a child to an adult. I got married at twenty two years old and four years later I had two daughters. They were the victims in this story when I first started writing but it didn't take me long to realize they weren't the only victims.

Because the girls were nine and seven when I hit bottom they had already spent the youngest years of their life worrying and taking care of each other and me. When I began to sober up I realized there was a lot more to living a sober life than to just quit using. I was eleven years old when I picked up for the first time; my brain had basically stopped maturing so when my body was free of alcohol and drugs I had to take a deep and long look at myself. What I saw I didn't like and I basically used my addiction as a way of pushing away all of the painful things that were happening for twenty five years. At this point I felt numb.

In rehab I woke up after a long painful detox and I was no longer numb. There was so much going on in my mind, body and soul that at first I truly believed I could not do this and the first time I realized that my counselor had something to say. He said, "You are right where you're supposed to be; now you just took the first step in something you have not practiced in years, honesty." I didn't have a clue to what he was saying, but I would soon start to learn and I have continued to learn for the last twenty years.

Honesty is always been pretty black and white for me. What I am doing or saying is either true or not true, I still believe that but when it comes to getting honest with me it becomes a little more complicated.

As I spent three years painfully writing the story of where I came from, how I grew up, and my addiction that started as an adolescent, it became very painful for me. Everything I believed I had dealt with in my life since getting sober I obviously wasn't done with. I started sabotaging my own project by not meeting deadlines. Fortunately I had a wonderful publicist, coach, marketer - actually she's a lot of everything and she stuck with me through the whole book. She lovingly called me on my procrastination, excuses and the number one problem, honesty.

Everything I had learned about being responsible for myself and being honest with myself since the beginning of my sobriety was the key to keeping me straight but here I was starting to justify and manipulate again after twenty years. I knew the path that would take me on, and that was back to using. Here I was with one goal after having to retire from a job I had loved for eighteen years because of the early onset of Alzheimer's, and that goal was to share my story openly and honestly, which brought me to a very vulnerable place. I wanted to help one person, I wanted people to know there was help out there and I would do anything I could.

That was my goal and with the support of my loving family, my coach and my editor every secret I had ever had, every bad choice I had made in my life was there in black and white. The first week my book was out in print I had reached my goal. A beautiful girl I had never met before bought and read my book and came to me crying and thanking me because my story was helping her deal with someone in her life living in an addiction. I was so happy for them and felt so good about myself but something was wrong and it was surfacing. In the past two months I have experienced a huge personal and painful journey of self honesty and hopefully my quality of life as it is today will change for the better because I got honest with myself.

Four years ago when I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's I was also diagnosed with severe osteoporosis and suffered through a pattern of fractures in my back and a knee injury that has been chronic. Because of my past history with drugs I was told I needed to go to a pain management clinic to take care of the chronic pain, which I did and knowingly and consciously. I went on medications that I knew in my head and heart that I shouldn't be on. I justified it and started taking them and of course during the emotional times I struggled through writing my book I see now that I was numbing myself. There have been physical changes occurring lately and my family once again is very scared that the Alzheimer's is progressing, which it is, but since opening myself and dealing with everyday struggles I can do nothing but get honest. I truly believe some of the medications I am on are affecting my everyday life. I believe I am addicted.
About the Author
Eileen DeClemente was 11 years old when she took her first drink. Alive is her courageous story of an addiction so consuming it nearly killed her and destroyed her family. To anyone who has ever battled an addiction, and to the people who have loved them. This story is for you, Eileen is Alive.
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