Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
I Quit Using Drugs But I Wasn’t Ready for This!
My first clean and sober day was spent in a treatment center. After a nasty 10 year drug habit, I was finally (and reluctantly) getting the help I needed. I was so afraid. Everything I loved was on the other side of the rehabs front door. Drugs, my kids, drugs, my spouse, drugs, my family, drugs, my friends, drugs and more drugs.
My intentions were good. I was going to clean up, detox and learn how to use without the horrible consequences my habit had created. I’d thrown away the can I smoked my last hit of crack on. I tossed my pipes into the garbage. I flushed the little blue pills I used to help me sleep after a binge, down the toilet. The alcohol in the fridge, had been drank. For the first time ever, I had nothing within reach to soothe my frayed nerves. Without the courage substance gave me, I’d morphed into a scared little girl masquerading as a woman. My legs were shaking. Everything that made me feel better was on the other side of that door. Trouble was, death was also waiting out there waiting for me.
My addiction had progressed unbelievably. Starting out, I would never have imagined that one day drugs would rule my life and I would lose all say in the matter. Drugs controlled everything. They told me when to get of bed and what I would do that day. They told me who to talk to and what to say. They controlled me physically, for without them I was sick. They controlled me mentally, for with them I was sick. But it was on a spiritual level that they really did their damage. Drugs killed my soul. I no longer felt human.
Day one in rehab; I was reeling from how fast my life had unraveled. I was losing my home, kids and family. I’d been fired from my job (okay many jobs) and my spouse was leaving me. For the first time in my life, I had nowhere to run.
In hindsight not being able to run is a very good thing. But at the time it didn’t feel good. It was terrifying. I was up against the wall. One more step in either direction would determine my life going forward. Leave treatment (you don’t know how badly I wanted to run) and use again, then either die from using, or from despising myself. Or stay without drugs and face the unknown… Me!
When your go to – feel better – is substance, contemplating abstinence is like thinking about death. It’s overwhelming. I couldn’t imagine my life without drugs. So I focused on getting through the next 5 minutes, which became the next hour, and then week. At 30 days clean and sober I felt amazing! I quit counting minutes and began building an incredible life. A life that was so precious to me, it was not worth losing to relapse.
In rehab it was suggested I give thanks. In the early days of my recovery I was consumed with losing my best friend – drugs. So I was given the assignment of gratitude. I was to write a list of all the things I was grateful for.
The first day I wrote my kid’s name on a piece of paper. I couldn’t think of anything else, so I stopped there. Day two, I was grateful to have cigarettes. Day three, I was grateful for the delicious dinner my starving body had just consumed. Finding things to be grateful for was really hard and foreign. My disease had taught me to focus on all that was wrong. To be a complainer, a manipulator, a whiner and a victim. Looking for the positive, was not something I was familiar with. But I powered through and kept writing. More to get the counselors off my back, than for any other reason.
I’m not sure when it happened. If there was one moment where I went from cynical, guarded and mistrusting to open, teachable and loving. Or if it happened in many little moments along the way. All I know is; I went into rehab to quit drugs, at least temporarily and this happened instead!
I became grateful!
I was grateful to be in rehab. I was grateful to be abstinent. I was grateful to see my precious family again. I was grateful for my counselor’s feedback. I was grateful to be alive. All of the sudden there wasn’t enough paper in the building to hold my lists. Why had I never realized how lucky I was? Or how precious life is? Or how amazing it feels to wake up and not be dope-sick? Why hadn’t I noticed how beautiful the sky was? And when did the grass get so green? And the trees! Sunrises and sunsets put tears in my eyes.
I had been spiritually dead for so long, gratitude saved my soul. It brought me happiness, joy and a sense of well-being I’d never experienced before – without chemicals in my body.
Yes, I quit using drugs but I wasn’t ready for this. I thought my life without substance would be dull and boring, but it’s just the opposite. Turns out, the trick to staying abstinent isn’t in the clean and sober days you accrue… But what you do with those days.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 1 (888) 614-2379.