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Rising From Rock Bottom

Joan Lovett managed to turn her life around because of her family, her faith, and a strength she never knew she had. The Early Show's Dave Price has Part Two of her inspirational story for the My New Life series.


Joan Lovett had it all: good career, great marriage, beautiful kids - and lost everything to alcohol addiction.

"I went mad," Joan told Price. "I really think I just went crazy."

The woman who once shared a television news anchor desk with the most respected names in the business was jailed in Maryland for drunk driving. And, while she was in custody, her husband died. Joan couldn't even attend his funeral.

"Sometimes I think back on those terrible things but I know I was a sick person," Joan reflected.

"While she was behind bars, Joan's two kids were staying with her brother and his wife in Missouri. And when she was released in April of 2003, Joan went to St. Louis to reclaim her family, and try to put her life back together.

"I was in control at that point," she says.

Now, with the help of a 12-step program, Joan has turned everything around. "I don't dwell on the past. For me, I guess coming to the brink of death, and losing everything, and now having what I have, it's a miracle. It's a thrill."

In her darkest days, before going to jail, Joan tried to take her own life. She severed tendons in the process, and is now trying to re-learn the piano.

Joan completed substance-abuse counseling, but knows there are no guarantees - and that her family will be together only as long as she stays sober: "I've been sober long enough to know that the 12-step program I'm in works. My belief in a higher power works. And this is a better way of life."

Joan says she takes life one day at a time, and admits she can't promise she won't take a drink tomorrow.

Now, Joan has become the mom she always wanted to be.

Thanks to some wise investments, she doesn't have to go back to work right away. She's available to her kids, and to other women with substance-abuse problems.

Sammy and Jonathan are both straight-A students, and Joan's life revolves around them,rather than finding her next drink. "It's a miracle to me that they want me in their lives like that, after everything they've been through," she marvels.

Joan got her family back, but something else was tormenting her. Her husband, Jeff, died while she was locked up, and she never had the chance to say goodbye.

"I couldn't do anything if Jeff was gonna enter my mind, because I would break down," she says."One night earlier this year, I prayed to God, I said, 'I'm not angry anymore. I just want to forgive myself, so that I can go on.'"

Joan traveled to Chicago and visited Jeff's grave for the first time - to ask forgiveness from the man she felt she had failed in life. The next morning, she went back one more time - to say goodbye.

"I would have died a long time ago if Jeff hadn't been there. And he'll always be my love. And also know Jeff wants me to move on," Joan says.

Price asked Joan, "If he could see … you now, because in the end he had an awful picture of what had become of you, what would he think?

"I think," Joan answered, "he would say, 'I told you that you could do it.'"


For Part One of Joan's story, on how her life crumbled, click here.
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