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The day that changed my life


December 22, 2016 marks a very significant day in my life. A day I honestly will never forget. It’s the day I went to detox before I was able to enter my treatment center right after. That was probably one of the hardest days I’ve ever faced, and it still brings up certain emotions whenever I think back to it. Knowing I was about to be leaving for over a month and taking the step to change my life was scary! I was devastated knowing I wouldn’t be spending Christmas with my family, but I knew it was something that I absolutely had to do. This is a huge step for me because I don’t usually talk openly about my experience of going to rehab. Lately it’s been easier for me to do though because it’s a huge part of my life story and I wouldn’t be living the life I have today if it wasn’t for taking that step. If my story can help one person out there struggling, then it’s MORE than worth it to me!

Christmas is always a special time and one of my favorite holidays. It hasn’t quite been the same since because now every Christmas I always think back to that time and how my life once was. My life is by far so much better and I’m so thankful for everything I have now in life! Leading up to Christmas everyone is so excited and all I was able to think about was that I was leaving soon and not able to spend it with my loved ones. In the days leading up I sat and wrapped all the gifts for our family and made sure it was all ready for my husband to take with him Christmas Day. I had to make sure I was all packed up for the next month and had everything I would need.

I remember just having such a helpless feeling and being terrified of what was about to be ahead of me. I got so use to my life being in chaos all the time because of my drug use. I knew I had to change that if I ever wanted a real future for myself. As I loaded my bag into the car and drove to the detox facility, I remember I kept trying to talk myself out of going. Thankfully I had my husband by me the whole time reminding me why I needed to go do this. Saying goodbye in that moment was such a struggle because I felt so alone and didn’t want to spend Christmas with complete strangers. Especially being someone like myself, who is extremely shy around people I don’t know. It was a surreal experience.

The thing about detox is you aren’t allowed to make phone calls. You can leave at anytime but when you’re there you have no outside contact to the real world. The biggest memory that sticks out during my experience there was Christmas Eve. I know my husband’s family always gets together Christmas Eve night. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to see them or talk to anyone was really making me depressed. All I wanted to do was sit in my room by myself and distract myself from believing it was really the holidays. Maybe if I could block it out, I wouldn’t be as sad. One of the staff that worked there came in to check on me and I told them how all I wanted to do was make a phone call to my husband, knowing full well I couldn’t do that. They could see how hard it was for me, so they offered to call him for me and pass a message along. Afterwards when they came back with a sticky note and a message on it from my husband, I automatically broke down. It was all I needed in that moment and enough to get me through the next few days before I was able to leave for my treatment program. To this day I still have that sticky note with the message from my husband! He’ll never know it but it’s what got me through my whole stay in rehab.

Of course, you’re there for a reason and you’re not feeling too great while you’re there, so I spent most of my time in my room sleeping. When I did come out it was to get something to eat or watch tv for a little while to help some time pass. The staff made sure to still help us all feel some holiday spirit with little surprises Christmas morning and a special Christmas dinner. Even though it wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Christmas I knew it was the beginning to the rest of my life! I was able to put the past behind me and only look at moving forward from there. My time in treatment is so many different stories that I would love to share with you all in the future so keep an eye out for that if your interested!

If you or a loved one is currently struggling with addiction know there are people and resources out there to help! There are programs out there to help get people into treatment as well as support groups like AA or NA. It’s scary to reach out but once you do, you’ll see that there is support out there.


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Until next time & happy holidays,
Ariel

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