Addiction Treatment for Recovery: The Start of my Journey

The start of my addiction treatment for recovery was a 3 week stay in a psychiatric ward.

I was still in denial and didn’t have a clue how much trouble I was in. I had blue eyes and a broken nose when I arrived there, compliments of an abusive relationship. I was covered in bruises. I believed I was a victim and had done nothing to deserve where I was in life.

Every addict will lay the blame an anything and everything but herself or himself. If we are in denial we can continue using. We can also blot out everything shameful we have done or been through by using more. And so the cycle continues…

Addiction Treatment for Recovery

Denial

During my stay there I was allowed out for a walk, giving me the perfect opportunity to find my dealer and acquire 2 grams of cocaine. On my return the staff saw immediately something was not right and tested me immediately. They considered kicking me out, but for some reason let me stay. They did make me go to my first 12 Step meeting the following day at the adjoining Addiction Clinc.

I went to the meeting and announced that I was in fact not an addict but the staff at the psychiatric ward thought I might be so I had to come join in. Sound crazy enough to you? Of course it is, I was completely delusional. What sane person leaves a psychiatric ward, takes drugs and comes back an hour later thinking this is normal?

Manipulation

On leaving the clinic I was advised by my psychiatrist to not have any mood or mind altering substances for the next 3 months. Looking back it is clear they were aware I had a serious problem. I considered this advice, to take or not to take as it pleases me. I didn’t use anything for a few days, which to me was hard core proof I didn’t have a problem. A few weeks later I managed to embarrass myself in public by getting so drunk I vomited and then fell out of a truck into my own vomit. I won’t go into too much detail on how that happened, you can use your imagination or you can read about that story and a good few more in my ebook.

Now having blue eyes and a broken nose once again did not sit well with my family that were concerned about me. They wanted me to go for addiction treatment. Once again I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I managed to convince them that I could get by with an outpatient program instead of being booked in anywhere.

This didn’t work very well for me. I continued to use and I failed every drug test. By the 3rd drug test I came to realise that I was on the verge of being kicked off the program and my family would not be pleased. Instead of telling my family I had been using I told them I was “struggling” and wanted to move out of my parents home into tertiary care, which is a home of safety. Then I told the clinic where I was doing the outpatient program that I was moving to a house of safety and could they please let me continue the program.

They allowed this and I am not sure how I managed to complete this program. I think a miscommunication between the 2 facilities must have occurred because I continued to use and neither facility tested me again.

Now I found myself living in a house of safety and trying to hide my using, not an easy task! One night I overdid, as of course I would. It was 20 minutes before our curfew when I had to be home. I was so drunk I could barely walk and high on cocaine. There was just no way I would be able to pull that off. Instead I texted the manager and told him I had “relapsed” and would contact them in the morning.

At this time I still had no concern about getting clean, it was all about manipulating everyone to leave me alone so I could continue using. I wasn’t an addict! I was just going through a wild phase right? You know, like every normal person does at some stage. The fact that this “wild phase” was going on for about 15 years didn’t really occur to me.

I had to try and get myself out of this mess without my family writing me off. I called my parents and the owner of the house of safety and said I was “ready to get clean, what must I do?”. I thought perhaps acting like I would do whatever needed to be done and following their instructions (for a little while at least) would get me some breathing space while I figured out what to do.

I was told to go into Secondary Care treatment. I happily collected my bags and off I went. Only upon signing the contract upon arrival did I get the shock of my life realizing it was a minimum 3 month stay. What happened to the 28 days thing I had heard about? Oh well, I had to do it because I didn’t really have much choice did I?

Walking the Walk & Talking the Talk

My plan at this stage was to do the recovery act for the 3 months, make it out the other side and then carry on with my life as I felt fit. For about a month I did just this. I shared in groups, I went to AA meetings and I did everything asked of me. I said what I thought they wanted to hear and I followed every suggestion. Not because I wanted to get clean, but because I honestly believed there truly was some big mistake. This wasn’t the place for me, I was misunderstood.

Slowly things must have started to sink in. All that therapy, all those groups and meetings…

Breaking through the Denial

About 6 weeks into treatment I was sitting writing an assignment and I realized a few things:

  • I am an addict!
  • I want to be clean
  • I have a Higher Power and it is working in my life
  • I have been working this program (for a little while at least, certainly not from the start)
  • I feel good, not great but good

What confused me is that I can’t pinpoint the moment something in me had changed. I realised at that moment that I knew I was an addict, but it is not a realization I had that second. I had known it for a while. When did it change?

Where did this Higher Power come from, what is it and how can I believe in God when I am not religious?

What on earth happened?

I have been clean since 02 August 2008 when I arrived at the Secondary Care rehab. I have never touched another mood or mind altering substance and that is a miracle.

I really believe that being in treatment for those 6 weeks, having recovery shoved down my throat made the change happen in me. Without that I doubt anything could have saved me. It might sound crazy but I actually enjoyed rehab, it was the first time in many years I did something for myself, something I could be proud of.

If you are an addict or alcoholic in active addiction, please do yourself a favour and book yourself in for treatment. It can be the life-changing event you need to save your life.

I am sure every addict is scared of treatment but it can be a wonderful experience. I will share more in-depth at some stage about my experiences in treatment.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and got something of value from it, please leave a comment below!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

23 comments

  1. Mistie M says:

    You are truly courageous! Admitting to yourself, then to the rest of the world, your addiction! I’m so glad you received the help that you needed. I applaud you for taking something so painful and personal, and using it to help others that might be struggling!

