Roni and her younger brother were raised by their hard-working parents in Northern California. Her father worked with a Formula One Race Team and her mother was a cosmetologist. She was either at the race track with her parents or with her grandparents when her parents would travel out of the country on the racing circuit. “I had a good solid foundation growing up,” Roni said. “I didn’t want for anything. You know, I just had a really blessed childhood—two parents that were awesome.”
Roni graduated from high school and then attended college where she obtained her associate’s degree. After college Roni and her friends traveled to Mexico for a year. “We were the biggest beach bums on the planet,” she recalled. “When we ran out of money we came back to the U.S. and I landed in Oxnard.”
Roni started working at the Channel Islands Harbor. “Working in the Harbor was really fun,” she said. “I was out at the Channel Islands more than I was on the Mainland.” Roni said. The job was physically demanding. “It kept me in shape and kept my head clear.”
Even though the job was exciting it was also where she was introduced to alcohol. “The weekends would come and it would be game on,” she said. “The party would start. They would go out and buy beers, so that was my introduction to drinking.”
While working in the Harbor, Roni met her husband. They have two children a son and daughter. She was committed to her family, placing their needs and safety first. Roni recalls, “I stopped drinking when I got pregnant with my son and straightened up for 20 years. But then when they went to college, I reclaimed my drinking addiction.”
Unfortunately after 27 years, Roni and her husband “cut ties” and divorced. “And so at that point, I was in a drinking habit and things just started to go downhill after that because I had so much freedom.”
This freedom became a lifestyle of drinking. “I would work a 40-hour week, stop to get dinner and my old faithful bottle of wine, and then go home,” she said. “I would have a couple of glasses of wine and then all of a sudden that couple of glasses of wine turned into a bottle every night.”
Roni’s alcoholism became so severe that she was hospitalized for six days. While in the hospital she was able to detox, but the doctor recommended an addiction recovery program.
Roni’s daughter found the Lighthouse for Women and Children. “My daughter was angry as all-get-out, because she could already see what was happening to me,” said Roni, “but she picked me up and drove eight hours (to take me to the Lighthouse).” Roni agreed to go, but only to appease others. “I was already thinking about getting a bottle of wine once I got out of the hospital,” she said. But after the long drive with her daughter, Roni was open and ready. “I was excited and ready for the change,” she said.
Roni remembers the morning she pulled into the Lighthouse, Program Manager Rene Camper welcomed her with open arms. “Some of the counselors here have been down my road, some have not, but they all have a heart to see all of us here better ourselves and get well.” Roni entered the Lighthouse’s Life Recovery Program.
The classes and counseling have helped Roni see why she chose alcohol and what triggers her to want to use. “My favorite part is (meeting with) my counselor,” she said. “I can sit down one-on-one and I am able to get out what I’m thinking about.”
Roni graduated from the program last month. She said she’s thankful for her time at the Lighthouse because it helped her see and remember that God has always been with her. “Being here (the Lighthouse) has been full circle for me,” she said. “I started with a good foundation growing up with a strong family. I moved away from Him for a time with the drinking, but now I am back."