When Do You Know It’s Time for Treatment?
Every person that has surrendered to the disease of addiction and was ready to change their life as they knew it, realized when the time was right to go to treatment. Some people face interventions by loved ones, some are court-ordered and some decide on their own that their life is just too out of control to function in the real world. It doesn’t really matter how you get there; what matters is that you made it there!
My life decisions led me to my first treatment center. It’s funny how your life’s direction kind of takes a turn into directions you never knew you were headed. Then one day you wake up and you’re there.
In 2012, my life was headed nowhere good.
I just thought I was in a rut. Maybe I needed a new career, hobby or just the right drug that would jolt me in the right direction. I knew I was depressed, jaded and could be downright mean to anyone who crossed me the wrong way.
Being a teacher of 22 years, I was in no shape to even try to do my job. But I managed to get through the school year. But at the end of the year, I thought I needed a change of scenery to get through my funk. I decided to take a job in my hometown around my family. I took a job with a population of students that I had no experience with and a coaching job that paid a stipend. I figured I would keep myself busy to get myself back on the straight and narrow. What could go wrong? Absolutely everything!
If you’re an addict, having the summers off is like a continuous party. The bad thing about it is that it doesn’t last long. When school rolled around I was in no shape to return. I was apprehensive about the new job and was totally freaking out about the move I had made. I was drinking and doing drugs around the clock and I just could not get it together.
When school started, I began having panic attacks each morning that could only be alleviated by drinking. Pretty soon into the school year, I had already burned all of my sick time for the entire year. The last two weeks I was there, I didn’t even bother to call in my absence. I thought about suicide daily but just didn’t want to do that to my family.
During this time something happened. I just couldn’t get drunk or high enough to make the pain go away. I drank all day only to vomit blood all night. I was hospitalized two months into the school year and they realized after two days in intensive care that I was having withdrawals. Something happened during my hospital stay that made me want to change my life.
When I was released from the hospital, the first thing I did was head to the liquor store and try to get high again. It still didn’t work! Facing being fired from my job and my family’s new-found knowledge of my life made me look for a new way out or maybe just a new way of life.
Taking the Necessary Steps
The next day, I began researching treatment facilities. There were many close that were very good but I wanted to go as far away from life as I knew it. I did just that and found myself in Palm Springs, California. I believe I got the best care and help I could have gotten. It was also a place so far away from my life that I had to learn to survive on my own and if I failed then I would have to learn how to pick myself up and try again.
When I left for treatment, I can tell you honestly that I didn’t think it would work. I figured I would just dry out for a couple of months and I would be good to go back to the good old life. But something happened in that second week.
It is in that period that you have to make plans to ensure your stability and sobriety. I chose a sober living house. It saved my life.
I learned how to live with other addicts with a little freedom but with consequences for my actions and random drug testing. I learned how to live without drugs and alcohol. I learned responsibility and I learned about myself. I learned that I was a good person who had a disease and I just made some bad choices in my life. I was worthy of a good life living responsibly without alcohol and drugs.
So, it really doesn’t matter how or when you get there. It only matters that you get there!