Alexandria Powell’s Happy New Year!
This week, about 80 million Americans are just beginning self-improvement programs to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. Alexandria Powell is not among them.
Twenty months ago, Alex began working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. In this simple program, she found all the tools necessary to make her life extraordinary. Today, Alex doesn’t fret about what she lacks. She counts her blessings.
Alex is having a happy new year. “It’s good, because I am!” she smiles. In fact, as we sat down with her for our interview, all Alex wanted to talk about are things for which she is grateful. There are many, and she ticked them off for us, one by one.
Importantly, she has recovered. This is huge for a twenty-something who used to be completely powerless over her addiction.
When Alex first arrived to CORE, in May 2021, she was a broken soul, despairing even of life. “My addiction had me by a choke hold,” she remembers, “Even though I’m telling myself, you’re not going to do this anymore, I’m still doing it.”
Alex finally had bottomed out while living alone in a house without power or water. Her cold surroundings matched perfectly with the emptiness she felt in her heart. She had detached herself physically and emotionally from everyone and everything. “I didn’t trust anybody,” she says, “I kept things puddle deep for years. I didn’t get close to anyone, and I was that way until I came here to CORE.”
While her addiction wasn’t materially different from anybody else, it was plenty serious. Alex was powerless, and she knew it. To illustrate her dilemma for us, she related a story about overdosing, and doing more drugs immediately thereafter:
I was, like, minutes from death. So, the police officer Narcaned me. I came to in the ambulance. From the hospital they took me to jail, where I’m sitting waiting to be booked. And here’s the insanity of my addiction. While I’m sitting in this area, I remember that I still have drugs on me. I did them right there. I’m at jail. I just died. And I’m doing more drugs. That’s the insanity.
Her mom paid for her admission into CORE. Once here, Alex received lots of encouragement and began working her steps. She mentioned several sources of inspiration during her early days.
One is our women’s coordinator in Springfield, Kim Stewart. “She will always direct you back to God,” Alex says. Another is her former house manager, Nicole Nelson, “who walked me through the Steps and was my Fifth Step partner.” Still another source, who we didn’t anticipate but nevertheless are glad to hear about, are the fine people at the Timken Company, her place of employment. “I’m pretty close knit with them,” Alex tells us, “They’ve been so supportive. They’re such good people!”
A big, early challenge for Alex was trusting others, including God. To do this she had to overcome fear. Referencing the AA Big Book, Alex told us that fear touched about every aspect of her life. It was an evil and corroding thread, and her existence was shot through with it. Of her struggles, Alex remembers “I said to myself, okay, I’m going to try to do it a different way now. I’m around good people, and it’s going to be okay. I’m here to learn a new way to live. My way wasn’t working, but maybe God’s will.”
As she worked the Steps, a remarkable change began to happen within her. Alex’s character and attitude toward life began redeveloping “from the inside out” along new lines, and her obsession was lifted. She felt like a divine hand placed her in a position of neutrality – safe and protected – with respect to drugs and alcohol.
To Alex, the best evidence of her transformation is that, today, she confidently relies on God in all things:
I feel at peace now, whatever happens. I won’t force things my way, because I know God’s got this. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m just okay with letting things happen now, because they will happen the way God wants them to be. I don’t have to worry or stress about anything. I tried that, did that, and I didn’t like how that felt, or how it turned out.
Another thing Alex is especially thankful for is that recovery allows her to be a good daughter, sibling, and aunt, for her family. “They’re excited to see me now. It’s not like, oh there’s Alex, hide all your valuables,” she laughs, and adds “It’s the best feeling to see them and have a healthy relationship with them. I don’t have to worry if this is the last time I see them. I can appreciate my family now that I’m recovered.”
Alex is also thankful that she can help make a difference in the lives of others. When she first came to CORE, she arrived “with only the clothes on my back.” Although she didn’t have any money, Miss Kim took her shopping anyway, suggesting that she would pay it forward when she could. Alex has never forgotten this, and recently something happened that’s allowed her to help others in a big way: she bought a new car! “I’ve always been okay with just staying at home, but some people want to go out and do things,” she says, “so, it’s a cool way to help. Like, if they’re struggling with money, they don’t have to get an Uber.”
Still another thing Alex is thankful for is CORE. “I’m in a safe place, with friends,” she tells us, “this is a place where I can grow and find myself. It’s a great place to be.” Additionally, she considers everybody within the Springfield program to be a tight knit group. Everybody is working the 12 Steps, and that makes CORE an oasis from everything else out there. She adds, “So I’m big on positivity. It’s contagious, you know? With roommates, if I’m negative, it’s going to rub off on you. So I try to keep it positive – always.”
What are her plans for the future? For now, Alex is content to mature in her recovery at CORE and enjoy spending time with her family and CORE friends. She works hard at her job, and looks forward to advancing in her career, too. We also heard that she’s taking on responsibilities within her CORE house as a chore coordinator, and she’s thinking about managing one of our houses someday.
We at CORE are so very pleased for Alex, and for her family! Our hope and prayer is that she will continue to grow in her relationship with God and seek to do His will in all things (yes, driving and following the rules of the road included!) God will provide a lifetime of recovery, and so much more, if we keep close to Him and perform His work well.