**The following is a personal story of addiction told by the individual who experienced it. BRC asks that you please be respectful when leaving comments. At the same time, we also welcome and encourage you to share your personal story of addiction and recovery as others embark on their own journeys to permanent sobriety. Email us today at RecoveryInfo@brcrecovery.com.
My name is Ty L. and I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict.
Seven months ago I was in a situation where every fiber of my being wanted to stop using drugs and drinking, but I could not bear being sober and having to sit with myself for one millisecond. So I did what any alcoholic and addict would do in this precarious situation. I got high and drank excessively against my will, only to find temporary relief to a much deeper problem within.
I went to a 3 month clinical drug and alcohol treatment facility in 07’, assuming it would be the last. I didn’t finish the steps there, but when I left I got a sponsor and worked all of the steps. I had a spiritual experience, got relief from the obsession, and made my amends. I started sponsoring men and making amends, resulting in me finding some freedom and a feeling of usefulness. After some time my program became middle of the road as a demanding full time school and work schedule taxed me. I let my ego reconstruct as I accumulated things and enjoyed some God given success. I seemed to forget God gave me these things the further away I wandered from the program.
The spiritual awakening I had been blessed with faded, and seemed to flow in reverse as I stopped working the steps in my daily life. I slowly stopped working with others, praying, writing inventory, and meditating. When I started having an educational variety spiritual experience through working the steps with my sponsor, others noticed the changes in my attitude toward life before I did. This time it was my regression my close friends were seeing, but delusional thoughts had already set in, and I couldn’t see the seriousness of my lack of spiritual progress. I always said I was going to get back on track when confronted by my close friends, but I never did. I started to become easily resentful and my ego reconstructed fully as I took complete control and credit for my sobriety. My mind was telling me, “You don’t need the program as much anymore, it’s been 3 years, and you haven’t really thought about drinking or using.”
My 1st step foundation was destroyed. I could not recall the head on collision car wreck, DWI’s, and drug related arrests. Nor, could I recall the pain I put my loving family and friends through time and time again. One sunny day Adderall seemed like a good idea for my last few semesters of college. Once the idea was planted in my untreated mind it was over. Within a few weeks I had a prescription from the school doctor. Thinking about that decision to get the prescription now in recovery seems insane. I think that its important to note that this would have also seemed insane to me after finishing the steps with my sponsor in 07’. My untreated alcoholic mind tricked me into believing the obsession that I would control my prescription. It was too late. I was disconnected from my higher power completely.
My grace period from lack of spiritual action was over. I bought the lie with a feeling that maybe this was not the best idea, but I was determined to use this medicinally like a normal person. I justified it countless ways as my disease won out. For 3 days I took the pills as prescribed. It was not easy doing that. The allergy and the obsession set in and eventually I was off to the races shortly afterward. 3 ½ years of sobriety was gone in an instant. I had no choice in the matter. I started using every kind of drug I could get and drinking alcoholically. 8 months later and in full addiction, barely getting by, I arrived at the jumping off place again.
I tried getting sober with my previous knowledge of the steps, but it was not working. I was no longer even a little bit connected to God. I did accumulate a few desire chips and new sponsor, but was still unable to get sober just through the rooms. The obsession was too strong for me. On a side note, I have a great deal of respect for people whom do get sober through the rooms. I couldn’t do it and I tried my hardest. I was in the place I thought I would never again have to visit. My soul had been slowly deteriorating from the inside out, and my life was revolving around lies and dishonesty with friends, family, and myself. I lived in this nightmare. I woke up day after day, swearing with every bit of truth and meaning I had, that I was going to stop after today. I wanted to stop for myself, but also for my family. I couldn’t put them through this once again. I continued to find myself left in a depressed state holding broken promises and drowning in self-pity. I was unable to stop. I was without power to stop.
Eventually, my pain and unhappiness was transparent to anyone I came into contact with. So I stopped coming into contact with people. My school, work, and social life became non-existent and I isolated with my dog at my house, alone. I was stuck in a tiny confusing universe with a black hole of fear, self-pity, and loneliness at its center. I lost everything I had worked for in my sobriety and most importantly the peace and serenity God had once granted me. I could not imagine going on this way and could not figure a way out, so I reached out to my family for help. I was out of ideas and options about what to do, what I could do, and how to stop. The only thing I knew was that I needed to be separated from drugs and alcohol or I would continue to use them. My parents agreed to help me “again”, and whom I am forever grateful for doing so. I gave my dad all my money and went home to figure out a treatment center to check in to.
Treatment was not a new concept to me, I had been to several clinical treatment facilities claiming to be 12 step based, which had not completely given me a solution to my problem and hardly cracked a big book. I always felt great upon leaving rehab with a positive attitude, but this would always dissipate over time and I would eventually use or drink. I hadn’t ever finished the steps (usually got to 5 or 7), and had no true connection with a higher power. Although I left “feeling” great I had not undergone a spiritual experience, which would give me the opportunity to make my sobriety sustainable and permanent.
My parents and I googled treatment centers and BRC Recovery randomly came up on the computer screen. I called and spoke with Tony. Being the spiritual salesmen that he is, Tony identified with me and got me excited about getting help. I really liked that I was to work all 12 twelve steps while in the facility. I got a slither of hope from Tony and was scheduled to leave the following day. What happened that night is a whole other story in itself. It was messy, but I got back to my parent’s house with no sleep at 8:00 am to get in the car and leave. They were more than ready for me to get out of the car upon arrival.
