Finally Meeting My True Self

I\'ve heard many people purport to understand the psychology of addiction; but the fact is you can\'t really know what it\'s like until you\'re going through it. That old cliché, “this is your brain on drugs” is much more meaningful than people realize. No matter where I was or who I was with, I wanted cocaine. When I was having dinner with family, I wanted cocaine; when I was at a business meeting, cocaine; on a plane, train, bus or in my car…cocaine. What was really extraordinary was how different I\'d become in just three short months. I was never someone who “couldn\'t life without” anything until cocaine invaded my life.

In a matter of months, my cravings became my life. I trusted no one, not even myself. Normal interactions became impossible chores until I was forced to consider giving up my precious white powder. It was at this point that I learned the true difference between wishful thinking and reality. I lasted about a week before I realized that I couldn\'t function without coke. My hands were shaking, my head was on fire and my stomach was tied in knots. It felt like someone was taking a dull knife to my entire body. It became clear that I couldn\'t get clean alone.

I researched both outpatient and inpatient drug rehab in Florida, and mistakenly believed that I could get away with an outpatient option. I hadn\'t been doing coke for THAT long and it seemed like I could get some tips on how to stay clean and avoid relapsing. I treated my first attempt at rehab more like a consultation than actual treatment, and I got out of it exactly what I put into it…nothing. I quit two weeks out and went straight back to doing lines each night.

It wasn\'t long before everything was in jeopardy: my health, my job, my relationship…everything. I started getting serious about recovery when my situation became impossible to ignore. I knew that I didn\'t give 100% or even 10% percent of myself to treatment the first time, so I decided to look for inpatient drug rehab in Florida. I thought if I could just get away for a while and simply focus on getting clean, I\'d have a much better shot of getting it this time. Environment had been one of the biggest obstacles in staying clean, so if I could be strong enough to withstand that, I might be ok.

I entered a 30-day program, uncertain of what to expect; this month changed everything for me. I had issues related to my cocaine abuse that I never would have considered unless given the time and guidance to do so. In the end, my addiction turned out to be 99% mental. Detox was difficult, of course, but it wasn\'t nearly as hard as admitting certain ugly truths to myself. Nevertheless, I did the work and am a better man for it. I\'ve been clean for three consecutive years. My life is my own again. 

Shelia H.
Bealeton, VA