Read the story of a Clearbrook alumni:
Middle School, (2005)
“It was the spring of 2005, and although I was only in seventh grade, I was just added to the roster of the eighth grade girls’ basketball team. Life was good, I couldn’t have been more ecstatic and proud of myself. I also made the honor roll every quarter, so the upcoming summer vacation was well deserved.
The summer started as it always did really, sleeping in until noon and soaking up some rays by the pool. I would go to the mall with my girlfriends, and have sleep-overs. We lived in a small town, so our major attractions were a super Walmart and the local movie theater, not really anything to get excited about.
After about the fifth week of summer I was ready to do anything that would entertain me more than the same things every day. I remember looking online for water parks, amusement parks, and places to go for hiking trips for hours. Unfortunately, I remember being emotionally crushed because my dad was going to be away for business, and so, it was going to be just another week by the pool for me, which was getting so boring!
My friend’s mother was usually working out of town during the week, so I decided to invite her to do a week long sleepover since we were both looking for something different to do. We’ve been friends since elementary school, and had a great amount in common. We always knew how to make each other laugh and smile when we were feeling down; having her over this week was sure to be a good time!
On the first night, we stayed up late watching horror movies, drinking energy drinks, and talking about boys. Feeling a sense of freedom since our parents weren’t around, we imagined what it would be like to throw a party and so we started throwing ideas about how to make it perfect if we were to actually have one. I imagined having streamers, balloons, chocolate fountains, endless mozzarella sticks, magazine quizzes, and a boom box playing party music to set the mood. You know, all the simple things that a young mind could think of.
I guess we decided we wanted to attempt to do this, so the next morning we walked to the grocery store and picked up a bag of balloons, streamers, Hi-C, mozzarella sticks, and a handful of magazines. We were determined to throw the best party of the summer. Within an hour we had a list of 25 people, their phone numbers, and two friends that had a car.
Friday at 8:00pm was the start of the best night of our lives. We weren’t quite sure how things were going to go, and what time everyone would show up since we weren’t aware that no one usually goes to a party at the start time. After 30 minutes of waiting and frantically pacing, the first guest arrived. Then a full car showed up, and another car full right after. By 9:00 pm the party was in full swing; the music was blasting, balloons were being batted around, and the mozzarella sticks were ready to be demolished.
Midway through stuffing my face, a friend asked if two of her guy friends could come. I was already in a great mood, so I told her they could. I didn’t realize they were a lot older… or that they would be bringing alcohol.
The guys came with two more friends, and 3 cases of beer. I only tried beer once when I stole a swig from my Dad’s when I was younger, but I wasn’t about to be the only eighth grader not drinking. I quickly grabbed two cans to try to blend in.
The morning after, I woke up in the hospital. I came back to consciousness while they were pumping my stomach. The nurses told me I had gotten alcohol poisoning with a .305 BAC level. Confused, scared, and not knowing whether I was going to live or die, I remember asking myself, “What did I get myself into last night??”
It was just a few weeks later when I was with some friends and was offered marijuana for the first time. I can remember asking about my concerns of marijuana poisoning and watching my stoned friends have their share of laughs in response, as they assured me I’d be okay, so I decided to try it. This went exponentially better than my first time drinking. My mind was relaxed, I had a better connection with my thoughts, and I laughed until my sides hurt. This didn’t seem to be anything to be concerned about.
I continued smoking marijuana throughout the summer and most of my time in eighth grade. During this time, my grades dropped a grade letter, I began hanging out with a different crowd, and I started becoming a little bit more defiant. During one of my nights out smoking with my friends, we were stopped by a police officer. I guess you can say I was lucky for not getting charged with possession, but I did end up with a disorderly conduct charge.
Afraid to tell my parents, I used my own money to pay the fine and hoped to “brush it under the rug” so they would never find out. It was a real weight off my shoulders… that was of course, until my dad got the letter about my upcoming court hearing. To no surprise, my father was furious!
Attempting to stay far away from Juvie, I plead guilty on my charge and entered rehab a few days before my hearing with hopes they’d allow me to serve my sentence there. The courts agreed that a ninety day drug rehab program would be far more beneficial than Juvie, and thus ordered me to treatment. A few weeks after entering rehab, I was kicked out for leaving the property and immediately sent back to court where I was sentenced to eleven months in a Juvenile detention facility in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. This was quite longer than I would have expected, and certainly didn’t help me with what was becoming a problem for me at that time.
High School (2007-2009)
It was the start of my freshman year in high school, and unfortunately, I missed the first 30 days due to my 11 month sentence. At this point I gave up trying to be on the honor roll and was no longer eligible to play basketball. There’s a famous saying that reads, “idle hands are the devil’s playground”, and that was precisely what happened to me. With my attention away from school and athletics, I found myself causing mischief and spending more time focusing on other things, like boys.
I smoked daily, skipped school, and did what I wanted to. At that time, my friends were older and most of them had their licenses, so I just went wherever they were. My dad was travelling more frequently for business, so I was basically on my own most weeks. This newly discovered lifestyle seemed to continue until one day when my father unexpectedly returned home from a business trip and caught me getting high while skipping school.
