Love, Loss, Addiction and Recovery…

The only thing that saved me from cocaine addiction was the quality of my treatment program. I can say with no hyperbole, that I would not be here writing this were it not for the doctors and therapists at my facility. When I was 26 years, my wife, the love of my life and the girl that I'd been with since middle school, died of ovarian cancer. For months, I felt dead too, and was simply going through the motions of life. I'd come home from work, crawl into bed and question how a god that had blessed us with so much: money, family, etc. could do this to us without warning. I mourned for about a year and a half and just as I was ready to meet people again, I went to a party that changed my life forever.

I almost didn't go, but was determined to get out there and interact with people. About an hour into the festivities, I noticed that the friend who had dragged me there was doing coke off the coffee table with about four other people. He noticed I was standing there and told the girl sitting next to him to set me up a line. Wanting to feel anything other than what I'd been feeling for the past 18 months, I readily partook. The next three years are a blur and I wouldn't have had it any other way. The withdrawal periods were a nightmare, but I always kept coke on hand to make them as brief as possible. I quit my job, sold my house and was living off of my savings in a one-bedroom apartment. I was high all the time, burning through my money and starting to experience long-term heart problems, but at least I wasn't thinking about reality.

I was so out of it, that when I had a heart attack in my car at thirty years old, I barely even realized it. What finally forced me to think about my situation was when my wife's parents, who had been like parents to me also, came to visit me in the hospital. Despite my promises to keep in touch after the funeral, I'd let coke put distance between myself, them and just about everybody else. When I woke to see them in the hospital room, it was like a magician taking me out of hypnosis and back to reality. I didn't want to face it, and just started sobbing as they held me in their arms. I realized then that I needed to deal with this in a healthier way, and use my wife as a source of strength, not sorrow.

I wasn't quite convinced that rehab would work for me but my father-in-law got me into one of the best drug rehab centers and it made all the difference. The detox wasn't any picnic, but my doctors were there with me every step of the way to make sure I didn't have any complications or in any severe pain. After I got out of detox I started getting the in-depth clinical help to deal with my bereavement and depression. The specialists who helped me truly understood what I was going through.

I realize looking back how lucky I was to go to a quality rehab and not one of these treat-em'-and-street-em' program and be using again as soon as I left rehab.

I just finished my first year being clean. I no longer curse God anymore for taking my wife from me so young. Instead I wake up each morning and thank God for even the short time I had on this earth with her. I still stay in contact with some of the other alumni I met in rehab and try to go to meetings whenever I can. Recovery is a life-long commitment, but I'm determined to honor it every day.

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.