<<< The following is an anonymous submission by one of our Alumni. He asked that we share it with those that may be struggling to ask for and accept help battling their disease of addiction. Clearbrook is grateful to have been a part of this man's journey and that he was willing to share his story with you. May God continue to keep him on the path to a happy, joyous and free life. >>>
My parents did a great job of raising my brothers and I. They did the best they could and instilled a set of morals and good character that would enable us to go out in the world and be good people. The only problem was I didn’t see it that way. I can remember from childhood that I thought I wasn’t given a fair shot at life. I remember always having a paralyzing fear in my head, heart, and soul that was breeding the resentful, frightened alcoholic that I was to become. I know now that there is no blame to be put on anyone, not even myself. It just was and I can thankfully say today through the help of Clearbrook Treatment Centers and a twelve step program that I experience a life of love and joy.
I drank and used drugs from a very early age to cope with life. After a period of time I had to use and drink daily because mentally and physically I was hooked. I could not face life without a chemical in my system. I won’t go into detail of how bad using was except to say that it almost killed me and it destroyed any meaningful relationship that I ever had. When I was active in my addiction, if I came into contact with anyone, I was like a tornado that destroyed everything. Thankfully the grace of a power that I can’t describe entered my heart and mind. What it said to me is that the way I lived life wasn’t working and that maybe there was a way to “right the ship.” So I went off to treatment. I saw that there was a different way of life and there were people just like me that once felt like I did. The only difference between me and those other people is that they were looking and living life through a different “pair of glasses” than I was. They helped me. They promised me that I don’t have to live my life like this anymore. A sense of relief took over that I cannot put into words.
My life changed. Everything changed. The family that couldn’t be around me anymore came back into my life. Holidays weren’t complete and utter disasters anymore. My mother, father, and siblings told me that they loved me before they would hang up the phone. My professional life also took off. I went from someone that was unemployable to a relatively successful business man. I acquired all the tangible things that I thought would never happen to an addict like me. During this time I learned that I would lose all of this if I didn’t pass on what I had to the next person that was suffering from addiction. I needed to be the guy that reached out his hand and told my story to the guy who once felt like I did. Happiness is an understatement. I loved my life.
I wish my story up to this point in my life ended there. It doesn’t. A series of events happened in my life. In this alcoholic mind the things that happened to me “weren’t fair”. The negative things going on in my life coupled with not doing anything positive for my recovery in a short amount of time led to a relapse of epic proportions. One day the thought came to me that if I am going to feel this way emotionally, I am going to feel like this in a medicated state of mind. Everything that I had in life was gone in a span of just a few short months. I was toxic again. I felt worse than I ever had in my life. I tried to get sober again against the advice of professionals that told me that I should go back to treatment. That was also a failure. I was now drinking and using drugs when I didn’t want to. I again, had to use and drink every day. Then, by the grace of God, divine intervention infiltrated my life. I got into contact with Clearbrook and they had an open bed for me.
I got to Clearbrook on a Tuesday morning. I was defeated, ashamed, and bankrupt in every way possible. I had this wonderful life just a short time ago and my disease told me that I would never get it back. I needed to be put under the care and direction of the medical professionals at Clearbrook first. Although I didn’t think I deserved anything good anymore, the nursing staff compassionately and empathetically took care of me from a physical standpoint first. They listened to me and helped me when I told them of my mental state. I was 45 pounds underweight and they made sure that I ate. I could not function anymore. Without the help of the detox staff of Clearbrook I know that I may not have stayed here. After a few days I began to feel better. I was able to sleep, eat, and talk to people. Then it was time to get into the treatment phase of my stay. I was assigned a primary counselor. Bless this man. I was so broken, hopeless, and had no faith. I could not talk about anything without tears rolling down my cheeks. Anxiety plagued me every minute of the day. I was able to meet with the staff and my counselor when I needed to. What they did was begin to tell me stories of people they have helped in the past that have the exact same story as me. They said that these people, although they suffered a horrible relapse, are living happier and more productive lives than before their relapse. At first I didn’t think that was going to be me. I thought I was different. One thing that sticks with me to this day is when someone said, “If possible, although you don’t believe it, please just believe that we as a staff at Clearbrook are 100% positive that you can have a life that was better than the one you just came from. A life that is full, happy, and beyond your wildest dreams. Believe that we believe this.” That one conversation saved my life. What was imperative during my stay at Clearbrook was to be honest with the staff. I had to tell them what was going on in my life both inside and out. 28 days is not a very long time. But in those 28 days the caring people that work at Clearbrook were able to show me where I had gone wrong, how to correct that so that it doesn’t happen again, and fill me with the hope and faith that is necessary to live a life in recovery. From a crushed, broken person, in just under a month I had just enough hope that this was going to work for me.
I can tell you today that everything they told me at Clearbrook is true, despite my old belief system. I know today because of practical application, that the design and program for living that Clearbrook gives its patients works. I also know in hindsight that if it is not practiced as a way of life it won’t work. I am sober today. I am happy today. I believe in something governing this amazing world that we live in. I try to the best of my ability to practice what I learned from this God given place called Clearbrook. When I do these things my life is about as perfect as it could ever be. When I don’t, I suffer. I visit Clearbrook often. Without fail, every single time I turn into the driveway tears of gratitude fill my eyes. I remember how beat up I was when I first got here. Now to be able to be thankful for anything is a gift, and it has nothing to do with me. All I did was what I was told so far. It was Clearbrook and their staff that had the plan. For that I am eternally grateful. Thank you Clearbrook. Thank you for a life that I said I didn’t deserve.
–Anonymous Clearbrook Alumni