I was born and raised in Orange County and grew up in a Christian household. I had been around the church as long as I can remember. At a young age I didn’t understand religion, especially with my parents arguing and fighting all of the time. Being the youngest of three children, I became exposed to the differences in family dynamics between my family and my siblings as we got older. There happened to be a lot of blaming, secrets, and hypocrisy as I later discovered going into high school. I was not a very good student in comparison to my siblings. School was frustrating and difficult for me. My parents didn’t seem to understand, and at the same time, neither did I. I started struggling with school in third grade. I stated rebelling at a young age and began to experiment with drugs and alcohol. By sixteen, I was using “heavy” drugs. I was an athletic kid, but began hanging out with the wrong crowd after making me feel accepted. I have used drugs and alcohol for about ten years. I would steal to get my fix, occasionally overdose to find myself revived, and hurt my family repeatedly all in the process to keep up with my addiction. The vicious cycle of being constantly in and out of treatment, for me, was worse than jail! However, after all, it was treatment that helped conquer my obsession of wanting and needing to use drugs. I found that I benefited most with the help of Salina and South Orange County Detox and Treatment. The intimate setting helps me deal with core issues. They helped me pursue some of my biggest dreams and find lost passion. I have a relationship with my family again, and most of all, gained hope in the process. My progress only continues, and for this I am grateful.
The ultimatum is life or death. Years of painful experience had finally led me to complete desperation. . I had finally hit rock bottom in every sense of the word. I’m a 22-year-old honors student, drug-addict, and alcoholic with a strong affinity for whiskey, heroin, and meth. At the cusp of defeat and an impending death, I had come to the realization that I would ironically have to fight for my life by surrendering completely
It’s all fun and games until, suddenly, it’s not anymore. When using drugs habitually, this is when things get tragically real and very, very dark. After graduating high school with a cumulative 4.2 GPA, honors, and a scholarship to a university, celebratory partying seemed only necessary; I mean, everyone was doing it. So alcohol and marijuana was an occasional party staple I would partake in. Then, rather quickly, party drugs like ecstasy and “Molly” showed up to the party. Now, with the gate wide open, I was open-minded to cocaine and prescription pills of all sorts, first taken orally and then snorted. Long story short, methamphetamine and heroin became a habitual thing, accepted thing by the newfound sketchy group of characters one gravitates to at this point in addiction. And they were cheaper, stronger, and even more so when done intravenously.
These events of my drug use did not transpire in a linear fashion. The rate at which the drugs increased in their strength, danger, and frequency of use was exponential. Inversely, the quality of my life decreased exponentially. I lost possessions. I lost friends. I lost family. I was left with nothing but a shell of myself, dope-sick, broke and contemplating suicide out of shame and guilt. Terrified of another withdrawal and seizure along with the strong influence of my parents, the only people with some faith in me left, I checked myself into South Orange County Detox. Little did I know that this place, the director of SOCD and everyone involved would save my life and help to transform it into something truly beautiful.
But after my first two months, my old unhealthy lifestyle and behavior started to make me overconfident in a detrimental way. Naïve during my first time trying to get sober, I did not see the signs of a relapse. Unbeknownst to me, relapse is a deceivingly slippery slope.
I went out with this new girl I honestly knew nothing about, with distasteful intentions, and ended up relapsing on alcohol and methamphetamine almost immediately. The truly terrifying thing to me afterwards was how quickly I threw my sobriety away when I tried to have control over drug use in my life. For the first time in my life, all of the clichés I heard at AA meetings made complete sense to me. An alcoholic or drug addict cannot control and manage his or her life while doing drugs. And I realized then that I am completely an alcoholic and a drug addict. An unfortunate but necessary relapse showed me true powerlessness and allowed me to finally begin true recovery for the sake of myself.
The purpose of all of this, the solution I am trying to convey ultimately boils down to willingness. Willingness is to be able to accept powerlessness and management over my life when using drugs and alcohol. Following this, the next step for me was to be willing and open to filling the void of this powerlessness with a power greater than myself: my Higher Power as I understand him. I am now at the point in my recovery and sobriety where I finally have a deep spiritual connect with something inconceivably greater, unfathomable, and omnipresent that I can instill trust and faith into. I am willing and I have faith that I have a purpose and, for today, I will remain sober and cherish the life I was given.
Life isn’t always easy or consistent. Recovery definitely can be hard at times. One thing that has been crucial in my road to recovery is learning not to take myself so seriously. Learning to enjoy life and have a good laugh has been one of the most amazing things. At times this means even laughing at myself, which is something I had to learn to do. Laughter is a healing medicine that is so powerful that it’s hard to describe at times. Its helped me to learn to relax and take it easy. It’s contagious and can spread so easily if we don’t hold back. It’s a beautiful thing.
