"I had a long history of drinking alcohol but no experience or knowledge of the Sherpa program. It was my fourth or fifth time being hospitalized for drinking to a near fatal level, but this time they would not release me after 24 hours. The hospital made me stay for five days as they tried to both detox me and pump nutrients into my blood stream. Almost everything I had in my life was in jeopardy and I did not know what to do with myself.
My memory is admittedly hazy but I believe it was the fourth day when Kathie and Alexis came to visit me from the Sherpa program. I had the continuous tremors and could not walk without assistance, but they did not make me feel self-conscious or ashamed. They spoke calmly as if we were equals. When they asked me what I was going to do from there, I told them I really did not know. They reassured me that no matter what I decided, I could always call them and they left with me with their contact information.
Ultimately, as difficult as it was, I entered inpatient substance abuse treatment in upstate New York where I stayed for six weeks thanks to the generosity of the facility and the assistance of Sherpa. When my insurance was going to cut me off after 10 days, the facility allowed me to stay and Sherpa connected me with a non-profit group that offered free assistance to help people stay in treatment despite insurance's decision. I would never had had these resources on my own.
Kathie, despite only meeting me once before, called me every week while I was in treatment, to check on how I was doing and feeling. I was struggling with my perception of Alcoholics Anonymous, but Kathie informed me of the various programs offered by THRIVE and I felt safe admitting my doubts and fears. I was being released while the state was still in the midst of shutdown because of Covid so my first groups in the after term were via Zoom and connected by the Sherpa program. Kathie continued to call and check in on me.
I had relapses when I was released and while I do attend a weekly AA women's group that now meets in person, I am still not entirely comfortable with all of the aspects of sobriety meetings. I still have cravings and urges to drink to escape reality, but I have the certainty of knowing that when I need to talk about these feelings without being judged I can call someone at Sherpa and be completely honest without being afraid. It is for that security that I am most truly grateful."