Even if You Don't Think You Need Alcoholism Treatment...

I was never supposed to succumb to alcoholism. The period in life when you "experiment" with drugs and alcohol passed me by while I was making sure I had everything ready for college. I was a psych major, and if you'd have told me that I'd be seeing the inside of an alcoholism treatment center for anything other than observation, I would've said you were crazy--no pun intended. To begin with, there was the pressure of my freshman year. I was a pretty big academic fish in my high school, but I didn't realize how small my pond was until the first week of classes. Things started to pile up, and before I knew it, I was way behind. It wasn't long before alcoholism treatment became a necessity for me, although I didn't see it right away.

One night, in the midst of my academic breakdown, I decided to forget everything and go to a party at a neighboring sorority-house. I was with a guy who by this time was a seasoned drinker and a likely future candidate for alcoholism treatment. He had started to pre-game before the party, and was strongly encouraging me to do the same. I'm not going to lie, and say I'd never touched a drop of liquor up to this point, nor will I say that this guy was responsible for my downward spiral, however my drinking escalated greatly during and after our relationship.

After a pretty scary twenty-minute car-ride-he insisted on driving even though he was buzzed-we were at the party. Looking around the room, it seemed as though red plastic SOLO cup was part of the uniform for all attendees. Some guy who I can only assume was the host made sure I had a drink glued to my hand the entire night-I liked it. I liked how it made me feel, and how it made me not feel. There was no turning back--alcohol took away all the pressure of classes, expectations, and social awkwardness. It also lowered my inhibitions, which led to a streak of promiscuity, the details of which I'll leave out here. Despite my placement on academic probation, and my descent into everything I swore I'd never become, I was still oblivious to the fact that I needed alcoholism treatment.

Fast-forward three years. I had been kicked out of school for performing poorly in the classes I actually attended, and was living with a friend of mine who needed alcoholism treatment as much, if not more, than I did. I was working at a video store, the only job I could walk to from my house because I didn't have a car, and trying to fool myself into thinking I could take community college courses and still continue to drink. I missed my family to the point of physical illness. They never assumed that this would happen to me, and by the time they tried to help, I was to deep into my own head to see they meant well. This led to a fight with my mother, and me changing my cell phone number, which was only on half the time because I could barely afford my rent, much less my phone bill.

One day I was walking home from work and I saw my sister standing in front of my apartment building. I just broke down and started crying, she rushed to me, held me tight, and said "You're getting help, no questions asked." I packed some things and went with her. This was the last time I was to see my old apartment. I stayed with her before and after I checked myself into residential alcoholism treatment.

This was four years ago and I haven't had a drink since. I remember every detail of my recovery like it was yesterday-there were, and are still some incredibly rough patches. Today I enjoy a great relationship with my family, and went back to school for English Literature. I was lucky enough to have a strong support system around me during my alcoholism treatment. I still have intense cravings, but have found strength in a fresh start. The most valuable lesson I learned from my alcohol abuse was that even if you don't think you need help, if others say that you do, you should hear them out. I finally listened to my sister, and it was the best thing I've ever done.

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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