Today's post is the second in a series of articles about drug and alcohol addiction and recovery. It is a guest-post written by Constance Ray from Recovery Well. Constance says "My team and I recently created this site out of love and compassion for those who have been affected by addiction in some way. Of course, there are millions of people struggling with an addiction, but there are also many of us who have seen how debilitating addiction is by witnessing people we love endure it. That’s why we feel it’s important to give hope to those whose lives are being affected by substance use disorder, no matter what way that may be. Our first project with Recovery Well is a really special one: We’ve interviewed people in recovery who want to share their experiences in order to offer a ray of light to others." With this in mind, please enjoy Part Two of this Four-Part Addiction and Recovery Series...
"How long can I do this?": Recovering Addicts Share the Moment They Realized They Needed Help
Ask just about any recovering addict and they’ll tell you about their “Aha!” moment — the point in their substance abuse they realized treatment was no longer a question, but a necessity. For some it was looking into the mirror, while for others it was looking into the eyes of their concerned loved ones.
No matter how the moment arrived, there seemed to be a common conclusion: it saved their life.
Brandon was confronted by his family — and a harsh truth
Shortly after Brandon graduated from college, he began dabbling in the world of opioid painkillers. His habit quickly spiraled out of control, but because he was able to maintain his job, he convinced himself he was fine. Finally his family, tired of his denial, stepped in.
“They sat me down with my brother and my sister on Christmas Eve, and told me they were worried. I was doing more than they thought, and believed I needed help,” he recalled. “I didn’t know what to say. I was ashamed, embarrassed and disappointed. My little sister, who had always looked up to me was crying.”
Even so, Brandon was resistant to the idea of treatment … at first.
“But I thought about it and asked myself, ‘How long am I going to do this?’ I was exhausted all the time; it was all I could do to get through an eight-hour work day. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he said.
“A few days later, I sat down with my dad and told him I was going to rehab.”
John lost his job, but gained perspective
John’s addiction stretched over the course of a decade and peaked shortly after he found his brother dead of a cocaine overdose. From there, things escalated.
“I was working for a well-known company. I was drinking and taking various prescription pills to cope with my fear, anxiety and chronic pain,” he explained.
But John’s problem was more apparent to others than he realized, including his boss.
“One day, the CEO brought me into his office and told me, ‘You obviously need help. I can’t help you in the way that you need it. But I can let you go so you can find that help.’ I was fired,” John said.
John realized it was time to kick denial aside and come clean, then get clean:
“For the first time in my life, I had to be honest. I called my wife and told her, ‘I need help. I just got fired, and I need help.’”
After graduating from the Treehouse in Texas nearly a year ago, John is now happy, healthy and sober — and has never looked back.
Ryan had tried going to treatment to please others, but had to make the choice for himself
At the insistence of his parents and girlfriend, Ryan had completed an addiction treatment program half-heartedly. Soon, though, he was back to his old ways. His girlfriend kicked him out and told him she’d had enough.
Ryan drowned his sorrows in a bottle of liquor, but awoke the following day with clarity.
“The next morning, I was a quarter of the way through another bottle when I finally realized it. I thought, ‘Look at me right now. I’m an addict,’” he said.
His parents helped him check into a rehab facility where he was finally able to get clean.
We all face our own challenges, whether it’s a substance addiction or otherwise. What defines us is how we overcome it. It’s a lot of work, but in the end, we’re better for it.
As Ryan noted, “In recovery, each day, something happens to make my life more manageable. It’s not always easy. Some days it’s hard. But it’s so worth it.”
I hope you found today's article inspiring — I sure did! If you're interested in learning more, please check out what they're doing over at Recovery Well. Also, please share your opinions or personal stories of recovery in the comments section. Shared support makes us all stronger. Stay posted for Parts Three and Four of the Addiction & Recovery Series about how to find help for addiction and alternative activities to drinking/using. Thank you for reading and be well!