When I was given this assignment, I was sure that it was going to be something that would be a waste of my time, which is very valuable to me nowadays. I didn’t want to sit down and write anything, I haven’t in years, but as I began to start jotting things down, what my clean story would be, I realized that this is far from a waste of my time. “My clean story”…I thought to myself. I am happy to have a clean story, proud, amazed, grateful and joyous! These are things that I do not often say out loud, but I should. I know far too many others who never got the chance, or even stopped to think about giving themselves the chance, to create any other story than one of pain and suffering, and struggle. I am happy to say that I do not feel the need to go into gory detail about all of the horrible stuff that I did during my active addiction, all of the loved ones and innocent bystanders, who I’ve hurt (not just a little, but a lot of pain) over and over. I do not have to beat myself up over them, or feel alone and sick ever again.
I guess my clean story starts when I hit my personal rock bottom. I finally went to jail, with some serious federal felonies. Luckily I was able to enter a jail / rehab type facility, completed that, and was sentenced to 6 months house arrest and 5 years of federal probation. I was introduced to my parole officer. I hadn’t really ever met another woman like her. She had this presence about her, an utterly intimidating presence to be honest. She was the most intelligent woman I had ever met and had a conversation with. When I look back it, she really did help me in so many ways, thinking about my choices being one of the biggest. But is wasn’t because of my being on probation and the obvious reasons that I shouldn’t screw up, it was that she really had an effect on the way I was starting to think about things.
Of course, this was at the end of 2009, and I still had a long way to go. I did stay clean for 3 years. At the end of 2012, still on probation of course, my girlfriend and I had a 3-4 month stint of using. When I went down, I went far and quickly. What other way is there, right?! I had 4 dirty UA’s in 2 months or something and violated my probation. Then I found out that I was going to be a father. I checked myself into a 28 day treatment center in the local general hospital. With my P.O. very disappointed, but still rooting for me, I was able to go live in a half-way house, as punishment for my violation. I gladly accepted, knowing that was the right choice. My girlfriend struggled with my decision. She was pregnant with our son. I was in the half-way house for over 7 months. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days. I listened, I shared and I listened some more. I watched my room mates at the half-way house succeed and go back out at the drop of a hat. I kept going to meetings and kept listening.
My son was born while I was still living in the half-way house. My girlfriend relapsed shortly before I was to be released. I couldn’t control my anger, but I stayed as strong as I could. The 3 of us moved into an apartment together and I suggested we find an addiction doctor – which we did in January of 2014. I know it was and still is the best route for me. During this time I had also given up smoking cigarettes and found what is now my passion and hobby, vaping. I hadn’t felt so strongly, or interested in anything in so long! It felt good. I continued to build my knowledge in my head and then decided to start building my own gear as well. I began to sell the mods that I built, first in my own town and then all over the country and even a few outside the U.S. But I would still be sitting at my work bench for what seemed like days at a time, especially to my girlfriend who was still dealing with her own stuff. Maybe I didn’t realize it because vaping was making me so happy, other things were starting to slip away. Then one morning, my son and my girlfriend and most of their stuff was gone. She had left in the early hours of the morning and taken my son all the way across the country. Gone.
I stayed strong for quite some time. When I spoke to her she assured me that she loved me, that she wanted us to have a life together in Washington. I am a strong man, but there is only so much that one can take and I did succumb to my sadness and I used. But it wasn’t the same and I wasn’t the same. That relapse did not last long. 2 months after, I packed all of my things and left all of my family and friends and everything I have ever known, walked onto a plane for the first time and flew to be with my son and his mother to start this new chapter. I have been here almost a year now and it’s been a bumpy road, but I have accomplished many things, and I have every right to pat myself on the back. I know that I still have work to do and will always be working on myself, but right now, I am proud to even have a good beginning to my “clean story”.
THE INTEGRA HEALTH DRUG TESTIMONIALS
Today is my first group. I have just begun to again realize this journey is one that will take the help of many people including the staff and participants at Integra Health. With hard work and dedication to my sobriety I know my life and other lives around me will improve.
What I have learned is that looking for and using drugs took all my time and energy. When my husband and I chose to get clean we contacted Integra Health for an appointment to be screened to see if we could have a sober life. When we joined the program, I was still using but made the decision to stop and get serious about being clean. I have been clean for about 9 weeks now and plan to stay clean for the rest of my life. I love my family and they need me. Coming to group at Integra Health helps me to stay clean.
Integra Health helps me find my path. I could never see how to get past my negatives. Integra Health helps me to see different paths to life without using.
I found this place by accident looking for a way to help me get sober. I can’t explain in words the great life changing blessing that it has been. Everybody has become instant family and nobody is judged because we have all been addicts and we all have a life and we all want this change. And my counselor…he is the best! My doctor tells me to remember that I am good, wise, strong and kind. I write this down every day to remind myself that I am alive and human.
Integra Health has given me a different and new way of thinking. New ways of dealing with anxiety, stress and emotions in a more positive way. Life is good and full of smiles. We have the best counselor ever! He is so easy to talk to and makes everything so fun and enjoyable. I never thought recovery could be so great until I came here!
Integra Health is different than all other places I’ve received treatment. Here it’s not mandatory to work a 12-Step Program. Prior to Integra Health I’ve only been involved with 12-Step based in and out-patient facilities. At Integra Health, 12-Step programs are not the only way to maintain sobriety.
I came to Integra Health a few months ago to change my ways and to be in a group with other young addicts who are also willing to be free and honest about recovery and sobriety. I have found myself in bad spots hanging with the wrong crowds when I was younger and in school. I never thought about the future when I was skipping class and getting loaded and chilling with the wrong people. I’m now clean and clear-headed and a working tax payer. A few months ago, I despised all that and told myself I wasn’t worth employment. It wasn’t true. I just wasn’t ready to change my ways. Integra Health has showed me tools that work – if you work them!!