Service Array:
Individual Skill Development and Enhancement

I grew up in an intact family in Tomahawk, WI. An early traumatic experience altered my perception and led me to develop maladaptive coping skills. It wasn’t until fifth grade that I realized I had dissociated and had no memories of the event.  

By high school I had joined my friends and classmates in underage drinking parties, which often led to consuming large volumes of alcohol and making poor decisions. College was more of the same, and binge drinking soon became a socially acceptable way to block out life’s responsibilities. I was diagnosed with depression and dropped out of school.  

I married a heavy drinker and became a corporate wife, traveling from state to state as he opened new offices across the country. Children came, but our family roots were shallow as often as we moved. Maturity and responsibility were never at the forefront of these years, and we divorced after almost 20 years.  

I chose a business career as a traveling salesperson because that was what I knew, and continued drinking and entertaining clients, as this was expected and encouraged “to build strong client relationships.”  

During this time, I also started going to the casino to gamble with friends occasionally, never risking more than $20. What began as a monthly outing with friends soon became a solitary weekly habit, and then more. Over time, it transitioned from social gambling for fun into the dark world of compulsive gambling. It was as if a switch flipped in my head. I was spending money that should have paid for rent and other bills. By then, I was lying to my family, my landlord, my employer and myself about the serious trouble I was in. I stopped answering the phone because I had lost all my friends and only creditors called.  

My adult children eventually caught on and confronted me about my actions, staging an intervention. The lifeline they offered required me to sell my car and all my possessions to pay off my debt to my family and landlord, quit my job and move out of state to live with one of my children and their family. I was to attend GA and AA and maintain sobriety in both programs, as well as build back trust.  

I eventually moved back to Wisconsin to live independently and have years of recovery with both alcohol and gambling. In my case, my depression was a dual diagnosis along with gambling and alcohol addictions. By addressing my personal issues through therapy and working on my behavior patterns and coping skills as a sober adult, my recovery has allowed me to truly work on myself and unburden what I could. I no longer identify as a victim.  

I am forever grateful for my life and purpose today, and I am humbled and honored to work with others seeking recovery.