From the March 2010 magazine.

A nice girl like me

A beginner wonders how she ever ended up as an alcoholic

What's a nice girl like me doing in a place like this? That's what I kept asking myself as I sat in detox in Carmel, New York, wearing a plastic wristband, full of fear, surrounded by people who had suffered much worse consequences than me. How did I end up here? How am I going to live without drinking?

One year before, my father had hanged himself in the stairwell of the home I shared with him and my mother. I felt responsible--I had suspected he might do this during the past two years of severe depression, but he seemed to be getting better, and I didn't think he'd dare to. The image of his body was burned into my brain as I imagined the details of his death. I was in shock, but I knew now more than ever that I wanted to live life to the fullest. The problem was, I had no idea how to do that. All I wanted to do was drink, and taking action on any dreams or goals was way too hard.

-- A.M.

Scottsdale, Ariz.

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!