I came out to Los Angeles, California in 1999 after 10 years of losing to substance abuse and countless attempts at therapy, counseling and outpatient drug rehabs.
It was July 5th, 1999 and the last thing my dad said to me as I was about to board the plane was, “This is the first day of the rest of your life.” After having endured nearly 10 years of the craziness spawned through my unrelenting cocaine addiction, and the countless therapists and outpatient drug rehabs along the way, the day had finally come. It was the day I flew off to my first residential treatment program.
I walked down the jetway sort of in a haze and into the plane, found my seat, we took off, and I promptly ordered a screwdriver. I don’t even like alcohol but there was no one selling cocaine on the plane, at least not to my knowledge. I knew it was customary to go out with a bang when en route to an addiction treatment program, so I did the next best thing.
No one in my immediate nor extended family has any dealings with drug or alcohol addiction. My parents had no idea what an interventionist is. They’d never even heard of a recovery coach or sober companion. And their idea of a halfway house was nothing more than a transition point for hardened criminals making their way back into society. This nightmare was new to all of us, and I hated the fact that I was putting them through this misery.
Some strange guy named Howard picked me up from the airport and brought me to this rundown house in this rundown neighborhood – “Welcome Home.” This was my new home, a long-term drug & alcohol treatment program. Interestingly, the picture on the front of the pamphlet my mom showed me was of an entirely different building. Oh well…
— (fast forward 10 years…)
Some addicts go through a drug treatment program one time and are able to remain clean & sober afterwards indefinitely. Others find themselves going through treatment more than once, multiple times even. I unfortunately am a part of the latter group.
Though I’d had multiple relapses and repeat attempts in residential rehab since that fateful day back in 1999, with each repeat attempt I had gained more knowledge, more insight, more experience. The most important thing I had learned over those 10 years was that I simply did not want sobriety bad enough in order to prioritize it over the random urges to use drugs, which are very common in early recovery. I basically wanted to have my cake and eat it too, which was to feel the benefits of being sober while being able to randomly sneak away and use drugs every so often without anyone knowing. It sounds great on paper. Practically speaking it’s just not possible.
One day I went to my sponsor and in an excited tone I told him I think I figured out the problem, I suffer from ADD and depression. He looked at me and laughed.
The point I’m getting at here is that, while we all have our own journey and unique experiences along the way, and while we all see things a bit differently, the key ingredient in the recipe for success from drug and alcohol addiction is “willingness.” For some that means the willingness to be honest when they most don’t want to. For others, it means the willingness to go to a 12-Step meeting (i.e., AA, NA, etc.) after getting home from a long work day and wanting to do nothing more than watching tv in bed. For me, it means sitting through those instantaneous urges to use as they enter my mind from seemingly nowhere.
Anyway, just thought I’d share a small snippet from my journey in recovery from cocaine addiction.
Wishing you all the best…
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This article was submitted anonymously by a non-employee of FoxWhole Recovery Services