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Living Sober

On August 12, 2014, I will have four years clean from drugs and alcohol. With that date coming up, it is hard not to reminisce about the past and what it was like before I got clean. It is also hard not to think about what I put my family through. In my family, addiction was never something we really talked about. Even I did not use the word “addiction” until I realized I needed to stop drinking and doing drugs, not because I was in denial but because no one had ever talked to me about addiction. I guess I knew it existed, but it was something I never thought about.

Living Sober

There are three ways that exercise can help an addict in recovery:

My mom thinks, some days more strongly than others, that it was her fault I became an addict and an alcoholic. My husband does not understand how he missed the fact that I was heavily using drugs and needed help. My dad thought everything was going fine in my life. What I try to explain to them is this: Addicts lie and hide things. That is not to say that addicts are bad people or that all addicts lie. I suppose there are some who do not feel the need to lie about their situation. I, however, had to lie. I wanted to continue drinking and doing drugs, and if I had not continued to hide and lie about my drug use, I would have had to stop. If my parents and my husband knew the extent of my drinking and drug use, they would have insisted that I get help. I had no way to support myself financially at that time because I was a full-time college student and did not have a job.

My options would have been to get help or live on my own somewhere and try to support myself. This is what fueled the secrecy and the lies behind my addiction. When my parents did find out about the drinking and the drug use, they insisted that I go to an inpatient rehab facility. I did this, but I left after 12 hours. I came home and stayed clean for 10 months before I relapsed. I did not believe that I was an addict. I did not think I needed to quit everything; I just thought that I needed to slow down a little bit. When I relapsed, things were bad enough for me that I knew I needed help. I went back to rehab, somewhat grudgingly, but I stayed because my parents, my husband, and I all knew that rehab was where I needed to be.

Could my parents and my husband have done anything differently

Could they have intervened sooner?

I do not think so.

Even if they had intervened sooner, I think I needed to come to my own realization that I needed help. It is cliche to say that you cannot help someone who does not want help, but cliches are born out of truths. I had to figure out why I wanted to be clean and sober, and I had to figure out what steps were necessary in order to accomplish that. My family did the best they could. They got me into rehab, insisted I stay there, and supported me when I came home from rehab. They did not know much about addiction, but they learned or at least tried to. My husband learned everything he could about addiction, and he also stopped drinking.

We were all in the dark regarding addiction and recovery, and we all had to navigate our way to a place that worked for each of us. Just as I had to deal with learning how to live my life without drugs and alcohol, my parents and my husband had to learn how to live alongside me in a new way. The change was definitely for the better, but it still took time for all of us to adjust.

Is it my mom’s fault that I am an addict?

No.

I truly do not believe they could have done anything differently, and I believe that I am the only person responsible for my addiction. My parents and my husband all did their best, and so far, that has been good enough.