A year sounds like a very long time to be in rehab, but that’s exactly what I did last year. My battle with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) had reached its peak and the fight became a full blown war.
Why is it so hard to stay sober? I’ve done it before, but ever since I had relapsed several years ago, I have been struggling to put together any substantial amount of sober time. My drinking, although lasting only a week or so at a time, had become totally unmanageable. I was just chugging and passing out. There was no enjoyment in it at all, except for the ability to completely removing myself from life.
They say that this disease continues to progress even if you don’t drink. Something that I have always taken with a grain of salt—I mean, really? How can that be? But now, through my own experience I get it, I’ve been there—it doesn’t just keep going, but it also gets worse. I have never drank such copious amounts before and in such a quick succession. I have now become a binge drinker.
If you have struggled with this disease, you might have already seen the progression in your drinking. I remember when I noticed it myself—I went out more often, I stayed out longer, I drank way more than others and still, I could drink more.
I was sober for close to 9 years before and life was very good. Then I went through a very difficult, high conflict divorce and I broke and relapsed. What I originally thought would be one day of drinking has turned into many more. I’ve been trying to get and stay sober for the last several years but my disease has progressed in such a way that I am no longer able to quit drinking on my own—I have to go to the hospital or detox or rehab.
Going to rehab was very scary for me. The word itself carries an overwhelming stigma, and the idea of actually going away to rehab was equally (if not more so) overwhelming. Going to rehab meant leaving the comforts of my home, and everything I knew, to get sober. It meant asking for help. Most of all, it meant change—changing habits, behaviors, maybe even hobbies and friend groups. But as we all know, change can be good and going to rehab turned out to be the best decision for me.
Unfortunately, it didn’t keep me sober at first. After Returning home the real life would smack me in the face and I would drink again. So, I kept going back and that is how I ended up in rehab almost the entire year. Nevertheless, I have had the most eye opening journey last year. I learned about myself and I started growing my self-esteem, and digging into my trauma and the past that has held me bondage for years. I met some amazing people and created many close bonds.
There are many benefits about going to rehab especially since quitting drinking on your own can be dangerous. Withdrawal from alcohol can cause extreme and excruciating effects, such as dramatic spikes in blood pressure, insomnia, seizures, panic attacks, hallucinations, and and even death. But rehab can save your life by offering a medically supervised detox before you start the residential program.
It can also give you back your life. Not only did rehab save my life, but it enabled me to reclaim it and regain control over it. Living a life intoxicated isn’t living, and I know that first-hand. Rehab taught me how to live sober again and be comfortable doing so. I learned how to cope with difficult situations, without the blanket of alcohol. I learned how to set goals for myself, and reach them. I learned how to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle, and to make positive changes in my life.
Rehab also helped me get to know myself. Living sober involves learning more about who I really am and who I am separate from my addiction. Addiction does not define me, and in my rehab program, I started to uncover where it all began. I gained insight into what caused me to start using again, and continue using, and figure out where things went wrong along the way.
Now I have to practice all that I have learned in my everyday life and I keep working at it because I am never giving up! And I hope that if you are struggling today or any day, you do not give up either. Sobriety is an amazing journey to a new life in recovery that is full of endless possibilities!