I entered rehab on May 13, 2013. I’m just realizing now that this might be looked as a very unlucky date as it has the number 13 in it twice, but for me it was one of the luckiest days of my life. It gave me a second chance at life.
Entering rehab was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I didn’t want to go, but at that point in my life, it was the only choice I had if I wanted to continue to live. I was home for over a week between leaving the hospital in Florida, and entering rehab in Pennsylvania. In all honesty, I was hoping that I could somehow find a way to get out of going, but in the end I knew there was no other choice but to confront my issue with alcohol.
Before entering, I spoke with a close friend who had completed a rehab program about a year prior, and she made me feel much better about going. She said it was tough, but she came to like it and by the end she was sad to being saying goodbye to the friends she’d made.
When I checked into the facility, an old mansion with beautiful grounds, I was scared but ready to move forward with my life. My mom and I met with the intake counselor who asked me some questions, and then my mom went on her way. I didn’t cry, but I was sad to see my mom go as I wasn’t sure what was next.
After my luggage was searched, I was introduced to my buddy, a 19 year old named Meghan. She immediately asked me what my DOC was. My DOC? I replied. She said yes, your drug of choice. I answered alcohol, and she then went on to tell me that she’d been in and out of rehab multiple times since she was 14. Her DOC was anything and everything she could get her hands on, most recently crack. I was shocked! Where was I? Was I supposed to be in with people who used hardcore drugs like crack? I tried to play it cool, but wondered if I’d made a huge mistake.
I was placed in the detox unit even though I’d been sober for ten days. Apparently it was protocol, which I actually didn’t mind since I had a room to myself. I attended the sessions and was overwhelmed by the different people in the program. There were men and women of all ages and backgrounds. This facility had nationally recognized programs for doctors and pharmacists with addictions, as well as a specialized program for law enforcement workers. The men and women were kept in separate wings because fraternizing was forbidden. We did come together for morning and afternoon meetings as well as recess where we could play games and go outside -weather permitting. All of the women I met were friendly, and many of them had been in rehab programs multiple times, which seemed like hell to me.
I was still questioning whether or not I would survive a full month in this place since I really didn’t feel like I could relate to many of the people there. On my second night, another woman was placed in my room with me in the detox unit. Her name was Kate, and she ended up being my saving grace.
Kate was 37 and pregnant, but we were very much alike. Her family had pressured her to enter a program because she was pregnant, but besides that she didn’t think she really had a problem. I had more in common with Kate then any of the other woman in the facility. We had similar senses of humor, and were able to laugh about being in there with all these crazy addicts. The main difference was that Kate didn’t consider herself an alcoholic and I did. My rock bottom was so bad, that I knew I literally would die if I drank again. Kate on the other hand, had not hit her bottom quite yet, but she would in time.
I am a big believer in the fact that people come in and out of your life for certain reasons, and Kate came into my life to help me get through rehab. We became very good friends and were lucky enough to be placed in a room together when we were done with detox. We talked late into the night about our lives and how we ended up here. We also laughed about the situation we were currently in, and wondered how the hell things got so bad that we were sleeping in twin beds as grown women.
If you go to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, you’ll hear many people say that AA is the only thing an alcoholic needs to become and stay sober. I do not agree with this. I think AA is one avenue that works for some people, but for me this was not the case. I tried AA when I first attempted getting sober, but I needed to go to rehab to really learn about my addiction. Before rehab, I didn’t understand that alcoholism is a disease. It is a mental health illness that cannot be controlled by sheer will power. I cannot speak for others, but for me personally I had to really understand that alcoholism was in my make up, and that I have no control over the effects it has on my body. Coming to this realization was my biggest takeaway from rehab.
I do believe that AA is a great option for maintaining sobriety, as I still attend AA meetings occasionally. I have recently found podcasts to be a very helpful tool in maintaining my sobriety as well. I personally enjoy the Bubble Hour: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bubblehour – a webcast where women share their personal stories of alcoholism and becoming sober. I’ve also found yoga to be an important part of my recovery. I started taking a pilates/yoga class when I got out of rehab and then continued my yoga practice which has helped me learn to meditate, as well as take time for myself to heal.
I believe that recovery is a very personal thing, so there is not a one size fits all solution. If you think you might have an addiction, I encourage you to really think about yourself and research what options might work best for you. There are so many resources on the internet that can be helpful, but i will say the first step is at least seeing what is out there, and then maybe reaching out to someone. I wish I had done that a lot sooner than I did, so please contact me as I’m very open to helping others.