A Million and One Stories Features

Q&A with Stacey Spiehler

On January 22, 2018, Jackson, Mississippi resident Stacey Spiehler celebrated a milestone.

It marked two years to the day that Ms. Spiehler last took a drop of alcohol as well as used drugs.

A week prior to her two-year anniversary of being sober, the readers of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger voted her the top server in the Jackson area in an online poll.

Recently, I emailed Ms. Spiehler some questions about her journey the last few years for The Kids Wear Crowns.

KWC: How did you end up in Jackson, Mississippi?

I grew up in Southern Indiana with some roots in New Orleans. When it came time to choose a college, I picked The University of New Orleans and met my now ex-husband there. He and I were best friends at the time and when he got a job in Los Angeles, he totally floored me. Broke my heart! Luckily I got him to agree to move me out there to be his maid (long story short, lol) and we started dating and were married a few months later. When it came time to start a family, we needed to be closer to home, so he got a transfer with his company to a place close to Jackson.

KWC: I always believed that the need to do things supercedes the want to do things. When did the want to quit drinking happen for you?

At no point before I did quit drinking did I want to quit drinking. I wanted to slow down, but it just wasn’t happening. I couldn’t control my drinking and enjoy it at the same time. It wasn’t until I had about 2 months sober that I realized I needed to quit, and it took a good month after that before I finally wanted the sober life and all it brought – i.e., to do the work.

KWC: How did you get into waitressing?

I was only about 14 years old when I was introduced to the industry. Did a little bit of everything at that point! When my marriage was abruptly over and I became homeless, I needed something, quick. I was welcomed back into the industry with open arms! It’s been about 3 years and there are a lot of days that I still have no idea what I’m doing, but thankfully through a program of recovery I’ve developed enough humility to ask what the hell to do!

KWC: You’ve been featured in the Clarion-Ledger as well as on the Ellen Show. Did you ever think this would happen?
I was definitely in the Clarion Ledger, and someone from The Ellen Show did call me, but I wasn’t actually on the show. Maybe still one day! Still a big deal that someone called! No, I didn’t think any of this would happen to me. I’ve lived in a homeless shelter. I’ve been lying on the floor of a mental hospital in full delerium tremens screaming for help but not accepting it. I’ve been in withdrawals, in a puddle of my own bodily fluids, on the bathroom floor of my house. I’ve attempted suicide many, many times. Never in my life did I think the word “inspiration” would be used to describe me, let alone being voted best server in Jackson by a community I love so much. It’s a whole story of grace and gratitude, and a little work on my end. It’s overwhelming, flattering, and incredibly humbling.

KWC: What would you tell someone that is going through addiction?

Whatever you haven’t done yet, you’re likely to do if you keep going. Addiction can happen to anyone, anyone at all, but so can recovery. Chase recovery like you did that dope man and every single thing in your life will be better. I never knew that the one thing holding me back from healing from my trauma and taking an active and powerful role in my life was my dependence on those chemical crutches. All the reasons I had to drink and drug before are the reasons I’ve stayed sober today! Grateful for my recovery.

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