Breaking out of addiction is a journey – part 4

Finally making the right changes

Last week Bryan showed us how recovery doesn’t fit into “one size fits all.” A lot of the time it’s not the rehab – but the individual’s motivation and willingness that determine success. Today you’ll learn how a quality rehabilitation facility did help him change his outlook as he continues to share his experience and challenges of living a sober life.

It wasn’t until I got to a certain facility (which I can’t name here) that I started to feel differently about myself. I think most people don’t know how much rehab places vary from each other. Like anything else, the accommodations and programs available aren’t as great at cheaper places. It’s hard to gain any self-respect. And whereas I had done 12 step-based rehabs previously and gained a lot of insight through them; I decided to not return to those facilities. Maybe there was a different outlook that I needed to help me with my shortcomings. 

This rehab was a completely different place. It was literally a mansion compared to the others. In fact, just one hour after arriving, I called the individual who dropped me off. I was freaking out because it was so nice and I wasn’t sure if my insurance had actually paid for it.  I think a portion of this was feeling beneath it because it felt like a rehab that was meant for “big shots.” How could I need all these luxuries after I had successfully gotten sober in a psych ward? Yet the environment did help me stay longer than I had done in previous settings.

The biggest take away from this facility was how much of a caretaker I was, and how this prevented me from the growth I needed. Once I got into Intensive Out-Patient, my counselor mentioned how important preventative maintenance is in all areas, most specifically recovery. (With addiction, it’s easy to let small problems go until they become big problems.) I had to do preventative maintenance by dealing with problems when they were small in order to stay clean. 

One of the things you will hear in recovery is the need to put your recovery first. This also ties into the “the only thing you need to change is everything.” The job that I had after my dad had passed away (while I was homeless and using heroin) felt like home for the longest time. But when it came to a shift bid… I could finally see that even though I put my heart and soul into the company, there wasn’t a reciprocated feeling. This straw was needed to break the camels back because with the multiple leave of absences, I had felt forever in debt to them. Now realizing how unimportant I was allowed me to seek out a position elsewhere. I found a company where I finally felt a sense of community and wasn’t thinking about getting high all day to escape the rut.

Staying clean is a hard place to be and I have the pleasure of working on it on a daily basis. One of my favorite self-made quotes is that it’s hard to escape a shit-hole while living in a shit-hole. That’s why I am forever grateful for the sober living I found in this journey. It’s helped me build up a community and appreciate where I reside. 

Finally on this go-around, one of my “relapse prevention plans” was to find consistency in my step-work. It led me to working on the 4th step (list of all your resentments) which I had never wanted to do because I was always told how arduous it was. I decided to look at recovery as if it was a means of getting my next high/fix. I’d do anything to get my fix. Well this time around, it was time to apply that outlook on my life in recovery, and I now have the opportunity of helping others where I once was so delusional.

If there’s one thing I hope people get, it’s this. Getting sober has many challenges and requires a lot of effort. Even more important is that it’s a never-ending task and we are lucky to be able to work on it in our daily lives.


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