I remember a very specific time when I was about two years into my recovery. I traveled to Southern Florida for gender-specific rehab when I was around 24 years old. I had been drinking myself into a hole that had gotten deeper and deeper as the years went by. I started drinking when I was around 15 years old, after I experienced some significant trauma while on a summertime trip in Europe. I didn’t talk about what had happened while I was on that trip, and so I internalized a wide range of misguided messages and views on life, ultimately retreating into myself entirely and beginning on a path of severe self-destruction. This path of self-destruction continued until I quite literally (however accidentally) drove myself to a psychiatric ward somewhere in Southern California. From there I was flown directly to Florida and stuck into a long-term residential treatment program. I wasn’t thrilled. I didn’t want to get sober. I was still hurting, and no one knew how much I was hurting. If they knew, maybe they wouldn’t be trying to force sobriety down my throat. Maybe they would understand why I needed alcohol to cope.
Numerous relapses later, I actually started to listen in the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings I was forced to attend on a daily basis. I started listening – just a little bit – and I started hearing stories that I could actually relate to. It turns out that I wasn’t the only person who was in a ton of unmanageable pain. It turns out that I wasn’t the only woman who had experienced sexual trauma and who had reached for a chemical substance in order to self-medicate. As soon as I started listening, I became willing. Willing to try. I was skeptical, but I tried.
Two years later I had sponsees of my own. I felt solid in my sobriety, and I was genuinely happy for the first time in what felt like years. It had been years since I felt authentic happiness – decades, maybe. I decided to take a road trip up the coast to Vermont, where I would stay by myself for a couple of weeks and “focus on my writing.” Looking back, I was probably subconsciously looking for a break from recovery. I think that I wanted to relapse. I was in an unhealthy romantic relationship with someone who was constantly in and out, in and out. He had recently relapsed and overdosed. Despite the advice from my friends and my sponsor, I stayed with him – and it was wearing on me. Long story short, I drove up to Vermont and purchased a bottle of wine almost as soon as I got to the house I was renting. I didn’t drink it. I thought about it. Of course, I thought about it. But at that point, the urge to keep going was stronger than the desire to give up because things had gotten hard again. Looking back, I am so, so grateful that I stayed the course. It was a close call – but I kept on going.
10 Reasons to Keep on Going
The best is yet to come. This sounds pretty cliche, but it’s honestly true. The longer I spent in my personal recovery, the better things got. Eventually, I was traveling the country and writing remotely full-time – experiencing so many incredible things, meeting so many inspiring people and truly living a life beyond my wildest dreams. No matter how good things have gotten for you, there is always the potential for things to get better. If you are experiencing a rocky period, know that just like everything in life, recovery is a series of highs and lows. In no time at all things will get better and you’ll be riding that high once again.
There are so many people that you are yet to inspire. Nothing is quite as rewarding as sponsorship. Once you begin working with sponsees of your own, you will realize how incredibly fulfilling it is to inspire others with your own story and help individuals who are much like yourself work through their own personal recovery-related challenges. You can make an impact. Not just when you sponsor others, but when you stand up in front of a room of people and share your story.
Your life is undoubtedly better when you’re sober. Take a look at your worst day in sobriety. Now take a look at your worst day when you were still out using. Is there really any comparison? The best thing about overcoming challenges in recovery is that you will always, always grow from any adversity you face and overcome. You don’t grow as a person when you’re dopesick and homeless, isolated and miserable. You grow when you face adversity head on and make it through the other side unscathed.
Remember hangovers and the withdrawal period? Yeah… that sucks. Always. No one wakes up with a hangover and thinks, “I love feeling extremely nauseous and dehydrated – this is great!” Think back to how miserable it was to wake up with a pounding headache and a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach most days. If you stay on the course long-term, you never have to worry about hangovers or symptoms associated with drug withdrawal. You will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new day – there is truly nothing better.
You’re strong enough to get through literally anything. If you can get through alcoholism or drug addiction and stay sober for any period of time, you can make it through anything else that life might decide to throw at you.
Your loved ones are counting on you to push forward. Think of how much your immediate family – your parents, your spouse, your children – has come to rely on you. Staying sober is important for you and your own quality of life, and for your loved ones.
You have goals – goals that won’t be achieved if you backtrack. Every day you wake up sober you are moving closer to achieving your personal goals – even if waking up sober is the only thing you do that day. As soon as you decide to pick up, you throw away all of your accumulated progress and essentially put yourself straight back into the hole you spent so long digging yourself out of. Keep moving forward!
You can continue to set NEW goals. The longer you stay sober, the more goals you will be able to set and achieve. Over time these goals can grow bigger and more grandiose – get a new car, buy a house, start a family… These things may have seemed entirely impossible several years ago. You will be amazed by just how much you can achieve when you stay committed to your recovery.
Rehab is really gosh darn expensive. Once your insurance benefits run out, you will have to pay for your treatment services out-of-pocket. Wouldn’t you rather stay sober and put that money towards that car and that house?
You won’t have to worry about going to jail. Living in a state of constant fear is no fun at all. If you stay sober, you (probably) won’t have to worry about legal or financial issues.
Intrepid Detox Residential offers a multi-phased continuum of care geared towards physical stabilization and laying a solid foundation for lasting sobriety. We provide men and women in Southern Florida and all surrounding areas with medically monitored detox and residential treatment. Our state-of-the-art, luxury style treatment facility is located in Riviera Beach, Florida, and is both licensed and accredited through the state of Florida. This means that our clinical program holds itself to the highest possible standard and provides a level of care that cannot be found in a traditional hospital setting. To learn more about our recovery program or to get started on your own personal journey of lifelong healing, give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon and getting you situated with the professional help you both need and deserve.