I’ve always had this phenomenal ability of turning everything I touch into ashes so even though I’ve been clean a few months I still find myself falling down canyons I dug seven years ago and attempting to dodge land mines I planted when I was high. The battle at this point is against myself…thank God opiates aren’t a part of the equation anymore but that doesn’t make it any less difficult. It actually makes it harder considering the enemy is living inside my skin.
I’ve tried a lot of different methods to get that enemy out, most recently I entered into a “discipleship training program for overcoming life controlling problems” after leaving rehab in Florida. I didn’t know a whole lot about it at first except that A. it was faith based, B. it was a year long, and C. my counselor thought it was a terrible idea. She had only been right about everything leading up to that point so I figured somewhere along the line she had to eventually be wrong…I mean that only made sense, right?…so maybe this was that time.
I knew this “training program” wasn’t licensed by the state before I got there but once I became a client I actually started to piece together what that meant. We didn’t have counselors working there or any kind of staff for that matter outside of the director, an instructor, and a few interns who managed intake calls and paper work. Clients ran everything else. We were the cooks in the cafeteria, the janitors, the grounds keepers, the maintenance, the launders…everything. That included doing staffs’ laundry, cleaning staff housing, washing staffs’ vehicles, and preparing the staffs’ meals. We paid to live there and yet a huge portion of our work skill hours went into providing for their needs.
My first month there I wasn’t allowed contact with anyone outside of the program. I couldn’t make or receive any phone calls, send or receive any letters, or talk with anyone else in the program that was under 30 days. Even the girls I could actually speak to I wasn’t allowed to talk with about my past or if I was having problems. We were taught you went to God with all your struggles so talking with a client about it wasn’t permitted. If you did they put you on what they called a “talk fast” which basically is like being shunned in the Amish community. No one can talk to you, look at you, gesture towards you…anything…for a week. If they do they’re also put on a talk fast.
I stuck it out for 35 days then decided to leave. I didn’t learn a whole lot from the actual program itself but from the faith set up behind it I did. It’s one of those things where it’s so, so important to take what you can and leave the rest.
My dad dropped everything and drove three hours from his home to pick me up then drove another four hours to bring me to Virginia and for the first time in a very, very long time we had a conversation that didn’t involve shame, blame, guilt, pleading, disgust, remorse, or desperation. We actually talked about hope and it’s little things like that that show me how big God really is. There was a bigger picture, there was a bigger purpose, there were so many reasons I needed to be stripped of everything and treated like an indentured servant for 35 days at that program. There were so many reasons I needed to be in Florida before I went there. There were so many reasons I needed to be in the intensive outpatient program here in Manassas before I went to Florida… and now when I look back at it, even if the only reason was for me to be able to spend those four hours with my dad…I’d do it again. I would do it all again.