It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. –Aristotle Onassis
I have been back and forth about the following series of posts I am about to write (so obviously you know which way I decided). On the one hand, I believe describing the events that led me into recovery is helpful for me personally, so I will always remember from whence I came. Plus, as any recovery program will attest, sharing my experience, strength and hope will benefit the people around me as well (at least I hope it will).
On the other hand, and I cannot stress this part strongly enough, I have two different kinds of readers of this blog: the community I have come to know and love, and the readers who have known and have loved me my whole life. It is to this second group I am making the following statement: the next several posts will be rough reading for you. I am going to write candidly here about what is was like before I came into recovery. If you want to read on, please do so at your own risk.
I am going to start my series of bottoms when I first attempted recovery. By the end of this week, if you have read all of my posts, it will be as if you have come to an AA meeting where I was the guest speaker. I took the first step of my journey to recovery in the winter of 2011. I believe it was sometime in February when my husband sat me down and said he knew there was something wrong with me, but he couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I believe at the time I blamed it on winter blues, mixed in with some sadness because it was around the anniversary of my Father’s death (of course, he had been dead for 19 years, but hey, I can still be sad, right?). The reality was that I was abusing prescription pills, basically, anything I could get my hands on. It had started with back problems, and a referral to a pain management specialist a few years before, but by this point had escalated… basically, if you told me it was addictive, I wanted to take it. At this point I had a vague sense that what I was doing was none too smart, but my rationalization was if it was legitimately prescribed for me, then how bad could it really be?
This particular bottom (and there will be more) culminated in April of 2011, when my husband got a more definitive grasp (though still not complete) of the nature of my problem; namely, prescription drugs. He insisted I get help, and so I sought out treatment in an outpatient rehab near my house. I actually completed that treatment, at least according to their paperwork, although I’m not sure how they could have, in good faith, let me “graduate.” Because I was nowhere near accepting my disease in any way, shape or form.
Here’s what I was able to accomplish during that 6-week period. Going into that treatment program, I was regularly abusing 3 different types of prescription drugs, in addition to drinking on a regular basis. So my thought process at that point was: okay, there is clearly a problem, and the problem is doing way too many different things. Why not control it by eliminating what is not necessary or fun? Alcohol, oddly enough, was the first to go, particularly because it caused me the most problems (if I had one glass of wine, the entire world knew it). Next in line were what I would consider “extraneous” prescription drugs… the drugs I took because I was told they were “relaxing,” when in fact they did absolutely nothing for me. That left what I have come to realize was my drug of choice, prescription pain pills. At this time I had a regular, legitimate prescription waiting for me each and every month, and the idea of giving that up was as foreign to me as the idea of giving up water… simply not an option. So I gave up everything else, but the one drug, and thought, alright, then, I am cured. I will just narrow it down to one vice, how bad could it get?
We can all see where this is going, too bad I didn’t… Stay tuned for the next bottom…
There are two: having the courage to write this down, and that someone has read far enough to get to this section!