Well, it’s officially 2018 and I was sober for the 1st time on New Year’s Eve in about 25 years!!! If you haven’t quit drinking quite yet, and it is your New Year’s Resolution…you CAN DO THIS!
For me, it ultimately took Rehab. A lot of people (including myself) are resistant to Rehab thinking it’s for the desperate, the ones who have lost everything, those that have been in jail, are working out a DUI (or several), or on death’s bed. NOT SO! I was totally functional, I have a good job, I have taken care of my family’s every need, I pay the bills, etc., etc. But I needed help. I needed to find out who I was away from work, away from family, away from responsibility…and THAT is what rehab did for me!
Showing up at Discovery Point Retreat, I was desperate. Not in the way some are, but in my very own way of being completely lost within myself and not knowing who I was without my outward appearance of mom, employee, friend and wife. Who in the hell was I without all of that???
I showed up and was assigned a roommate who was amazing and hilarious and right where I was, in her own way. Living with a total stranger was WAY outside my comfort zone, but I learned a lot about myself there. She knew what she liked to watch on TV…I had no clue what I liked (my husband picked the TV shows at home). She made me laugh honest, real, hard belly laughs by sharing about herself and allowing me to share about myself without any fear of being judged. We both had been through shit, and we were both alcoholic/addicts…and that gave us all the commonality that we needed.
The facility was a large house that accommodated about 18-20 clients at a time so we were all under one roof. Eating together, attending meetings together, relaxing together, talking, and having fun…SOBER! Groups were 7 times a day (which seems like a lot but made the time go by super fast) and were led by incredibly qualified addiction counselors and therapists, all having their own story and their own perspectives which they openly shared. Each group leader had something to offer and a way of connecting the group with each other in a way that would never be possible in the “real world”. Because they were in recovery too! We were all SO different, but also we were all the same as a result of addiction and that commonality is what bonded us in a way that was unimaginable. We became a family over those 30 days while I was there. People came and went…but there was always a connection with each and every person.
We also had just enough free time. I read about 7 books while I was there, really digging deep into finding what I like about myself and what I enjoyed doing again. It has been SO long since I had done anything just for me. We went on outings to Wal-Mart, picnics, one of those Escape Room venues, the gym (they were building one on the property but it wasn’t complete yet), equine therapy, and even to the beauty salon where we got manicures and pedicures. They made sure we felt like we were living life, exploring fun without booze, and finding things that made us happy without the self-medicating.
I’ll be honest, it was also stressful. Living in a house with 20 other addicts has its stresses, that is for sure…but those stresses showed me how to deal with life, challenges and other people. There were disagreements, clicks, tension at times…and a few people left AMA (against medical advisement) which affected the whole groups morale. BUT…within all that, there was compassion, understanding, support, encouragement, praise for just being you, and above all there was incredible uplifting and visible progress witnessed in people who I thought might not make it…but they did! And, so did I.
Rehab was more than I EVER could have expected and was the blessing that I had longed for over the past four years…I just didn’t know it! Addiction kept me thinking I could do this on my own, I was strong enough, I was independent enough, I knew what I had to do…but you know what??? I wasn’t and I didn’t know how to do it. I was an alcoholic who needed to be shown that way out. I needed to be reminded of who I was deep down inside, and shown that I could be 100% accepted for that person by others.
That is what rehab did for me! I would do it all over again, but really hope I never have to 😉 .
Never give up, believe in yourself, and do whatever it takes to find your freedom again!
Hugs and love,