When I first get out of detox, I keep to myself and mainly stay in my room. I feel out of sorts, not knowing how I should act. I'm glad they only have private rooms here; I can't imagine having a roommate while I'm feeling this way. It is only when I go for meals or for group sessions that I mix with other people here. I have to admit, if it weren't for these forced encounters, I feel like I'd never get to know anyone. But now that I have, I feel blessed and grateful. And humble.
Before I got to Axis Residential, I considered drug addicts losers—weak people who became the dregs of society because they were too lazy to try and help themselves. But listening to other people's stories and getting to know them better, I realize that everyone is someone's father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, son. These people are "normal," just like me…normal addicts and alcoholics anyway. They love their families as much as I do; they feel guilty about ruining their lives; they want desperately to overcome the addictions that have caused them, and their loved ones, so much pain. I feel ashamed for being so judgmental. I hear their stories and can understand how certain events led to their addiction, or maybe exacerbated their condition. Others seem to have been born this way, genetically predisposed to coping with the troubles of life by shoving drugs and alcohol into their systems. I also see that because of rehab, people do turn their lives around. They do get better. It gives me real hope.
I feel like I am making real friends here. Regardless of social status and upbringing, we understand each other and are empathetic and supportive. My closest friend is a young meth addict named Carl who in the space of one short week has become like a brother to me. I'm also beginning to realize in listening to other people's stories, my desire for drugs and alcohol may never go away. I'm coming to grips with that and learning different coping skills on how to deal with it. But having supportive people around who understand what I'm going through helps a lot. I see people who make it—who continue to make it—and that continues to fill me with hope. Maybe someday somebody will be able to look at me and see that I've made it too!
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Disclaimer: This is a fictitious depiction of a patient's experience undergoing treatment for addiction. It is written on behalf of and sponsored by Axis Residential. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Experiences associated with addiction treatment can vary widely and this post may not reflect all such experiences. To learn more about the process of being treated for addiction, please contact Axis Residential.