I am no stranger to drug rehab. I have tried it many times. I tried inpatient rehab in Arizona. I tried outpatient here in LA. I lived in a “sober living” once where not one of us was sober. I tried AA meetings, NA meetings, CA meetings. None of them worked until I was truly “done.”
This last bout with addiction brought me lower than I have ever been. I was living on the streets. I was panhandling to get money for more drugs. I was in constant danger and did unbelievably horrible things. I stole from my friends. I stole from my family. I hocked my mother’s jewelry for drugs. I stole from her purse, when she would let me in the house. Drugs and alcohol were my master and I would do anything for my next “high.”
One morning after a particularly rough night I woke up with two black eyes. I didn’t know where I was and I had lost all my stuff. I was sick and throwing up. I managed to borrow someone’s phone and call the one person I knew would still talk to me, my mother.
“Drugs and alcohol were my master and I would do anything for my next high.”
When she picked up the phone her voice sounded so sweet. I had forgotten how much I love that voice. She was hesitant at first. Of course she would be. How could she trust me after all I had done to her…the stealing, the lies, the broken promises. There was the time I wrecked her car and just abandoned it on the side of the road. And what about the days she would spend driving around looking for not knowing if I was still alive. But the day I called her she answered the phone I could hear the relief in her voice. She immediately said, ”Where are you?”
I told her and she came to get me. I will never forget the look on her face when she pulled up her car. I am sure she tried but she couldn’t hide the sadness and horror on her face. She looked at first like she didn’t recognize her own daughter. I got in the car and gave her a hug. We both started sobbing. My life changed right then. I knew this was my last chance. If I didn’t get right and get sober now I wouldn’t live to try again. I was truly “done” this time.
She helped me find a rehab where I could go and detox and heal. How many of these places had I been to before? Plenty. In the past I was always defiant. I wasn’t going to do the work necessary. These people were crazy if they thought I was going to buy into that twelve-step cult crap. I just did my time until the cops or my parents were off my back. Then I would jump right back into the same cycle of drugs, alcohol and chaos until I had burned all my bridges and was living on the streets.
“I am sure she tried but she couldn’t hide the sadness and horror on her face. She looked at first like she didn’t recognize her own daughter. ”
But there was something different this time. I knew I had to try this thing. By that time I had tried everything else and it hadn’t worked. So I put down the mental bat and took suggestions. I went to the meetings and stayed the whole hour. I listened to what people said. I told the truth to my therapist. I got a sponsor to help me stay sober. And, I can’t believe this even as I write it, things started to change. Scratch that. Things didn’t change, I did. I started to value my sobriety. I counted the days and was proud of myself when I made 30 days and 60 days. One of the biggest changes in me was I started seeing things through. I committed to staying in drug rehab for 90 days and I did it, even though some days were very hard and I wanted so bad to leave.
Now I am coming up on 6 months and I feel better today than I ever have. No high from drugs or alcohol ever felt this good. My mother’s face lights up when she sees me. The horror and disappointment are gone. She is actually proud of me. I know now that my sobriety is a gift to myself and to everyone who loves me. As I learn to live life and face whatever comes without the need for drugs or alcohol, my family is healed along with me. My recovery from addiction is the best Mother’s Day gift I can give my beautiful Mom.
“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes