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Addiction Recovery Research Center

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute

2 Riverside Circle

Roanoke, VA  24016

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Phone: 540-315-0205

Email: iqrr@vtc.vt.edu

Media Inquiries:

John Pastor, FBRI Director of Communications

Phone: 540-526-2222

Email: jdpastor@vt.edu

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TRACIE's Story 

“My name is Tracie and I am a Alcoholic. “I’m an Alcoholic” these words were probably the hardest words for me ever to say in my whole life. Admitting that I was an alcoholic meant defeat; that I couldn’t manage anything at all. For me this meant that I had failed at life; at everything. It also meant that I wasn’t strong, that I was weak. That I had basically rolled over and died (as my father would say). I would have never believed I was an alcoholic before I went to treatment. Never in a day did I think, alcohol was my problem; that if I stopped putting alcohol in my body that the madness and chaos that swarmed my brain every waking hour would quiet. I didn’t even believe I was addicted. Alcohol was legal, therefore it was not a drug.

I don’t remember the exact day I became addicted to alcohol, but I do remember deciding to myself that I was going to be one of “those people who drank heavily.” I remember the feeling; it was a kind of sick feeling. But I was making a life decision, that this was how I was going to be forever. I wasn’t proud of the decision, but I remember thinking “this is me, I finally arrived at reality it’s time to accept it.” I also remember the day I began drinking during the week and then during the day, I was angry and fearful about something at work, I chose to cope with the situation by going home at lunch and drinking two beers. I felt better and that “situation” wasn’t an a situation anymore. Anger and fear were placed with “I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks.” Drinking during the day began, along with drinking to pass out every night. This became my new normal. I remember feeling like everyday “why am I still waking up.” I remember feeling that I didn’t deserve to live and everything/everyone would be better off if I was dead. I became physically and mentally addicted to King Alcohol. The sickest part of me believed I was fine and that no one would notice. My reality skewed and I drank to quiet everything and everyone.

I remember the day I stopped caring about food, cleanliness, work, my 7 year old daughter, about life. I didn’t care and couldn’t function, other than to get and drink as much alcohol as possible. I didn’t care if I passed out, I would just wake up to drink more alcohol.

If I didn’t have alcohol I was suffering from withdrawal. Withdrawal was awful, painful so I made sure I didn’t withdraw.

I remember the day this day so clear. I couldn’t take it anymore. I laid in bed crying and shaking, my stomach wouldn’t hold alcohol down. I threw up to drink more Vodka. I remember sitting there on the bathroom floor, I had just thrown up, I thought “this is crazy” but my head hurt and my stomach was cramping. I drank more Vodka, this time in tiny long sips. It was warm, and tasted slick… but hard. I felt my body, like it was begging for it… Almost like a sunburn begs to be cooled, but you know it’s going to hurt when you put that coolness on your skin. I managed to drink the rest of the jug and laid down in my bed. My mother called, and talked to me. The only part of the conversation I remember is her saying, “if you want me to come and help you I will; you have to ask me for my help.” She made me say “please come help me.” I remember feeling that I didn’t care anymore about anything, that I was going to die. She said she would be there the next day. I cried and passed out.

September 25th 2009 my mother took me to detox at the hospital. I has no idea what this meant, but I was sure I was going to die so I thought, “what the hell”. I spent 5 days in the detox unit of the hospital. I was very sick, mentally and physically.


My mother said inpatient treatment was the only way. The doctor and psychiatrist told me I was a liar and a drunk, that I going to die, if I didn’t get treatment. I refused to go at first. My mother said these magic words, “it will be like a vacation, a little time for you to get away and rest.” All I heard was, “vacation”. I said yes. The next thing I remember, I was at the treatment facility and my mother was leaving. Reality began to kick in. What have I done?


I was told I needed to say I was an alcoholic. I couldn’t. All I did was cry, and detox more from the alcohol. I found out I had a disease, this was not my fault. I found out that I was hurting more than myself. I heard the phrases like ”can never drink again; one day at a time”, “phenomenon of craving” and “mental obsession,” “if left untreated,” “jails institutions or death.” I learned that I was not alone – that everything I thought – someone else had thought. I wasn’t crazy.
When I left treatment I still couldn’t say out loud that I was an alcoholic, but I believed that I was. I believed that if I drank again I would most likely die.


This is how Alcoholics Anonymous came into my life. I never stopped going to meetings or trying to work the program of AA. I got a sponsor and a homegroup, and a job in that homegroup. Life became better. I began to grow into a different person that actually lived life.


I did relapse in December of 2014. Two days of drinking lead me to fully believe my disease is not curable. If left untreated I will drink again. I am truly an alcoholic. I have a disease that wants to kill me and is willing to go to any lengths to do so. I must go to any lengths to prevent this from happening. I am forever more, grateful for the people who helped me have faith again in a higher power and something greater than myself.”