At A Crossroads

When I was 23 years old, I was presented with a choice: enter rehab or lose everything. After three years of lies, deception and torment, everyone in my life had had enough. They decided that I had been lost to cocaine and that the only way I was going to come back is if I made the decision to get better—they were completely right. At the time of my intervention, however, I couldn’t see that they were trying to help me, so I looked this gift horse in the mouth and told them what they could do with their “second chance.”

Two weeks later, I was living on the streets with nothing but the clothes on my back. I couldn’t afford food, let alone cocaine, and I started to succumb to really bad withdrawal symptoms. It took about three weeks of crashing on friends’ couches and behind convenience stores for me to realize that this life wasn’t for me. After I promised up and down that I was done with cocaine, my parents agreed to let me back into the house. They were watching me as often as they could, but even they couldn’t be there 24/7. I tried to quit cold-turkey and predictably relapsed.

After my family found out, I was certain that my relationship with them would just disintegrate, but it didn’t. They could see that I could no longer help myself and once again made arrangements for me to enter treatment. I was forced to come to terms with my inability to get clean on my own and accepted help for drug addiction. As skeptical as I was about professional treatment, I knew I had to at least try. I can admit now that when I left for treatment, I was crying like a newborn infant. I was scared to death but also relieved.

Treatment taught me how to not be selfish, but self-aware. It taught me the balance of taking care of myself while still making sure that I was the best I could be to others. This mentality has helped me sustain my recovery and reconnect with my family. It’s no longer a matter of us tolerating each other and anticipating each other’s shortcomings; we genuinely love each other and enjoy each other’s company. There’s no shame in admitting you need help; in fact, it’s the only way you can overcome your drug addiction. It took me years to learn this, but I’m happy I did before it was too late. 

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.

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