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Twin Lakes. Part Five.

My phone call to Eric was the wake of my first desperateness'. I felt like I was out of options. If I wanted to make things "right" and have access to my children, I had no other choice than treatment. I was scared. I did not know what to expect and looking back I learned a lot at my first check-in about addiction and initially thought I did not belong in that "category" of people. The first thing we did was search online at facilities that was in network with our insurance. Eric came across Twin Lakes. It is located on a beautiful piece of property in Monroe, GA. It was thirty-five minutes from the house which was very important to me so I could see the kids during visitation. There was one dilemma- I would miss Christmas. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and missing out on Christmas day seemed like the 'end of the world' at the time. I packed a bag of clothes from my apartment to go back home while we waited for a phone call back from the facility. I was sober. I wanted a few days to spend with the kids before I had to leave them again. Although I was incredibility down on myself, the days leading up to my intake were good. Eric and I were getting along, the kids were happy, and we swept the past chaos under the rug. When we were both sober all of our crazy was mostly non-existent. Eric knew I was hurting, and I was afraid of the unknown I was about to face. He wanted our lives to go back to whatever normal we had before my obsession with alcohol. Eric took off work one day and we visited Twin Lakes to see if that was the facility I felt comfortable spending 30 days inpatient. FIRSTLY, LET ME JUST SAY, IF YOU HAVE TO "VISIT" A TREATMENT FACILITY TO SEE IF IT IS "NICE ENOUGH" TO ACCOMMODATE YOU DURING YOUR RECOVERY...YOU ARE NOT READY TO GET CLEAN LONG-TERM. I did not know that. In my mind, I wanted to get clean, I thought. What I wanted was the pain to stop and my life to go back to normal. Whatever felt so awful prior felt so minute when you are preparing to walk into rehab. We visited and it felt "homie." It is a beautiful white plantation home with a pond, horses, and serene ambiance. It was actually the most "homie" treatment facility I encountered. I recommend it. I was prepared for this intake facility unlike the others I encountered. I packed my bags and actually looked at the list of things to bring. A couple days later, Eric dropped me off one evening and I was scared to death. I was sober and my nerves had me shivering. I was an amateur. I was escorted down the stairs to be evaluated by the nurse. I had been sobering now for a week, so I did not require detox. After intake, I wish I did! I wanted to be alone in a detox room by myself to drown in my own pity! Instead, I was escorted upstairs to my room. I had one roommate. I had a twin bed and dresser drawer. It was nice little room, and my roommate was kind. She had kids, was a teacher, and told me the story of how she ended up in treatment and I was flabbergasted. The pretty brunette in front of me was highly addicted to meth and back then I thought I was better than the "meth heads." To be clear, I have tried just about every drug out there and alcohol by far was the deadliest for me. Those of you who choose to judge others by the drug, all substances are used to cope by escaping and ALL are the same in my opinion. I truly believe the unique development in each person's brain and what neurotransmitter it lacks is what substance the psyche adopts for more. An example, my older brother Dex drug of choice is meth. He will drink alcohol but does not prefer it. I do not like meth, it makes me feel weird and prefer downers. It is the difference in our brains and what chemicals we lack and how our brain processes dopamine or the lack of having it.

My parents were so happy that I made the choice to go to treatment. I think there is this misconception that treatment is a fix all and that is so inaccurate. Treatment, for most, is a thirty-day program, allowing the client's cravings to subside, give medical attention, and give hope back to the individual suffering. The work comes after treatment. After the detox, body aches, sickness, and withdrawal. The real change comes after the physical symptoms leave the body, the mental anguish subsides, and the "pink cloud" disappears. Long-term recovery is exactly that...long-term! There is no end date, graduation date, or checklist to check off.

My mama said, "I can't wait to get my sweet Hopie back." That statement pissed me off. I thought, "What does that even mean? I will never be who you want me to be." I was rebellious. I would also celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday in Twin Lakes. I wondered often, "how did I get here in my late 20s? I thought if I was going to be a rebellious teen it should have happened earlier, not after I married and had children!" ALSO, another misconception. Pain and addiction do not have an age limit. It is heartbreaking how many people live chained to addiction, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and abusive relationships because of the thoughts of "it is too late, or this is who I am or what I have chosen." You always have a choice so you can always make a change. No matter how old you are, what you thought, or what you perceived to be right or wrong. Ask GOD to reveal his truth to you. NOT WHAT your mama, daddy, aunt, spouse, or preacher thinks. Walking with Jesus will never leave you astray, and when you do find yourself searching, answers follow. God keeps his promises- unlike humans.

I was quiet and was walked out to the "smoking area", by the way, is like the client's most favorite place during treatment. After an hour of listening to how people feel, even if you are not a smoker you may be driven to puff one! It is mentally draining because the mind does not have its usual escape goat. I learned very quickly- there are alternative medications that will " take the edge off." I found myself walking around Twin Lakes with very little emotion.

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