If there’s one thing that’s true about my addiction, it’s that it broke me down. Mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, you name it: addiction took its toll on me. At the end, my mental health was in shambles. I was barely capable of human interaction and living more like an animal than a human being. Physically, I was a wreck too. I was out of shape and ended up getting an injury while intoxicated that put me in the hospital for weeks. I’ll carry those scars with me the rest of my life. I couldn’t hold a job, and I was so dead broke I could no longer afford to pay rent, buy food, or pay for my drug habit. In hindsight, that last one may have been my biggest motivator for change. At the end, I was so broken there was almost nothing left of me. So, for once, after years of nothing, I decided to try something different. I decided to take action.
It would be a lie if I told you that things got better right away. For me, recovery was a long and rocky road, especially early on. But things started to change when I made that decision. The first order of business was going to treatment. I had burned the vast majority of my bridges, but I still had some family members who were willing to help, so I reached out to them and they helped me get into inpatient treatment. This didn’t even come close to solving my problems, but it helped me start to smooth out some of my rougher edges. It gave me a little bit of clean time and showed me how to live like a normal person with other normal people. It had been so long, I had almost forgotten how to do it.
I wish I could say I stayed clean after treatment, but that would be a lie, too. But things did start to improve for me. I moved into sober living, found gainful employment, and started to take my life in a positive direction. Obviously, I ended up going back out, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I knew deep down that I had made the right decision when I decided to change. It made it impossible for me to enjoy a good high anymore. Eventually, I found myself back in the rooms of recovery, however reluctantly it might have been.
There was still a lot of work left to do, but at this point, things were in motion. I started to reap the rewards of a good life, and that made it a lot easier to keep taking the right actions. I ended up going back to school and getting a much better job. I got the opportunity to be in charge of something and help others who had gone through what I had (me, helping people. Can you believe it?). As I started taking more and more right actions and doing what I was supposed to be doing, things got better and better for me. My life is so good today that I barely recognize it in comparison to where I was five years ago. Things have changed for me, and I’ve been given the amazing gift of long-term recovery. All I had to do was take action.