I was born on a Tuesday at 5:58pm. I was overall a good kid – did well in school and was involved in as many extra-curricular activities as my mother could squeeze me into. I remember from a young age the importance my mother put on being well rounded to prepare for college applications. I also remember her doing much of my homework for me as she could obviously do it better than an elementary school girl. My grades somehow defined her. I learned from a young age that my mother’s well-being and emotional stability was contingent upon me being ok. Therefore, I quickly learned to put on a happy face, no matter how miserable I felt inside.
Being an only child, coupled with the fact that my father was a traveling salesman and gone much of the time, I learned to be my mother’s “emotional partner.” The covert/emotional incest lasted into my late 30’s.
As like most kids in high school, I experimented with alcohol and marijuana. While those were not my drugs of choice, I can see clearly that every time I drank or used, I had major consequences (i.e. had my stomach pumped).
College was uneventful as far as addiction as I was too focused on school and being an athlete. Once I graduated, my addiction took over. I didn’t live in the same state as my parents. I was able to convince them that I needed help for depression, not drugs. At this point, my family had no reason not to trust me. I went to my first treatment center at the age of 25 as I was convinced they could cure me of depression. By the age of 27, I had sold myself to the devil, smoking crack cocaine round the clock. I was arrested for drug possession, I lied and stole from everyone, and I prostituted myself for just one more hit of crack.
During the time I was in that first rehab, my parents learned about addiction and the benefits of getting involved with Al Anon – or at least my mother did.
My parents did everything they could think of to help – by putting me through numerous treatment programs, giving me money, helping me relocate, etc. At the age of 32, I begrudgingly agreed to go to a long-term residential program. The best thing my mother did was not talk to me for 6 months. While I know it was tough love, it felt like abandonment at times.
At that point, I had no internal motivation to change or to do the work necessary to stay sober. Whoever tells you that you have to want recovery in order to get sober, is absolutely wrong. I’m living proof of that!
I learned that as difficult as it was to hear, having a same sex support group willing to call me on my denial, the lies I tell myself and my irrational belief system was critical.
I used to hate going to 12-step meetings where members identified as “grateful recovering addicts.” I didn’t understand how anyone could be grateful that had a drug problem. Today, I understand it. I was a liar, cheat and a thief way before I knew about drugs and alcohol. If it wasn’t for this program, I would have continued on in negative behaviors. Alcoholics Anonymous taught me how to be honest and to be “happy, joyous and free.”
Recovery is a daily reprieve from active addiction. Over time, I have learned that I can do anything for just one day.
To start your recovery journey, please contact Valley Detox Center 24/7 at (888) 544-6049.