We rarely hear the positive stories in the news. We’re not shocked by the statistics anymore. We’re more likely to see a Rest in Peace social media post than a post celebrating a friend’s recovery milestone. While we need to remain aware of this gruesome reality -- we must also share stories of hope if we’re ever going to move forward.
I’ll go first. I’m nobody special. I’m a girl who likes to write, I’m in long-term recovery, and I believe that if I can do it, then anyone can.
The Early Days: Drinking to Live
In 2007, I was 18 years old. I worked two waitressing jobs, was living the single life for the first time since middle school, and if “club rat” was in the dictionary -- my picture would’ve been beside the definition. I worked in the industry and had a high-quality fake ID, so going out after work was my nightly routine. Waking up with no memory of the night before was a typical morning.
I experienced my fair-share of consequences. I lost a couple jobs, got a DUI, frequently had my utilities shut off -- but in my head, this was a normal day-in-the-life of a newly-single young adult. These minor setbacks were no match for the disease I didn’t know I had.
So if you’re anything like me, you know how the next couple of years went -- there’s no need to dive into every detail.
I lost count after losing my 25th job. I was assaulted in every way you can be. I was hours away from death due to malnutrition. My one-year probation sentence turned into three.
And so on... And so on...
The Turning Point
I was bulimic for twelve years and had a rare blood disorder, so I wasn’t in good enough shape to be engaging in any of the nonsense I was putting myself through. My tolerance grew at a sci-fi pace; within three years of daily drinking, I was at the point where I’d have to drink every 4-6 hours to not start going into withdrawal, totaling about 2 standard bottles of 70-100pt liquor.
On June 14th, 2011, I hallucinated for about six hours before I called 911 and told them there had been a shooting in my house (Spoiler Alert: there was no shooting anywhere near my house).
To make a long story short, I experienced psychosis due to DTs (Delirium Tremens) and found myself in the local psych ward. Additionally, I was assigned a case manager who would change my life forever.
I had been so wrapped up in the daily maintenance of alcoholism that I didn’t even know that someone like me could go to rehab. I assumed treatment centers were for the rich and famous. When my case manager told me my insurance would cover it, I broke into tears.
I was broken. I was ready. I felt like I had just been released from the prison I created for myself.
I went to a program for drug & alcohol treatment. I was so clueless and knew nothing about this whole world of recovery. I listened to everything I was told because somewhere, deep down, I wanted to live and not just exist.
Life 2.0 in Recovery
By a miracle, I completed rehab. I even moved into a transitional living home, where they allowed me to get a job while staying in treatment part-time.
Within that time, I saved up enough for a down-payment on a gross, roach-infested, old 400 square foot apartment, despite my credit score is lower than the scale is built to go.
But, I didn’t care because it was mine. After living on people’s couches, the streets, in hospitals, and in institutions -- I had my very own apartment. I felt secure and stable, and it was the best feeling that I had ever experienced at that point.
I didn’t care that I had a two-hour bus ride to work and a two-hour bus ride home. I had this new sense and feeling of… normalcy. It’s a kind of joy that no one except an addict or alcoholic can ever understand.
Early recovery is hard, and I’m sure everyone agrees. I won’t lie, I messed up a few times, but I had the relationships, skills, and knowledge that I gained in treatment and support groups to get back on track. I can now proudly say that I’ve been sober since November 3rd, 2013.
What my life is like now:
- I set up a payment plan with the courts, finished the requirements, and completed probation.
- I bought a car that I drive legally.
- I can go grocery shopping when I’m hungry.
- I am a parent to two beautiful fur-babies.
- I’ve helped other alcoholics and addicts.
- I developed a healthy, adult relationship with another addict in long-term recovery.
- Was asked to be a bridesmaid in my very strained relationship with my best friend.
- My girlfriend and I moved across the country into my dream apartment.
- Our apartment has a home office. My bed and stove don’t even share a room.
- And most recently, my girlfriend became my fiancee.
I remember the days where I would hear those annoying, happy people speak in 12-step meetings about “living a life beyond their wildest dreams” and I immediately dismissed them. They weren’t as far gone as me. They didn’t understand.
Until I became one of those annoying, happy people. And I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
If you or a loved one is in need of help for a drug and alcohol problem, contact Pax House treatment center today at (888) 572-1724. One of our caring treatment consultants will help you today.