Laughter- the best medicine. When you’re unhappy as much as you don’t want to laugh, it alleviates so much tension. The chemicals it releases imitates the closest thing to a high from drugs, which is what a lot of us crave. Laughter always brings people closer together even if you aren't close. In my addiction it was so dark and sad, laughter was an uncommon occurrence. If anything it was fake laughter in an attempt to feel normal and put on a mask for others, maybe not to let people see the pain I’m really feeling. When I got sober, laughter felt so uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I wasn’t sure what the feeling was that was bubbling out of me. Was it okay to feel this? Sadness and depression is so much easier. When I got to the rooms and saw others doing so with such ease, I felt this weight lifted and this new happy and free way of life followed.
It’s important to have laughter in your life. Laughter just makes you happy, even if something isn’t funny and you are having a bad day, force yourself to laugh at nothing. For some reason, it makes me feel better. In recovery, everyone makes mistakes. When I do, I know I get really hard on myself and I beat myself up. It took me a long time to find this out, but being able laugh at yourself and learn from your mistakes is the only way to fully grow in my life, at least. Laugh with others, not at others is an important rule to remember. Encourage others to use this tool, it can’t hurt, it could only make things better.
In the misery of addiction, I told myself “I don’t deserve love”. “I’m not worthy of love”. “I’ll never be happy”. You see, I thought that love had to be earned. I convinced myself that I had to be worthy of it or deserving of it, and so my happiness was tied to this belief. My self-satisfaction came from my ability to earn love. I told myself I was not deserving of love, therefore I wasn't deserving of happiness. Despite my efforts, I could never "earn" or experience the love that I so deeply desired.
I know today that love isn't earned, It’s given. In Sobriety, through my new pair of eyes, I can see that I, myself, made it hard to see love. Maybe my dad didn’t know how to say it, but it was there. Maybe my mom was shouting it, but my own demons were too loud for me to hear. I was blind to love because I had lost the love for myself. Who was I before life started to happen? Who was I before I began to live in this drug filled illusion? As a kid, I just remember feeling, It was something that just flowed. It was the times of jumping on the bed laughing or when I would play catch with my mom or dad with the baseball. Love wasn’t discovering anything or anyone else, it was all about discovery ME. Once I discovered my true self in sobriety, I discovered love. It was then that I realized the very thing that I desired was something I have the ability to give to others.
Now, I am able to experience love, because I have it in me. I give it to strangers, I give it to friends who are still struggling with addiction, I give it to others in pain; to enemies, to those who left me, those who couldn’t stay, and to those who’ve forgotten how to find it. Love was always there.. Love is in all of us...When we are able to discover love, we become what we are meant to be, together.
Shame is such negative word. “Shame on you” is something no one wants to hear. It brings up feelings that so many of us relate to our childhood. For me, I don’t only feel as if I have done something wrong, but even worse, I have disappointed the ones I love, and I've felt like I was morally defective. Addiction brings with it so much shame. The lying, the sneaking, and the hiding all fuels the fires of shame. What I have learned here at South Orange County Detox and Treatment is that I can have healthy remorse over my actions but I don’t have to live in shame which is usually the number one reason for relapse in my case. I'm also learning that one of the keys to success in recovery is emotional sobriety. Understanding what makes me tick and turning my life around so instead of getting stuck in the shame and failure I can get on with the process of forgiving myself. The greatest thing to hear is “I am proud of you”. I intend to replace shame with pride so I can lead and healthy productive life.
Word of the Week: Awakening
Trying to find meaning in my life and in my existence recently helped me to realize that I’ve been abandoning my ideal, beliefs, and morals. Reminiscing and remembering my dreams, hopes, and visions as a child and the way I’ve been acting against those ideals led me to contemplate the meaning of why I’m here and what I have to offer. After realizing how poorly I’ve been treating others and myself, I’ve been struggling with the guilt and shame associated with my actions. I’ve had a sort of awakening of which I haven’t experienced before. Call it a spiritual awakening if you will. Since that experience, I’ve been trying to think, act, feel, and talk with purpose in hopes of attaining those hopes, dreams, and visions I had as a child
Holding onto resentments binds us from emotional liberation. As addicts, we have developed a psychological comfortability with certain disruptive behaviors. Living in distress becomes second nature. We must learn to reprogram our way of thinking through positive affirming actions. Remember, RESENT is the word PRESENT without the 'P". We must learn to not RESENT others, and PRESENT our anger to God, as a gift for our own personal freedom so that we can live in forgiveness and peace that we all so deserve.