Daphne Jay’s Story of Addiction Recovery (SOAR)

Last Updated on July 26, 2021

stories addiction recovery

Daphne Jay grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where she lived with her mom and stepdad. Although her biological father struggled with alcohol addiction, she grew up in a relatively alcohol-free home.

In high school, Daphne drank like many of her peers did and experimented with drugs but she never developed a habit of using drugs or alcohol. Later in life, after she got married, she and her husband would spend their weekends out drinking and socializing. But as soon as she found out she was pregnant, all of that stopped. She quit drinking and smoking cold turkey.

A few years later, Daphne was a busy mom of two, juggling the task of raising a four-year-old son and a newborn daughter. Her husband traveled a lot and she was struggling with insomnia, so one night she had a glass of wine to help her sleep. It just started with one glass but things quickly progressed from there. Soon, she was having two glasses, then three, then the whole bottle, and more.

With her family living in Orange Beach, Alabama, Daphne spent most of her time at the beach, at the pool, or out with friends, but always with a drink in hand. She started a running club and named it the “Bama Winers.” They hosted large fundraisers for St. Jude and in such a small community, Daphne and the group were well-known for their efforts.

“Every time we’d go in somewhere, people would give me free wine or a bottle that was half-off…I felt like I needed to live up to the name,” she says.

Daphne would drink all through lunches and events, leave to head back home, and then continue drinking there too. Eventually, she started blacking out, but she wasn’t aware of what was happening. All she knew is that sometimes she wouldn’t remember how she got home or what she did the night before.

Daphne’s drinking reached a turning point when her daughter left home to go to treatment for her own addiction problem. At the same time, her son moved to Colorado and her husband went away to Texas for work. (Hurricane Harvey had just hit and he was in the insurance industry.) 

With everyone gone, Daphne no longer had to work to hide her drinking from her family. She was free to do it out in the open, so she did. She’d drink first thing in the morning until she went to bed at night. However, when her daughter came home from treatment, things became unmanageable and the two of them set off to move to Houston, where they reunited with her husband.

The mug shot is after Daphne got a DUI in Houston

About three months into her new life in Texas, Daphne got a DUI. After that, she stayed at home because she was too scared to drive, knowing there was a good chance she’d get busted driving drunk again. Isolated and at home, Daphne’s alcoholism worsened. She would wake up in the middle of the night needing a drink to get back to sleep. And the coffee cup she carried around the house? It was usually filled with vodka or wine.

A few months after the DUI incident, Daphne’s mom came into town for a visit. Daphne was struggling to hide her drinking from her mom and her husband was working from home, making it nearly impossible for her drinking to go unnoticed. Once her mom left, Daphne finished off the handle of vodka she’d been secretly nursing all day. Then, she drank two bottles of wine, and the rest of her husband’s beer, even though she didn’t like beer.

Typically, Daphne would order her alcohol and have it delivered to the house. But for some reason, she hadn’t done that. So when she finished off the last of her husband’s beer, she realized she was left without any alcohol in the house and she couldn’t drive to go get any. Daphne had reached a breaking point.

“I just remember bits and pieces of it, but I went into my husband’s office crying, saying I didn’t want to live like this anymore,” she says. 

The picture with her husband was while Daphne was in detox.

Daphne’s husband helped her find Briarwood Detox Center in Houston, where she detoxed for six days. While she was there, she heard another patient talking about going to rehab at Nova Recovery Center and decided she wanted to go too. Daphne knew if she went back home after detoxing, she’d be stopping somewhere to get alcohol before she even made it back to her house. So right after she finished detox, she headed straight to Nova to complete a residential rehab program.

In treatment, Daphne poured her whole self into the program. With her family fully behind her and supportive, she was finally ready to give up her addiction and start truly living.

“No one could tell me I needed help,” she says. “It’s that whole denial thing. Nobody can make you do it until you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Half-assing it’s not going to get you there. When you truly want it, then you’re going to get the most out of it. I think that’s why I had so much success at Nova.”

Ninety full days after she entered the program at Nova, she walked back out, feeling blessed to have been given a fresh start. Being relatively new to Texas, she could start over and build new relationships with friends that were supportive of her sobriety. So that’s exactly what she did.

Today, Daphne is living a fulfilling and sober life in Houston with her family. She hosts AA meetings every night of the week and is a sober coach, sober companion and escort, and a relapse prevention professional. On July 28th, she’ll be celebrating three years of sobriety.

The portrait of her on the stairs is a healthy, happy Daphne!

“Like any alcoholic, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it the best I can. I put as much time into my recovery as I did my drinking. Well, almost…except I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to read recovery books like I did to drink,” she says, laughing.

Now that she’s sober, Daphne says a supportive community is everything. And she’s passionate about helping people find it and providing that support whenever possible.

“Today, there is coffee in my coffee cup, not wine,” she says. “That is something that is truly a miracle and I’m very grateful for it.”

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