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My name is Elise Bergsten and I am blessed to be in recovery since August 13, 1984. I was 23 when I sobered up. I went through an in-patient treatment program and have actively participated in my recovery since then.

In addition to staying in recovery, raising my daughter has perhaps been my biggest accomplishment, although I know I can’t take credit for the result! Laurel is a wonderful young woman. I dread to imagine what enormous challenges she could have faced with an active alcoholic mom. I remember laying on the floor in women’s recovery meetings when I was pregnant and on partial bed-rest, and the support from other sober women that I got throughout those really active parenting years. I’m so lucky and privileged to have had that village that it takes to raise a child. May I be a part of that village for others.

Prior to recovery, a low point that I recall clearly is going to a Thanksgiving dinner at the home of my then-boyfriend’s sister. She was married, with a new baby. It looked like she had it all together and her life looked so idyllic. I knew to the depth of my being that I would never be “normal” or have a “normal” life like other people. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel and had resigned myself to an existence that was defined by having enough alcohol in the house each day and by being in an abusive relationship. I wouldn’t have been able to put it into those words at the time, being still in denial as to the causes of my unhappy life. I am so blessed and privileged to have that not become my life story.

I still participate in the recovery community, for my own benefit and hoping that I can help others at the same time. My passionate heart of service is for the Earth, especially for protection of trees and water

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Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.