The following was submitted by an alumni, who asked us to share her story.
“Sobriety isn’t possible”… or so I thought.
That is what I told myself for years. I began my tour of rehab centers when I was 18 years old. After entering and completing dozens of programs and continuing to relapse, I eventually succumbed to the idea that sobriety just wasn’t meant for me.
They say the first step to getting better is admitting and accepting that you have a problem with drugs and alcohol. That wasn’t an issue for me. I had no problem telling the world that I was addicted to Xanax, OxyContin, heroin, cocaine, and really anything else I could get my hands on. I was an addict…I wore the title like a badge of honor. In hindsight, I see how my badge was merely the act of a victim.
I told myself, and others, that sobriety would never be a possibility for me, because I was too far gone. I had been in and out of facilities, halfway houses, and other institutions, and nothing seemed to stick. I even attempted the “Suboxone Solution” and a methadone program, but not even that worked. I came to accept the fact that sobriety would just never be a part of my story.
Let’s Try Rehab
By 20 years old, I had already been in 4 different treatment facilities. At the time, I thought they were all the same. Greedy businessmen who could care less if I got better, as long as my insurance paid them. They all spouted the same “crap” about people, places and things, “playing the tape through”, and understanding your triggers.
Time and time again, my family would have enough of my antics and send me to one of these places. Eventually, it got to the point, where I could recite the 12-steps backwards and forwards, tell the counselors exactly what they wanted to hear, and be able to talk my way out of going to a long-term program. As many times as they wanted to send me away for 90 days or 6 months, my “expertise” on the subject of addiction always got me a ride back home…(And I wondered why I couldn’t get sober).
I hated those places. They all said the same thing. Go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps, and get involved. For years, I ran on a self-righteous rampage of “You just don’t understand; Meetings, the 12-steps, and AA won’t work for someone like me”. For a period of time, my mother bought it. In her eyes, I could do no wrong. I had her convinced that those “methods” weren’t the answer for someone like me, because don’t you know, I was a special case…I was unique!
Medicate The Problem
After years of proving that the standard operation for treatment didn’t work, I convinced myself and my family that the best possible solution would be medication. There was no possible way that I could remain sober without the help of some sort of pill to fix the problem. So, I made a few phone calls and scheduled an appointment with a local doctor. In no time, I had the answer to my problem in a little orange bottle.
Nobody told me what to expect. They all said Suboxone would do the trick; that I would no longer want to use heroin. That was not the case. Although I wasn’t “dope-sick” anymore, I still thought about using constantly. Getting high isn’t just about the drug, but about the process that’s involved with getting high; a ritual if you will. I was obsessed.
I didn’t know that if I tried to use other opiates while Suboxone was in my bloodstream, that I would go into a full and immediate withdrawal. Needless to say, I had to learn that lesson the hard way. So what did I do? Two things. The first, I learned through extensive trial and error. If I took my Suboxone first thing in the morning (because my mother kept track of my dosages), usually by 9 pm, I could use heroin without going into immediate withdrawal.
Constantly watching the clock and worrying about dope-sickness got to be exhausting, so I came up with a better solution. If I use anything other than opiates while taking my Suboxone, I will be fine. So off I went, smoking crack, popping Xanax, drinking whiskey, and oh yeah, taking my medicine that was supposed to help me get sober.
Sobriety Is For The Willing
I knew I needed to be sober and I genuinely wanted to be. It never made sense why I just couldn’t get it. Was there something wrong with me? I watched so many people before me able to do it, but why couldn’t I? Finally there came a time, where I had to attempt something different; not because my mother wanted me to, or because I was sick of being dope-sick. It eventually got to a point where I couldn’t live with drugs and I couldn’t live without them.
After being invested into my sobriety for a few years now, I’ve realized a few things. The treatment centers I went to didn’t fail me; AA didn’t fail me; I failed me. I wasn’t able to get sober for so long because I wasn’t WILLING to let go, nor was I willing to do the work.
Every time I checked myself into a facility, I had an agenda. I would only do what I thought was best for me; I’d only go where I wanted to go; I would hear only what I thought was worth listening to. It wasn’t until I conceded to my inner-most self that I had NO idea what I was doing, that I was able to actually get better.
I had literally tried every other way of finding sobriety and none of it worked. Suboxone never shut the noise off in my head. Substituting one chemical for another didn’t work. Telling counselors what I thought they wanted to hear, did me no justice. I was stuck…so I gave up fighting.
Willingness was the key they told me; I had to be willing to listen, willing to be honest, willing to be open-minded. So I tried it their way. I figured, “What the hell, I’ve got nothing else to lose”. I stopped asking “why” when my sponsor told me to do something, and rather, I just did. I finally stopped sugarcoating everything and took a long hard look at myself. I’ve built a connection and relationship with something I can’t explain, I can only understand: my Higher Power. And because of that, my life has gotten EXPONENTIALLY better than I ever thought possible.
Don’t Give Up Hope
If you’re out there and you’ve given up on sobriety, know that you’re not alone. For so long, I gave up too. I figured I was a hopeless case and rehab and meetings didn’t work for me. I was wrong. They do work, but you have to be willing to do your part! You can’t expect anyone to do it for you, and you can’t expect it to happen by osmosis. For a very long time, I just thought it was going to happen…POOF, like that, and I’m all better. I was sadly mistaken.
Drug addiction isn’t like a cold. You can’t just take medicine for a week and expect it to go away. It’s a disease. One that requires a life-long commitment of working on yourself. It won’t necessarily be an easy process, but what in life that’s worth anything, is?
If you think you are of the “hopeless variety”, so did I. I understand your frustration and hesitation, but if you take a brief minute to really get honest with yourself, could you have done something different? If the answer is yes, know that you still can. Make today the day that you become willing to try something different.
Contact Clearbrook Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with chemical dependency or alcoholism, we are able to help. For over 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been offering quality treatment to the still sick and suffering alcoholic and addict. We can show you there is a way out of the darkness and sobriety is possible. Contact our Admissions Specialists today for additional information.