Alecia Short Thanks God for Her Recovery
CORE’s clients give their testimonies for our monthly newsletters to share strength and hope. Having fallen into the seemingly hopeless abyss of addiction, they have recovered. In them, as the Big Book says:
There has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking. In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them.
Some who give their testimonies must be a little braver than others. While Alecia Short never once intimated this to us during our interview with her, we think she falls into this “braver” category.
She grew up in a good family and lived a happy, normal childhood with her siblings. She was a good student and an accomplished flautist. She enjoyed her high school years and, like so many her age, looked forward to going to college, getting her degree, finding the right man, having children, and building a life for herself and family. At the age of eighteen, however, something unexpected happened. Alecia found herself with child.
She had always dreamed of becoming a mom some day, but that day was supposed to be years away. In retrospect, she was still a very young woman, unsure of herself, and she failed to appreciate the broader context of her newfound situation. And she was afraid. She also listened to the fears of one who thought his life would end if a child was born. In the end, fear won out over hope, and she underwent a procedure to terminate her pregnancy. The enormity of her decision did not hit home until afterwards, and Alecia was wholly unprepared for the emotional fallout.
She didn’t know it yet, but her life was about to be turned upside-down. She received an oxycodone, ostensibly for physical pain from the procedure, but the effect was much broader. All of the sadness, guilt, and anger welling up from within her subsided when Alecia took that little pill. “That was my very first pain pill in my entire life, and it made me feel great again,” Alecia recounts, “it was game over after that first time.” Nobody intends to become an addict, but Alecia unwittingly walked that path nonetheless, all the while intending to quell the pain she felt within her heart.
When her pills ran out, Alecia began hitting local emergency rooms. Eventually, the doctors got wise and put a stop to that. From there she discovered the local distribution pipeline for pills. She never shot up, but she ate oxycodones like candy, until she figured out snorting them. Then she discovered methamphetamines. Alecia moved out of her parents’ house soon enough, and she totally unraveled. She floated like this for years.
When we asked how bad her addiction actually got, Alecia’s response initially surprised us. We expected to hear about overdoses or about trap and crack houses filled with junkies. That really was not Alecia’s world, however. What we heard was actually worse. Her worst experience was all of the missing time, not of hours and days, but of literal years:
“Addiction is the worst experience that anybody could ever go through. Time loses its meaning, like it’s not even real. There’s no reality to it; it’s just a very dark place. You don’t even realize you exist, not really, because you’re high all the time. From the start of my addiction to the time that I came to CORE I couldn’t believe that it had been so long. It went like that (snapping her fingers). But in reality it was years of my life – absolutely gone.”
Alecia first came to CORE in 2015, but she departed after only two weeks here. She discovered she was pregnant again, this time with her son Lincoln, and she latched onto this discovery like a life preserver. Alecia was elated; she would get to become the mother she hadn’t been. She thought her pregnancy would save her, and she embraced it with all of her being. Reflecting on that time, Alecia remembers “That’s when I told myself that’s all I needed, like — I’m good, I don’t need this [place] anymore, this is my dream come true. I was golden. I’m going home. That’s all I needed.”
Her house manager, who knew better, did not share her optimism. The two sat down and talked about Alecia’s situation and, in particular, the fact that she was powerless against her addiction, with or without child. Alecia remembers hearing things like “this is not going to end up well” and “I hope you make it back here alive,” but she was deaf to all warnings. Her house manager also assured her that she could be pregnant and also work a recovery program at CORE, but Alecia wouldn’t listen. She moved back home to be with her family.
Alecia did stay sober for the pregnancy. She was running on hope, since “it was my dream come true when Lincoln was born.” Yet, even with hope, she still was powerless. Her obsession had been lurking in the background, and once she gave birth to Lincoln, her days of sobriety would end. She received more pain pills upon leaving the hospital, and that’s all it took. Alecia was hooked again.
Her addiction ran for four more years until Alecia Short finally and completely hit rock bottom. In August 2020, the police and DFS showed up at her door. The jig was up. There was no talking her way out of this.
Now, things indeed were dire for Alecia, but she did have a plan of action in mind. For one, her mom would gladly take temporary custody of Lincoln, and she absolutely knew that he would be safe and sound with his grandma. Further, even though Alecia knew that she could never remain sober by herself, she well remembered CORE. Within a month, she was back with us and residing at our women’s intake house, aka Quail House.
The second time around, Alecia returned wiser, and with the determination to do the next right thing. She possessed a spirit of willingness:
“When I got here, I was willing and ready to work the program. It was life or death for me at that point. It was whether I’d ever be a mom again. It was hard for me personally to be here, sure, but it wasn’t hard to make that decision to actually work the Steps. I knew I was going to be here for a while. It would be hard work, but I was ready and willing.”
Her willingness made all the difference. She immediately began working on the 12 Steps, and she commenced to get results almost as quickly. Happily, and foreseeably, Alecia recovered. Her obsession was removed, and drugs no longer had mastery over her.
When she recovered, a lot of other good things began happening for Alecia. For one, she’s past her legal difficulties, and there are no further entanglements with DFS. Plus, she’s got a promising new career with the largest coffeehouse chain in the world. Moreover, only last November she was appointed to be the house manager for our Vaughn House in Branson.
Ultimately, Alecia credits God with her recovery. Her relationship with Him is the most powerful force in her life:
“I’d always had an idea of Jesus Christ, but I never truly believed like I do today, until coming to this program. I never believed in a power greater than myself – I was the greatest power in my own mind. So what I’m most grateful for is the relationship I have with God today. It’s why I’m here, where I’m at and able to do the things I do.”
Now, the Reader may be tempted to think that upon commencing CORE’s program, that finding her own place and bringing Lincoln home would be the first thing Alecia would do. She very much wants to do this, too, as she indicated to us. Keep in mind, however, that real recovery is a distinctive experience. Invariably, the beneficiary is infused with an overwhelming desire to pay it forward. Lincoln is completely safe and content; the two see one another all the time. So, like so many of our recovered clients, Alecia feels impelled to be here for those who are new to recovery, at least for a little while longer.
As a house manager, she also has ladies from Vaughn House who are commencing soon. She’d never miss this, and Alecia beams with satisfaction while telling us about them. During our conversation with her, we came to realize that this glow is her motherly instincts shining through. That is, she’s not trying to live their recoveries for them. She’s rather sharing in the miracle of recovery with them, as they take their first baby steps into new life. Some of the ladies at Vaughn House actually call her The Soccer Mom, apparently, and she wears this moniker as a badge of honor. She says, in fact, “I’m grateful to be that mom image for them, because some coming in here have no idea what that’s like. They don’t know what it’s like to be cared for and genuinely loved. I’m grateful to be here, to be one of those people in their lives today.”
And what does Alecia think of CORE now that she’s recovered? She had some positive things to say:
“I love CORE, which has welcoming, open arms for anyone who needs them. There’s no judgment here, you know? It doesn’t matter what your drug was or what brought you to this program. It doesn’t matter how bad it got. CORE welcomes you, and it will help you. CORE’s willing to do whatever they can to help, as long as you’re willing to help yourself and to let them help you. It’s exactly what I needed.”
We at CORE well understand Alecia’s desire to make a home with her son again. We also are happy to have her here for as long as the call to serve compels her. We know that with prayer and careful consideration, Alecia will make the right decision, at the right time, for her and her son.