Here I am, in my 37th year of life and my fifth year of sobriety, and I couldn’t be more grateful. They say that time is the great equalizer; that it heals all wounds and has the power to make everything right. For a while, it looked like it was going the other way for me. It was as though I was determined to die young. I tried practically every drug, besides heroin, but my main love was always cocaine. Yes, cocaine; that magical white powder that could the turn the mundane into the extraordinary. It also has the power to turn a healthy and functioning young adult into a mentally unstable mess with a heart condition and insomnia.
It turns out the candle doesn’t burn so well at both ends, and before I knew it, I was looking mortality square in the face. By the time I was 31 years old, I had overdosed twice and actually flat-lined once. There’s nothing quite like a brush with death to help you appreciate life (I’m not recommending it, but that’s the truth). After I left the hospital, on strong recommendations from my physician, I went to an outpatient Florida drug rehab center. I gave it my best shot, but the temptation to use again was just too much. Three weeks after I entered, I found myself going into my pocket to buy more coke.
After some serious thought about what it would mean for my future, my career and my life, I talked to a friend about going to inpatient rehab. She was very supportive, although surprised to hear that the problem was so serious–I guess I had fooled just about everyone. Before I could talk myself out of it, I made arrangements to check into a Florida drug rehab center that offered residential drug treatment we had found together. I don’t know if I was ever more vulnerable or unsure about anything in my life up to this point, but I gathered my courage, bit the bullet and made the commitment.
I’ll admit, at first I was racked with a sense of panic that almost sent me screaming into the night. Not only did part of me see rehab as a threat to my continued cocaine bliss, I also didn’t know what kind of person I was going to become after this experience. Outside of cocaine addiction, I liked the person I was and didn’t want to change. I soon learned that as much as you fight it, addiction treatment makes change inevitable and that there is absolutely no danger or shame in self-improvement. I completed my program in thirty days and was never the same, and didn’t really want to be.
So now we come back to me being grateful; not only that I was able to recognize that I had to get help or to God for giving me a THIRD chance, but also to the people at my program for recognizing just how much I was hurting and doing the best they could to help me. This is one situation, where their best, was certainly good enough.