The very next day my father admitted my fourteen-year-old self into rehab for the second time. What my father and rehab didn’t know was I had already graduated from drinking and smoking and began experimenting with opiates. Once again, I left rehab before completing treatment. By the end of the school year I had been readmitted, and this time it was for my opiate use.
I ended up getting expelled from school by my Junior year. This is when my opiate use really exploded. I began using OxyContin, Dilaudid, which is a liquid morphine. I also got into using morphine. I was waking up with withdrawal symptoms and getting cravings almost all the time. I had a problem, and I was starting to realize it.
The Addiction (2009-2011)
By this point I started admitting myself to rehab to stop myself from using. Each time I sadly failed. I went to rehab 5 times just for my opiate use. Each time I would end up leaving because the craving was so bad I felt the need to go get high to temporarily provide me relief. Each time telling myself, “just one more time, and then I’ll be ready to complete treatment”. By age 17, I was fully dependent on opiates, and I had failed completing rehab a total of 7 times.
Opiates started becoming harder to find, and money was already tight so I started traveling down the destructive path of black tar heroin. My affixation to the drug became my life. It wasn’t hard for others to see that I was using. I had track marks, I became super skinny, and I was always strung out. At this point I didn’t really care about anything except my next fix. It was a long scary road that I was headed down
I had spent well over $50,000 on my opiate and heroin addiction and that’s not including rehabs, probations, fines, and drug tests. It cost me my education, my friends, and most importantly my family. My chances for a decent future were gone, I had no work experience, nor a diploma. My life had literally hit rock-bottom.
I frantically tried getting clean without drug rehab, this time having my father give me doses of Suboxone periodically through the day to try and control this nasty sickness. The first two days were absolute hell. Hours upon hours of withdrawing left me sick and exhausted on my bedroom floor. I tried, but inevitably ran away from home to find another hit to get me by for a little while.
When I woke up one afternoon somewhere other than my house, I knew I wouldn’t be allowed back home until I got myself together, as I had finally burned my last bridge. It was that day that I decided I needed to change my life. I made a decision to go to a rehab that was farther away. One where my friends couldn’t come bail me out, or I could leave and be near home. Before it literally had killed me, I had to get away from this drug.
On November 25, 2011, I admitted myself for the last time to a rehab two hours from home. I refused their detox treatments and quit cold turkey without Suboxone. After nearly a week of withdrawal symptoms I was released from detox and put into rehab. As I arrived there, I experienced such a welcoming support system from them. They continually persuaded me not to leave. I would honestly say I enjoyed rehab this time. Their hospitality extremely helped my recovery process.
I had finally made the decision to get clean and get my life back. For over ten years drugs played a crucial part in my life. For the first time in a long time, I actually wanted to feel the warm embrace of a loving support system rather than the cold numbness of my addiction. I truly wanted my life back.
After I finished rehab, I found my sponsor and started to get my life back on track. I started attending a small community college to complete my Gen. Eds. I’m now attending a well known University in the state of Pennsylvania to become a Physician’s Assistant. During school I started working as a Substance Abuse Counselor at a local clinic.
I feel so blessed to say that I am now engaged to my fiancé who I met at college. He has been extremely supportive in helping me put the life I used to live behind me, as he reminds me everyday of the life we now have to look forward to. We recently bought both sides of a double-block; one side in which we live, and the other which serves as a stepping stone for recovering addicts. I admitted five struggling girls who have completed their rehabilitation and/or halfway house to stay with us.
Every week we have a meeting with them, but more importantly, they know I’m there for them everyday. I have a one-on-one relationship with each of them and it really helps in providing them with a place to continue their recovery. The rewarding feeling of helping someone out of the place I was once stuck is nearly indescribable.
I am extremely blessed to have been given the chance at a second life. I couldn’t even begin to explain how going from the life of an addict to the life I have now feels. Every day I cherish life. I have a purpose and reason for living again, and it has to be one of the most rewarding feelings, emotionally and mentally.
If you know someone struggling, it’s very important to tell them there’s a better way to live. There really is a way out of the addiction they or you are suffering from. You can and will get better over time if you really truly want it. You should be living a happy and sober life with friends and family. Your sobriety will not only impact your life, but that of all your friends and loved ones just the same. When you continue to give in to an addiction, your loved ones, with all their wits intact, are forced to witness your path of destruction, and often lie in fear of what seems like the inevitable phone call informing them of their loss. Save your life, and you’ll inherently rejuvenate the lives of all your loved ones just the same.
Please share this with your friends and loved ones, as my hopes are that this will connect with someone that is currently struggling with addiction, and that they can connect with my story to see that there is a light at the end of what seems like an endless tunnel.
Contact Clearbrook For Drug Rehab Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, know that Clearbrook is here to help. For over 40 years now, we have been offering a medically supervised detoxification and adult inpatient program for the chemically dependent. Through customized treatment programs, many of our patients have achieved sobriety and are free of the mental obsession. Contact our Admissions Specialists today for further information about our programs and the admission process.