21 Days Later

I apologize for not posting anything for the past three weeks. I had a personal emergency. Something that demanded my total attention. As you may know from reading “about” me, I have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. I’ve been attending 12-Step meetings since 2001. At that time, I was drinking a fifth of Vodka a day. My life was a mess. Unfortunately, I continued to lapse into periods of drinking and taking drugs from 2001 to 2008. I was able to stop using all substances in November of 2008. Things were looking up. I was getting healthy again, and I returned to some degree of sanity.

Then came another stumble. I started taking Percocet for back pain. I had an underlying anxiety disorder, and was put on Ativan. My addiction raised its head rather quickly after that. I began taking more medication than was prescribed. I figured one was not enough. I continued using opiates and anxiety medication at a rather heavy rate. When I ran out of my scripts earlier than I was supposed to, I started looking for other ways to get the drugs. Unfortunately, I stooped so low as to take prescriptions belonging to family members. I did this to such an extent that they noticed. I was confronted by them in an intervention. The end result of the intervention was admission to a 21-day drug and alcohol treatment program. I was admitted to the facility on December 29th.

I did not know what to expect. This was my first rehab admission. Lord knows I needed to do this long before I agreed to it. The experience was very positive. Treatment included numerous group sessions every day. Outside speakers would also come to the facility to hold NA and AA meetings. There were many opportunities to break off into small groups and talk about recovery and our drug and alcohol use over the years. I made some very good short-term friends. There was a small group of us who were Christians, and we held nightly prayer meetings and occasional Bible studies. I brought a Recovery Bible with me, which I read every day. It was very inspiring to see Christians in recovery coming together and exchanging their experience, strength and hope. God moved in a very noticeable way in our gatherings.

I was shocked at the amount of young heroin addicts that are seeking treatment. Many of them were on their fourth, fifth and sixth admission to treatment. A great deal of them were under twenty five years of age. Their stories were shocking. Heartbreaking. Many years of shooting dope and nodding out in their parents’ homes. I was surprised at how many of them overdosed. Even more shocking was the number of them who were pronounced dead and had to be revived by a doctor, yet they continued to get high afterward. It’s really sad.

I learned that I am not unique in any way. I am just as capable of sinking into a deep depression and active addiction. No longer can I live in denial, or look down my nose at other addicts or alcoholics. I am no different than they are. It was said to me once by an old timer at an AA meeting that you cannot be judgmental of others in the fellowship because you never know who is going to say something that will save your life.

I was discharged from rehab today. Although much was accomplished during my stay, now the real work begins. I expect my resolve to not pick up drugs will be tested on a regular basis. I have been given a bunch of new tools to use in fighting my addiction. Counseling sessions focused on anxiety, depression, relapse prevention, and identifying triggers. Of course, I have the basic text of Narcotics Anonymous and the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have my Recovery Bible, and a fair amount of other spiritual books. Also, I am concentrating on improving my personal relationship with my higher power, Christ Jesus. I realize that I took my will back almost daily, and fell out of touch with Jesus. There is power in the Name of Jesus to break chains, renew minds, and heal bodies.

Twenty one days later, I am starting on a brand new journey. I’m on the road again.

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