This month, we announced our Next Step program, a supportive, educational, no-cost alternative to clinical out-patient treatment. Michelle Butler graduated from The Next Step in August of 2020, and we are honored to share her story. Michelle, who joined the program four months into her sobriety and already working on Steps 10, 11, and 12, is a beautiful example of the importance of having a program that serves any alcoholic woman at any stage of recovery. Special thanks to Michelle for sharing her story.
Sober and Desperate to Stay that Way
On May 12th, I returned home after 30 days of residential treatment followed by eight weeks of an intensive outpatient program (commonly referred to as “IOP“) in Kerrville, Texas. Even though I was living in Steps 10, 11, and 12, my track record was less than stellar. Having a history as a chronic relapser who could not stay sober in the past, the fact that I was leaving Kerrville terrified me.
Not long after returning home, I was sitting on my front porch talking with God. I was starting to obsess about booze. At that moment, I cried out, “Drinking is not an option for me. Please show me what I need to do to stay sober.”
Later that morning, I called my sponsor, who told me about The Magdalen House and urged me to make a call to someone she knew. Being desperate, I picked up the phone immediately. I spoke with my sponsor’s friend at 10:00 am, who told me about The Next Step program. After learning more about it, I made the call to screen immediately. And by 1:10 that day, I was at my first Next Step Accountability Meeting with Stephanie.
What is a Next Step Accountability Meeting? Learn more in The Next Step – Frequently Asked Questions
An Answered Prayer
Page 164 in the Big Book states, “He will create the fellowship you crave.” This is exactly what God did. What transpired over those three months was truly an answer to my prayer that morning on my porch. I very rarely ever missed a morning check-in, and the guided reading taught me so much. I can tell you without a doubt that I would not be able to carry the message with the assuredness and confidence I have today without the guided reading and the mentor program in phase two.
About a month after I joined Next Step, my husband relapsed. My Next Step family wrapped me in love, and they were with me every step of the way. Because I was learning how to apply the spiritual principles, I was able to get out of the way and let God do what He needed to do to help my husband. Truly miraculous because I am somewhat of a control freak!
There are no words in the English language to express my gratitude for The Next Step program. God used this program to expand on my understanding of my disease. I am so grateful for The Next Step leadership, as Stephanie truly cared for every woman in my group. We still chat to this day.
If I had to sum up what Next Step taught me in a few words, I would have to say, God reliance. I honestly had no idea what that meant, but today, I take this thought with me daily through this program’s guidance and curriculum. God Guides me, and I seek Him in all things.
I can think of no better way to close than from page 89, “Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives!”