When I first came into the program, I would have said that being perfect and what others thought about me were the most important things. I was on the “isn’t-it-impressive” path; focused solely on making others proud and ensuring that I had their admiration. As far as appearances went, my life looked great and right on track; I had the corporate job, the boyfriend, the downtown apartment, etc. But in reality, I was miserable; the more I got and achieved, the most lost and alone I felt. I was so focused on becoming who I thought I was supposed to be that I never gave my authentic self a chance to shine. Being in recovery has given me the opportunity to embrace my true self. It has helped me let go of the “impressive” path and embrace my own, curvy, winding, bumpy road. Recovery has showed me that I don’t have to become one thing; that life isn’t a matter of “what do you want to be when you grow up.” I have come to realize that in my life, I want to continue to grow and become many things. I want to be sober, healthy, happy, a mother, a friend, a traveler, an adventurer, a reader, a professional, a student of life, a runner, etc. The beauty of life and of my future is that the list is never-ending.
Every day I grow stronger in my spirituality and in my sobriety. I grow more grateful each day of where I am now and for all of the small things in my life, which helps me to open my heart to embrace myself, others and life on life’s terms. Walking a path of aligning my morals and values with my behaviors has allowed me to become my best self. I feel a sense of true freedom remembering the true person I am inside without trying to fill myself up with external things and distractions. I am so grateful that I do not have to live the way I was before in order to feel good. I have realized that I have every ounce of strength and comfort that I need right inside of me and I don’t need to run away from anything anymore. I have felt happiness, belonging and love for the first time and it was as simple as working on myself from the inside and taking positive actions. Now I can contribute to life rather than take from it.
Sobriety has taught me the importance of love. Without love, connection, and community life has no meaning. Love makes sobriety enjoyable. Having people to share your experience strength and hope with helps us to know who we are. I learned that even though it can be really scary to love people, it is scarier to live a life of loneliness and disconnection. It is scarier to live my life behind a wall of sadness then it is to put myself out there and be vulnerable. Vulnerability creates connection. Connection creates community.
I just started working again and I have really been reflecting on what type of employee I was in my addiction. I would always show up to work loaded or hung over. I would sneak off to the bathroom every shift so I could maintain my high so I would be able to just sit through work. I would call out and lie about what I was doing. I really didn’t show up for my employers and the people that counted on me. I wasn’t taking care of my financial responsibilities and that caused a lot of suffering because addiction is pricey and when I wasn’t able to pay for the goods I would get them other ways. I’ve been reflecting on the struggles I had when I was an employee and I’m really grateful for way I show up for myself and for my responsibilities. Its been stressful and really scary being the new kid at work, but I have constant support and love from everyone here to help me and guide me to success.
The best thing I’ve experienced in my time here at Canyon is the community. The girls here are all very caring and supportive which really helped me adjust and feel more at home. The staff truly cares about my recovery and help in ways I never thought possible. I’ve only been here a few weeks and I absolutely love it and I wouldn’t want to work on my recovery anywhere else nor with anyone else.
My first rehab I didn’t plan on getting sober. For the past 3 years it had been me and my brother against the world. I didn’t know who I was without him and my all my validation came from him. My addiction started to branch off from his and I dug my hole a little a deeper as time went on. I was in the middle of my senior year in high school. I either didn’t show up to school or I was late. I was spending all my time and money on my addiction and my brother. For a long time they filled that void that I could not do myself. But one day it just stopped working. My depression got severe, I couldn’t get out of bed, I fantasized about suicide everyday, I couldn’t stop hurting myself. I just couldn’t live my life. Not many people knew about my using. My therapist suggested treatment for my depression and I agreed. I thought “this is gonna be great, I get to work on myself and all the crazy thoughts will go away.” I didn’t know it was treatment for substance abuse until my roommate told me she was an addict. AA meetings were mandatory and I found myself relating to a lot of what people said but I still didn’t want give up the life I had. I didn’t realize that my depression was made worse by my using but when I figured that out I was more than willing to stop. I left treatment happy and full of life. I was so eager to change. I started going to IOP and participating, I felt good. But then my depression came back. I was still stuffing my feelings and my cravings to use. Even though I wasn’t active in my addiction I was still riding along drug deals, acting out in my process addictions, hanging around my brother and our friends while they were using and drinking. I wasn’t working a program and I didn’t have any kind of spirituality. I couldn’t understand that these were the causes of my depression. I thought I was at the choice of getting high or killing myself. I knew I wasn’t okay and that I had to get help but I didn’t know how to ask. I went back to my pretending that I could handle everything on my own. The excuses of this is my recovery and my parents should let me do it on my own, only I know what’s best for me. But soon I couldn’t fake it anymore. Asking for help saved my life.