Like most girls my age, I’ve always felt the urge to fit in and be accepted by my peers. This combined with my addictive personality is the reason I was sent to your typical drug and alcohol rehab at the age of 18. At this point, neither my parents nor I had ever heard of dual diagnosis treatment, and we were not told about it during my failed attempts at traditional drug and alcohol rehab. My drug and alcohol problems were directly related to wanting to be popular and fit in at my school with the cool kids who were always partying. Having no confidence in my looks, emotional security, and social aptitude early on in high school, I remember telling myself that I’ll have to do whatever it takes to impress the “cool” crowd. Cigarettes, weed, liquor, and hosting weekend parties was the route I chose, and just as I hoped, I began to carve myself a niche in the adolescent social scene. This was easier than I thought; since my folks were never home, I constantly had people calling and texting asking to come by and hang out, and it felt great to be finally accepted.
Over the next few years my intake of booze, prescription drugs, weed, cigs, and whatever else I could get my hands on was growing like a snowball rolling downhill, and getting my “friends” respect and approval the whole time only amplified my reckless party girl persona. My grades were the first to go downhill, but after a couple years I realized even my relationships with friends were deteriorating. My means of binging and partying to make friends eventually became the end itself, replacing the entire desire to even have friends whatsoever. All the effort I exerted to smoke one more cigarette or do one more nitrous balloon than everyone else not only turned me into the laughing stock of the school, but also exercised my dependence and desire for drugs.
By the time my parents noticed their watered down liquor, my failing grades, and the constantly damaged house, I was in a state of drug-induced depression that made me feel lonelier than I ever thought possible. I had already lost the will to be anything more productive than a substance scavenging couch potato, smoking, drinking, and snorting whatever came her way. My parents did research online and wanted me to try a treatment center that specialized in dual diagnosis. They told me about a place they found a place in Florida that specialized in dual diagnosis treatment called Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches. As diluted as my judgment was at the time, I still realized that anything couldn’t hurt to make me feel better than I did and maybe it was even something that could pull me out of the miserable hole I had myself dug into.
I learned during my dual diagnosis treatment at Behavioral Health that my general abuse of substances was directly related to my lack of self-esteem, my genetic disposition to depression, and my addictive personality that fueled my rapidly increasing drug abuse. As I put the pieces together I was shocked to realize how all of these personality traits were the underlying cause for my behavior, and so relieved that there were people who actually cared enough to analyze and help me overcome my situation. I also learned from my dual diagnosis treatment that understanding the problem instead of acting impulsively and emotionally on it is half the battle. I recently celebrated my 21st birthday, and I am still as sober as the day I left Behavioral Health. The coping skills I developed there have allowed me to accept my shortcomings, overcome the obstacles in my life, and, most importantly, stay clean.