Karen, a 70-year-old mother and grandmother, was trapped in an unhappy marriage for 51 years and was drinking to cope.

She married right out of high school to escape her parents’ strict upbringing and verbal abuse. She did not drink but says her husband became a binge-drinker. “Watching him made me never want to drink.”

After raising three children in Kentucky, they moved to Naples where she began a mortgage lending career. Karen started drinking during networking events recalling “it gave me confidence to talk to people.” The more successful she became at work, the more strained her marriage became. She wanted to uphold her vows and her husband convinced her she was nothing without him, so she stayed in a loveless marriage for 18 more years and drank to numb her feelings. When the drinking became noticeable, she hid it by drinking in the car. Her children found the bottles and staged two interventions in four years. She stopped drinking on her own for a short time but then one day, drinking in the car, she slammed into her garage damaging the car and house and fracturing her nose. While she was against it, her kids brought her to the David Lawrence Centers Crossroads Detox and she’s been sober ever since. After 10 days in Detox, Karen transferred into the Crossroads Residential program where she learned to understand her addiction and how to live without alcohol as a crutch.

With her newfound sobriety and coping skills, she ended her toxic marriage and accepted a leadership position with a nonprofit agency. Now Karen volunteers at Crossroads, sharing her strength, hope and courage and her own “Recovery Binder” design. To date, she has donated enough materials to make 400 binders for others. She affirms, “I have come full circle in my journey and have no desire to drink.”

Karen is living proof that you should never give up hope and it’s never too late to start over and find happiness.

“They taught me it is okay to feel bad and disappointed. I began to understand that I used alcohol to avoid those feelings. They guided me to find solutions instead.”


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