Resident Stories

Susan Raber

My name is Susan, and I’m an alcoholic and an addict. I am in recovery at 3 years and 1 month. During years of therapy, I have realized that my addictions all began 3 weeks after my first son was born. The first week of October 1982 was the day my mother died suddenly, also it was 3 weeks after I delivered my first baby by natural birth, and it was the first time I was beaten by my son’s father. After this day, my son began breastfeeding every 2 hours. I was having difficulty. My doctor told me to drink Miller ponies to help me relax. That’s all it took. I began drinking to mask the pain. I have been to rehab, and drank on the plane home. In 1986 I entered nursing school. I graduated valedictorian, all the time drinking and taking pain pills. I had to pass the State Board of nursing so that I could leave my husband and have enough money to take care of my son. I graduated with a RN degree. Immediately after receiving my passing score from the nursing board, I divorced him. I had met my goal, but I was impaired by drinking and by pills. I advanced quickly into nursing management and coronary care nursing. I was Director of Nursing in long term care. I was on my way to building a good life for me and my son but being an alcoholic and addict prevented my success. In November 2001, I was in the hospital due to complications of drinking when my heart stopped. I woke up three days later on a ventilator. I knew I was in BAD trouble but I relapsed after that and started drinking again. The disease of addiction is powerful. On February 10, 2013 my boyfriend’s sister assaulted me and sliced my thumb and my heel to the bone. After going to the hospital, I went home and poured out my alcohol, and prayed to God to help me find the strength to be clean and sober. I have been homeless since. I was very lucky to have the privilege to be accepted by Bethlehem House. I have been here for 1 ½ years. Because of my addictions, I had no trust in God or people. I had no peace of mind and I had no one in my life that cared about me. God has let me know that I can trust in him and people. I can have safety, goals and pride in myself. Bethlehem House and the staff have truly helped me and guided me to be better life.

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