(WAFF) - More and more people in this country are fighting addictions than ever before. Addiction.com reports more than 20 million people have some sort of addiction. And alcohol addiction costs $25 billion per year in health care costs.
Cookie Stoner remembers the beginning of her college days as being known as a Tab-drinker. But that changed when she asked for her first alcohol-based drink.
"I felt like somebody had just put something through my veins that just was pure magic," she said.
She said her friends couldn't believe she was drinking either.
This was a new beginning for Stoner, who eventually became an alcoholic. She said this was odd because she was raised in a wonderful home without alcohol. Along the way, she was blessed with a supportive husband and two loving children. She did not drink during her pregnancies but picked it again later.
"Drink too much and you wake up the next morning and go, 'Oh my god.' You open one eye and go, 'Oh my gosh, what did I do what did I say?' And that does a lot to you," she said.
But it wasn't enough to make her quit. She admits there were triggers which made her drink, like the life changes that brought her to north Alabama in 1998.
Although she was drinking, she says she was a "high-functioning" alcoholic.
"I stayed home with my children. I didn't miss a field trip. I was the room mother. I did all of those things," she said.
She didn't drink every day during this time, but she did drink to excess. She stopped while an exchange student joined their household.
"Because I always had to be perfect mom, perfect happy mom," she said.
Stoner says that's not who she was. She knows her drinking had an adverse effect on her family. And she says she did things that were out of character.
Most alcoholics will tell you there are different paths for different people. For Stoner, her solution is a 12-step program. She also found a cathartic release in writing and blogging. She went to New York for an energy boost.
"I need the stimulation. I need a lot going on. But the best part about being in recovery is I now can make the right choices," she said.
First on her list is to be accountable. Her advise for other alcoholics is to seek help because whatever misery leads to the alcohol road will only get worse.
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