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Hi, my name is Hope. Part Six.

I was a nervous wreck the first few days at Twin Lakes. The shear embarrassment that I was in a rehab facility worked on my egoistical nature and the sadness pierced my heart being away from my babies. I was having separation anxiety alongside observing my surroundings. I made friends with some girls and for once did not feel so alone. Turned out, I was not the only mother who struggled with substances. At the time, I did not have the craziest story, and honestly was very guarded and incapable of revealing how sick I really was within my addiction. I did not want to be an "alcoholic" and did not think I was. The first time someone asked me if I wanted to pick up a white chip (the 24-hr. surrender chip), I am sure the look on my face was priceless. I thought it was stupid. I asked, "Do I have to? What is the point? I do not understand the 12 steps and how this will save me." And the other client's response was nice and told me, "Keep coming back." I nervously giggled. It was a foreign world to me, one that I truly did not understand at the time. The sobriety chips, AA meetings, sharing and talking about feelings was exhausting. And I found myself judging other clients by their drug of choice or stories. Most I thought did not belong there because I still rationalized drug and alcohol use. If you were not injecting a needle or selling everything you owned for a shot, I assumed it was a behavioral problem. I thought I could stop drinking when I wanted to. I had in the past (not long-term). I would just have to work harder at it when life was stressful, and I wanted to reach for the bottle. I could do it. Mind over matter! The insanity of addiction: how desperate I was a few days prior while intoxicated, and the denial of the severity of the problem once I was sober. All of sudden-I was making excuses for my ability to drink again and did not even realize it.

At Twin Lakes, I was opened up to the world of addiction and recovery. I did not know a lot about heroin and felt better about myself that I was not YET in that category of drug users. Funny how life brings things full circle. I had one girl approach me, "Hope, you do not look like you belong here. I saw you when you visited with your husband. I did not think it was you that was coming here." I responded, " I got a DUI and my family made me. I had to come for the court and to see my kids." I STILL did not have the awareness of how sick I was and guess is true...the longer you stay in addiction...the worse it gets...I was ignorant at the battles I would face in the coming months. I listened to another girl tell the nurse about her anxiety and what medications would be helpful. I quickly was on that bandwagon. I suddenly, needed dosages three times a day. Morning, lunch, and bedtime I was given my pills that helped me take "the edge off." Problem with that- in order for me to truly heal- I did not need anything to mask my emotions. I was abusing substances for that. I needed to feel everything. I needed to feel the shame, guilt, sadness, grief, and all the ugly pain that had been eating away at my soul like a tapeworm. Devouring what little of me was left. Some client's need medication who suffers from severe mental health disorder. I am not bashing the clinical staff or the facility for doing their job. I am saying, I manipulated the system to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings/pain. Medication affects every client differently. Some people require medication. I did not require the antidepressants, and three types of calming agents. But I took them like I did. My "symptoms" said I required them, and my mind became hooked on the next pill. I wanted to numb out the next thirty days so I could "get back" to my life. I did not even know what that would even look like. I had left Eric and did not know if I was willing to go back after what I had experienced. I did not care about anything except my kids and having them back in my life. Eric had the ammunition against me. I was the "unfit" mother in treatment, and I knew that when pushed come to shove he would turn on me in a minute. I could not trust him. It did not matter how "supportive" he appeared. He had a vindictive side that he secretly hid away from most, but it was there lurking. I had embarrassed him by walking away from our marriage. By walking away from him. Suprise alert! I never got too far before I came running back.

My very first AA meeting outside of the facility I wanted to hide underneath my seat. The first thing I strongly disliked was having to go around the room and introduce myself as an alcoholic. It made me feel very uncomfortable and also it made me aware of who I was. When it was time to say "hey" to the newcomers I would never raise my hand and bring any kind of attention on myself. Someone said, "we have a newcomer, Hope is in the group." I wanted to run away and hide. My face was blood red and I introduced myself for the very first time, in the outside world, "Hey, my name is Hope and I am an alcoholic."

That entire hour people made references to my name and stared straight at me. I would have cried had I not been souped up on my calming agents.

I picked up a white chip. Through the embarrassment and against what I thought I knew and how I wanted to identify myself...I said it. I said I had a problem. It was the first step. The first step into the right direction.

(I am a fan of AA now- and in no way am I speaking negative to the 12-step program. Its principles have kept me sober)

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So proud of you Hope. You’re one of my favorites. Blessings my friend.

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