Here is a story from a contributing blogger. Their information is at the bottom if you wanted to learn more.
“The light within is a quiet source of truth and guidance. The key is to be still and know. If I am quiet for just a moment and listen and wait, the inner wisdom reveals the next indicated step.” – Robert, Addiction Survivor
Addiction is one of the greatest struggles someone could ever face. Not only does it wreak havoc on our bodies, but it turns our own minds against us by fooling us into thinking we can’t survive without the very substances that are destroying us. The silver lining is that there is always help available to those who are lost in their addictions, but there’s a catch: you must want to get better in order to heal.
Dean’s inspiring story demonstrates just how important this mindset is — and proves that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long the journey there may be.
After moving from one end of the world to another when he was only seven, Dean did whatever he could not to feel like an outsider. Unfortunately, this often led him to make some destructive decisions.
“I was always trying to find a way to fit in,” he remembered. “Around the time I was 12 or 13, I started drinking alcohol and smoking weed. I spent years of my life as a pothead.”
He was hit hard when his parents decided to get divorced, and he started using even more dangerous drugs in order to cope.
“My friends started taking Roxycontin, Oxycontin,” he said. “I remember the very first time that I tried it. I wish I could go back to that first day and tell myself what was going to happen to me if I took that pill. I had no prior knowledge about opiates and didn’t realize how addictive they were. I became addicted really quickly.”
After six months, though, Dean realized he was on a dangerous path, and he sought treatment. Unfortunately, he didn’t yet have the mindset he needed in order to face his addiction issues.
He admitted, “At that time, I really didn’t believe I was an addict. I relapsed pretty quickly after that experience.”
He reached out for help again and re-entered treatment with a fresh perspective — but even that didn’t last.
“My second time in rehab was a three-month inpatient rehab. It was really intense. I had almost two years of sobriety after that: I was following the steps and had a sponsor — but I didn’t follow through.”
When he hit another difficult period, his addicted brain once again took over the part of his mind that knew he needed to take better care of himself.
“Around 12 months into my sobriety, my parents were going through another divorce,” he said. “Around my 18-month milestone, I stopped using the program I built for myself. I started telling myself, ‘I’m not a real addict. I can beat this.’ So, I started drinking and smoking weed again with the help of an unhealthy relationship I had with a girl. Within a few months, I was doing heroin again, too.”
Despite his struggles, Dean persisted — he knew he had to get help, and no matter how many times he fell, he realized he had to keep trying. He reached out to several different facilities, but his past experiences with rehab taught him that he needed something a little more unique, something that would treat his addiction with a holistic, rather than simply medical, approach.
That’s when he learned about adventure therapy, and found a place that offered this unique treatment and could start treating him immediately. Using a blend of individual and group therapy as well as activities like hiking and ziplining, he finally learned the skills he now knows he was missing all along.
“I learned balance,” he said. “I obviously had been in programs before, but at [this rehab center], I learned that a balance of my mind, body and spirit was the key to unlock my brain. I know the 12 steps and the rooms of AA and NA — I know the song and dance to acquire ‘clean time.’ But I was working 12-, 16-, 18-hour shifts — often times 14 days in a row without a day off. My mind, body and spirit were unbalanced, which pushed me into a depression, and that let me slip back into my addiction after almost having two years clean. [This facility] opened my eyes to what life can be like in balance.”
Dean feels that it all came down to changing his mindset.
“I learned that I was putting up a lot of roadblocks in my life: things like, ‘I can’t do this,’ ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘I’m not smart enough.’”
Now, he puts what he learned into practice every day.
“I stick to my balanced program: mind, body and spirit,” he explained. “I keep those three things in mind and I do what I need to do to fulfill those needs. I go to meetings, I go to the gym, I talk to other people in the program, I connect with other alumni on Facebook.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t be afraid to get help. As Dean proved, there is no shame in falling a few times as long as you get back up each time. Sometimes, it’s as simple as having a changed mindset, a renewed perspective — and a genuine willingness to get back on the right path.
Constance Ray started Recoverywell.org with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it. The goal is to share stories of hope from survivors who know that the fight against addiction is one worth having, because no matter how it affects you, life can get better.