From1-2-1: Addiction & Mental Health… The Toll it Takes

When I was 15 years old, I took my very first drink of alcohol. It was the weekend after I was abused and it tasted so good. I never realized a drink could diminish and even erase feeling associated with the trauma I had gone through. That was it; I knew the solution to all my problems and suffering. From that point forward, for the next eight years, I drank. I got drunk and wasted and even blacked out, more times than I care to count. Why am I speaking of all this? To help others know that alcohol is not the answer.
Before I started drinking, I was a fun loving, exciting, and very caring person. I didn’t deal with anxiety, stress, depression, or any of that. Drinking ruined everything. It was like I was a whole different person. I was lost inside of a chaotic whirlwind of never-ending destruction. My mind was not mine anymore. I couldn’t concentrate unless I was drunk. I thought about drinking and would make up any reason I could to get drunk. After a few years, there didn’t even have to be a reason, I just drank, until I couldn’t feel any more pain.

The price started coming…

After I started drinking, about two months after to be exact, I became extremely anxious every time I couldn’t drink. If something came up or someone canceled a night out, I would get upset. I would feel like my whole life was turning upside down…all because of alcohol. Stress and anxiety became fixtures in my life. If I wasn’t stressed or anxious about not drinking, I was stressed or anxious because drinking caused problems for me. There were broken relationships, financial issues, stomach health issues, and more. I didn’t know why all of it was happening to me. For the longest time, I just blamed my drinking on the guy who raped me. It was his fault I chose to drink. 8 years later was the first time I admitted that I was the only one who could stop my drinking. No matter what caused me to start, nobody else could take my pain away or fix my addiction. I had to take control. Mind you, at this point, I had just gotten my second DUI, and my life was falling to pieces. Something had to give, or I was going to lose my life.

The turning point…

Almost to the exact date of 8 years after I started drinking, I quit. I had just gotten my second DUI the night before and was given Impact Weekend as part of my sentencing. That weekend changed my life. Most of the people there thought it was a joke, but not me. I listened to the stories the leaders told and connected with them. I knew if I got in trouble one more time, I would be suffering way worse than I ever had. I talked to the leaders and asked them to help me. They walked me through the recovery process after the sessions, and I prayed that the process would work for me.
When I went home after the weekend was through, I cried. My life had been flipped upside down by a “drink”. I admitted that alcohol had taken over my life and called the outpatient rehab center the next day. My cousin had gone to rehab the summer before, so I’d already heard of the positive impacts these types of places can have on one’s life. I knew I needed help and this was my way to get it.

I attended the outpatient treatment program for nearly 2 years. Throughout those 2 years, I learned so much. I was attending individual therapy twice a week, group therapy once a week, as well as maintaining an art journal on a regular basis. To this day, I can’t thank the people from the outpatient treatment center enough, for helping me to change my life.



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