Addiction Treatment in Virginia saved this young man from an early death.
I was experimenting with alcohol just like everyone else my age did. So, how the hell did I become an alcoholic and a drug addict? My life was not supposed to go this way….
At the age of 14 years old my parents gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. For someone at my age this was a dream come true. From the cold harsh winter of New Hampshire, to the warm sunshine of southern Florida, I was headed to baseball camp!
January 1984, I arrived in Florida to play some ball. I remember the red clay and how green the grass was. The warmth, the sweat felt so nice to my body. Standing at the pitcher’s mound I was where I felt most comfortable. But this feeling would only last a day.
That night as we headed back to the hotel room, the other guys I was staying with were talking about getting some beer to drink. They were 18 years old and me just a kid hadn’t ever had a drop of booze. But now, I was invited to be part of the plan. A night of drinking and hanging out with the guys.
Although I felt a bit guilty, I was aroused by the idea of having my first beer. Before long, one of the guys walked in with 2 cases of Old Milwaukee. The moment of truth for me as I cracked open my first can. Ah, the taste and the warmth that flowed through my body was exhilarating.
I’ll never forget heading into the bathroom, looking in the mirror and saying, “I am drunk and this feels so freaking good. No care in the world and the smile on my face would not go away! My nickname now became smiley as the guys got a real big kick out of the plastered grin on my face.
As I drank the second, third and fourth beers I begin to feel real dizzy. After finishing the sixth beer I am now puking my guts out in the hotel trash can which the guys put next to me as I lied in bed. They seemed to get a kick out of this too. My nickname now went from “Smiley” to “Ralph”.
The next day as I awoke and opened my eyes I knew something bad had happened. I not only experienced my first drunk but also my first blackout. This would be the first of many more to come. I learned that I apparently threw up and went to bed. Nothing too enlightening happened in this blackout.
That day on the ballfield I had to deal with the embarrassment of being called “Ralph’ and the comfort I had felt the day before was now replaced with a pounding headache and a feeling of horrible nausea.
Sure enough, I would soon be back to more experimenting later that night. I caught my buzz but held it together. The rest of the week went about the same and now it was time to head back to the frigid cold of New Hampshire.
I got off the plane and mom, who was at the gate to greet me, gave me a great big hug. Of course, the only thing going through my mind was how I had my first drink, all thanks to her. She asked me how the baseball camp experience went. I certainly talked a good “game” and thanked her for the wonderful baseball experience she had given me.
The experience of drinking for the first time led me to want to try it again as soon as possible. So, I told my story to one of my friends and knew he had access to booze. Maybe he would be willing to share? Well, he was than willing to get together and booze it up with me. This time it wasn’t beer, it was the hard stuff.
On another cold wintery night in New Hampshire my friend and I stayed at his vacation house on Lake Winnipesaukee. Vodka, Kalua and Milk was the drink we would sip together on a frozen lake. I was once again mesmerized by the feeling of being buzzed. Slowly but surely this turned into a regular weekend thing.
Not long after, the liquid courage of booze would lead me to trying drugs. I never would have tried cocaine or marijuana in a sober state of mind. But the alcohol allowed me to feel relaxed enough to snort my first line and smoke my first joint.
From my early teen years until I was 24, I became an alcoholic and drug addict. I often would admit this when under the influence. I knew I had a problem. Every time I drank I was having blackouts and embarrassing myself. It was terrible.
So, I quit everything for 12 days in college. I felt horrible, anxious and could not sleep. “What’s the point?, I asked myself. “I can stop but sobriety was a miserable experience for me”.
But on March 12th, 2015, I had two grand mal seizures because of my substance abuse. This was the event that prompted me to check myself into a treatment center. I never would have imagined that addiction treatment in Virginia would be my saving’s grace.
I chose an inpatient program that took me out of my active addiction environment. So, for the next 30 days I could focus solely on my addiction. I also had the benefit of around the clock help. Mental health professions were always there to assist. They often had access to doctors, psychiatrists and nurses. All these professionals working together to address a my needs. Addiction Treatment in Virginia, and in particular, Williamsville Wellness saved my life.
What did I learn in treatment? How does a person maintain continuous sobriety/? Williamsville Wellness told me the following:
The Disease of Addiction is one that is not curable. But, just like diabetes it is treatable. Therefore, it is so important to understand exactly how drug and alcohol addictions can be stopped. Many people think they can just go to “rehab” and when they get out they will be cured.
Others might think that there is a magic pill that will help their loved one stop drinking or drugging. Unfortunately, there is no such pill. Some people try to control their addiction by cutting back, but this inevitably leads to an increased consumption of alcohol or drugs sooner or later. Addiction Treatment in Virginia
I was Having Blackouts and Embarrassing Myself Every Time I Drank.
For optimal success after Addiction Treatment in Virginia, I was told several things.
” People in recovery must often make radical changes in their habits, relationships, environment and life in general. Think about what helped you most in treatment. It is often the readiness and willingness to change; the improved communication via openness and honesty; the structure and routines of the treatment day; the encouragement and support; the changes in thoughts, beliefs, and movement towards your true values; the beginning of hope”.
How did I and many others continue this trend after receiving addiction treatment in Virginia? These are the steps to take…
- Follow through on your scheduled aftercare appointments – with your counselor/therapist, psychiatrist or family doctor. Be honest with what has really gone on with you.
- Identify and practice new hobbies, interests, outlets, and activities. It’s important to activate new neural pathways. Consider music, art, social events, educational classes, etc.
- Avoid isolation by attending meetings, developing new supports, exploring spiritual outlets.
- Remain active. Go to the gym, walk daily, practice yoga, swim, hike, play golf, shoot hoops, etc.
- Pay attention to your emotions and what your body is telling you. Practice stress management. Let out your emotions in healthy way (talk to a friend, journal, cry)
- Continue to be open to self-discovery and be mindful of all-or-nothing thinking. Work on self-compassion and forgiveness.
- Continue to maintain communication with recovery supports, healthy relationships and family members.
- Continue to identify your strengths and discover new ones by getting out of your comfort zone in reasonable ways.
- Ask for help whenever you feel overwhelmed, lost, helpless, and apathetic.
- Show gratitude and appreciation often. Help others, but balance it with self-care.