Arriving at BRC
BRC Recovery was not at all what I expected. I thought maybe this would be refresher course on the steps and that my seasoned treatment experience would allow me to cruise right through. It was the exact opposite. I was challenged to set aside my previous knowledge of the steps. Community members started working with me from the very first day. It brought me immediate relief that I absolutely needed after being in a drug-fueled isolative spot for 8 months. I was given the solution to my problem right out of the book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
There were no Hazelden printouts or “root cause of my problem” groups. I was surprisingly receptive to the strict rules and guidelines that they had at BRC Recovery, considering my sense of entitlement and previous treatment experiences with more flexible schedules. The hopeless state I arrived in pushed me forward without too much judgment and I started putting one foot in front of the other. The custom set aside prayer, which I believe came from Mark Houston, was tailor-made for me and my situation with previous sobriety and multiple treatments. I utilized it everyday and came to believe that I needed a new experience. The rules forced me to start doing everything different in my day- to- day life. I challenged my belief systems in a variety of areas metaphysical as well as conceptual. I got in the routine of trying to have constant thought of others while learning about my character defects and working the steps.
Working All 12 Steps
I worked all 12 steps in depth with my brothers and was able to ask any questions I had and get an answer. I didn’t always get the answer I wanted but an answer none –the- less. I started having an experience around my 3rd step. I was made aware of my constant selfish behaviors and thoughts upon making the 3rd step decision. I got an ill feeling after acting on self in the smallest of situations, but still had no power to stop my selfish actions. This was humbling, frustrating, and confusing to me.
After my 5th, 6th, and 7th steps, my awareness was raised and I got some relief and inner peace. I got unblocked from the Great Spirit, and the fifth step promises came true for me. I could not deny there was a power working in my life and in some of my brothers around me. There were no more obsessing thoughts about using. I felt humbled and connected to the spirit. I was given the strength to choose, in some situations, to do the next right thing instead of what my selfish mind suggested I do. I did not become a saint and still haven’t. I did notice how I felt internally after making the right choices as well as self-based and fear based decisions. I realized I felt peace and serenity after taking the right spiritual action and when my motivation was self-less.
Over time this became more natural to my incredible selfish state of being and my days were much more pleasant. My meditations at BRC were incredible. It’s the most connected I’ve ever felt to the spirit of the universe in any point of sobriety I have had. I became grounded and built a firm foundation for my recovery like I had never had. I did struggle. Especially after a few months when I started feeling better from working out, and I had felt some relief and gotten semi-comfortable. I got to where I didn’t necessarily want to do a lot of things that were asked of me. I didn’t understand the reason for the suggestions at the time. I did them anyway, sometimes with ungrateful complaint, sometimes without because deep down I knew my ideas and self-will thus far had failed me. I struggled the most with the recommendation to stay for 4 months. I also grew the most in my 4th month.
My experience showed me from previous treatment centers, that when I took the reigns when it was time for recommendations the same thing always happened. I relapsed. I knew by then that my internal struggles with decisions was my sixth sense that had been uncovered through working the steps. It was guiding me in the right direction. The sooner I accepted the extra month I knew it was the right decision and was once again at peace. Looking back the some of the things that I complained about seem so miniscule now and almost embarrassing considering the platform for growth BRC provided for me. I’m very grateful for the strict daily regimen BRC Recovery had us on. It seemed ridiculous to me at the time, but now I feel they were necessary. I don’t believe that I would have been as receptive to having a spiritual experience with out them. They made it easier for me to surrender and kept my acting on my ideas to a minimum. It also set a stage to observe my completely self-willed behaviors through out my day. I got in touch with what type of person I had become in regards to basic rules and entitlement issues both good and bad. I was able to see growth over the 4 months and came to believe a power greater than me was working in my life. My relationship with my God, which keeps me sober, grew tremendously while in BRC Recovery. I realized that I only know a small portion about recovery, and an even smaller portion about how to live by spiritual principles.
Another Chance at Life
BRC saved my life and set me up with a fair chance at getting sober. It armed me with a solution that can help other alcoholics/addicts. It is my duty to help the struggling addict. I also have no excuse to relapse on the fact that I wasn’t working a program of recovery now that I have a real solution. Ill be forever grateful to BRC Recovery and their unique facility. It’s where I found peace and learned to participate in my life in all areas.
Through the community based program I’ve made lifelong friends with my brothers of all ages. At 8 months sober, I am happy, joyous, and free most days. The bad days are either, me running up against myself by trying to run the show, or mistakenly judging my sobriety on the way I feel. I’m learning with my mistakes most of the time and I know there is a lot more spiritual growth ahead. Back in the real world now, life comes from all directions and I don’t “feel” as connected as I did while at BRC. It was confusing at first, but then I realized I don’t have the luxury of helping alcoholics and addicts every second and constantly seeking God with all of my time. I do however try to bring God into my decisions and activities throughout the day. Sometimes I fall short, but I have been taught ways to clean up the mess I make.
I know that as long as I’m in all sides of the triangle I will be in the palm of God’s hand – Lane R. It will be interesting to read this story in a year to see, given God’s grace, how my idea of this journey and my sobriety has evolved. Thank you for another chance at life BRC Im forever indebted to you for what you’ve done for me and my family.
**Rest in Peace, Marcus Bitar. You will be forever loved and missed. You are a part of my sobriety, and you and your family will be in our prayers.