    • Lynne Huysamen says:

      Thanks for the feedback Mistie 🙂 It is actually quite a relief to share and to empower others. The support I receive from people is incredible. When I first got clean and I was so ashamed I tried to hide it and not let anyone know. Reality is very different from what I expected, in a lovely way!

  2. Debra says:

    Hi there,

    Sometime I think denial is that hardest step, and I think it is because no matter who you are, you don’t like to admit that there is something wrong with yourself. It makes you feel less that the others around you.So getting someone to look directly at themselves is definately an important step.

    • Lynne says:

      Most definitely Debra. The denial was so deep, I was truly delusional. Looking back I find it so hard to comprehend how I could have lived like that not knowing I had a problem.

  3. Fidel says:

    I must say I am proud of you for being able to openly admit that you were on drugs and have managed to get yourself cleaned
    I hear it’s quite difficult trying to get clean. But from your article it’s clear that with determination, any addict can get clean. Irrespective of how long the person has being on drugs.
    You are really an inspiration to many people out there

    • Lynne says:

      Fidel, yes I am sure anyone can get clean. With the right support and guidance and of course putting in the work getting clean can be a wonderful experience.

  4. katerina Markakis says:

    Hello Lynne!
    Congratulations for the wonderful work on your website. I so admire you and respect you for sharing your story. You are truly brave and you have no idea how much you help people with your doing so. It’s very difficult to get yourself out of addiction but I believe the hardest thing for an addict to do is admit his problem. Dedication and hard work is required but once you are out of it, it must feel like you conquered the world.. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
    Katerina

  5. Jay says:

    Dear Lynne, writing this and putting it out there shows not only are you a strong person, but also courageous. Although I’ve never had an addiction myself, I had an alcoholic girlfriend and it was real hard work to deal with.

    The difference with you is, and it pleases me to say. You admitted to yourself you had a problem and faced it head on and conquered it. You are a wonderful person.

    This is an amazing and helpful site and I hope many people in need of help find you.

    Jay

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Jay, thanks for stopping by. Yes it is hard to deal with and I am sorry you had to experience that. It takes quite a long time before anyone is ready to face their addictions.

  6. Author: Sharon May says:

    Hi, I really loved reading your blog post on addiction and you are very brave. Sometimes we have to come to a realization that what we’re doing to ourselves is actually harming u. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, we all get there in the end even if it’s on our death bed.

    I was married to a horrible man for 18 years, I was addicted to his charm but he was an abusive narcissistic prick. It took that length of time to realize my self-worth, and that me and my children deserved a better life. I now take comfort in the fact that Jesus loves me and that one day I’ll have a husband who’ll love me for who I am.

    Best wishes to you Lynne 🙂

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Sharon

      That is saying it exactly how it is! I am so glad that you realized your self worth and made the changes necessary. I wish you all the best on your new path.

      Kind Regards

      Lynne

  7. Simone says:

    Lynne, thank you for sharing your story. This will hopefully help many addicts out there. A friend of mine almost took his life due to gambling and alcohol addictions.

    As you shared, the addict has to be ready to make a change. It took you 15 years and it took my friend about 20 years. He would go to rehab but then decide that he wasn’t an addict and that gambling and drinking were just hobbies, until he lost almost everything.

    He has now completely turned his life around. He has a great job and no longer gambles. Although he still occasionally drinks. But he has moved in the right direction.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Simone

      Thanks for visiting. I am so glad your friend managed to make the much needed changes to his life. It isn’t easy and takes a strong person to do that.

      Best wishes

      Lynne

  8. RoxySue says:

    Congrats on being clean for 7 years! I have friends and neighbors in recovery programs, and I’ve always wondered how long it was going to take! Perhaps I need to take to heart what you’re saying, the the best to hope for is they’ll be in recovery, not cured. Can you tell me, do you think the generally people in recovery for years want to talk about it still, or is it better I don’t bring it up? I never really know what do to do/how to react.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi RoxySue

      Thank you! I would say talk about it, I have no problem sharing my recovery and my journey with people. It helps to remove the shame and stigma surrounding it. I suppose it depends on the person and their own personal journey. Not everyone is as open about their addiction as I am 🙂

      Kind Regards

      Lynne

  9. Misty Marchione says:

    Your story is very inspiring and touching! Congratulations on being sober. This must have been very difficult for you to go through. I’m positive through sharing your story that you are going to inspire and motivate others to get treatment. It is very courageous of you to share your story. May you continue on your new beautiful path in life.

  10. christinamk says:

    I have gone through a similar experience when I left home to go to college. I ended up in a Psychiatric ward with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I was drinking far too much but so were my friends so I thought that I didn’t have a problem. I ended up hospitalized again three more times the next three years. I don’t exactly know what happened but at one point I just made up my mind that I would get better. I think when my application was rejected to transfer to a school that would have been an easy safety for me out of high school really made me decide that I would not let my life keep on like it was. I admire you for creating this website. I know it will help others who were in a similar place as yourself.

    Christina

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Christina

      Thank you for sharing your experience, it makes a big difference when people can see that so many others have been through similar things and that they are not alone.

      Well done on sorting yourself out, we both know it is not easy to do!

  11. Jacob says:

    Hi,
    This is one of the most interesting article I have came across so far. I am glad you have bounced back from your addiction. Everyone deserves a second chance and I am sure there are many addicts out there whom are still seeking help out there. Best wishes to you.
    Jacob

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Jacob 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. I hope to inspire many others to get into recovery and change their lives.

Leave a Reply