Today I am 1 year 8 months sober….
I remember having tears streaming down my face…I asked myself what was wrong with me, I had a great husband, 3 beautiful children, a loving family, a fantastic job, a lovely home, yet I was so dreadfully unhappy. I felt emotionally spiritually and physically broken. I was in the deepest darkest all consuming hole, I felt I could not escape. I was dying a slow and painful death and I was creating a tsunami of devastation around me and those who loved me.
After walking through the doors of Cyrenian house and experiencing 10 ½ months as a resident in the community, I learned that I had been in denial and that I was consumed with a horrific addiction to alcohol. Slowly this addiction wrecked my marriage, stole my children, affected my job and devastated my family. As quickly as I would take my next drink, so was my health deteriorating. My self esteem was so low. I had no self-confidence and felt totally inadequate.
I had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals, had taken a variety of anti-depressants, been to numerous psychologists and psychiatrists, all this was to no avail.
I took a leap of faith and went to Cyrenian House Therapeutic Community and there I began my journey of personal growth, healthy behaviours, positive attitudes and a life changing challenge. I became aware of my self-defeating behaviours. I realised after many reflective essays that I wrote and shared with the group in the TC, that if I did not change my dysfunctional behaviour, I would relapse into active addiction. The feedback empathy and support I received from my counsellors and other residents was without doubt the foundation of my recovery. I was never alone. The saying “I can’t but we can” prevailed throughout my time in the TC and although I have been out of rehab for 10 months, it still does.
Pre rehab, I did not know that I had poor boundaries, I could not say “no” to anyone nor anything, I was a typical people-pleaser, I justified everything I said or did, I was co-dependent, I would always rescue and comfort others, I neglected what I wanted or who the real “me” was. I compared myself to everyone. I had the opportunity in the TC with a lot of support and guidance, to explore these character defects, and became aware of how they impacted on me in a negative way.
We learned that we had worth and were strong and that we could endure the pain of our past, work through it and have acceptance.
By supporting the therapeutic community values, and participating in community life, I developed positive attitudes and recognised my own personal strengths. I now recognise my character defects and do not need to run, hide or “numb” my feelings. I have learned a healthy way to deal with them. I can communicate in a positive and assertive manner.
My relationship with alcohol was toxic and the consequences of my drinking had lead to isolation. In the therapeutic community, I realised the importance of communicating and relating to others without any mind altering substance.
Thanks to the program and the community I have re-established a grateful attitude and this determines how I live my everyday life. I learned to take ownership of my actions and past experiences and learned to stop blaming others for my behaviours. Consequential thinking has saved me from picking up that first drink!!!
Being authentic even at the risk of criticism or rejection is not easy, yet the importance of being honest open and willing is what I practise daily and pray for. This keeps me sober. I will keep using all the tools I have picked up along my journey and will continue to do this one day at a time.
I have my three beautiful children back in my life, I have a full time job and a lovely home. My family trusts me and believe in me. I am so proud of myself and love my new life.
I experienced so much pain and agony, but the TC gave me strength to face each challenge with courage. It was not easy, but it was worth it.
My main change after coming into Cyrenian House and recovery is that I have a desire to live again. Before coming into recovery I was morally and spiritually bankrupt and felt I had nothing to offer anybody, even myself. I feel I have got a lot better in my apathy and complacency. I have become more focused, positive and willing and open to recovery. I am still working on my self-will.
I have made a huge improvement towards my dishonesty and manipulation. I have actually used the spiritual principles of compassion and empathy towards others and genuinely care about others and try to offer my support. My self-esteem and confidence has grown so much. I have a better understanding of feelings and I have gained communication skills back that I lost in addiction.
I have gained awareness around co-dependency, boundaries and my inner child. I have a better attitude towards life again and am really excited about living my life clean. When I came in I didn’t care about anything or anyone, including myself.
I am so grateful to Cyrenian House and the residents and staff for not giving up on me and supporting me. I will not stop working on my attitudes and behaviour.