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Surrendering to Win

There's something about the 12 step program that works but it doesn't work for the people who want it, it doesn't work for the people who need it, it works for the people who work it.

What if all I am is all I was ever meant to be? I used to replay that question over and over again in my mind. I had heard that the age you start using substances is the age you stay at emotionally until you quit. I was terrified that I would be stuck at 16 for the rest of my life, repeating the same behaviors in the same patterns with the same consequences until the day I died. Worst of all I can remember being okay with that. I had accepted the fact that I was lost inside of a cycle that wouldn't stop until it killed me. That's just how my mind operates. Half of my brain manufactures crap and the other half buys it. I constantly catch myself believing that one day I'll be able to drink socially. I tell myself that even though alcohol is a drug I dont have a problem with it. But if I dont have a problem with it then I shouldn't have a problem with giving it up, right? Exactly. It's those slight reservations that get me in trouble and lead me straight back into the obsessions I've spent so much time trying to overcome.

Because of the doubts I carried very similar to that one I failed three consecutive drug tests in my outpatient program. Instead of my counselors kicking me out or sending me to yet another five day detox I was given an opportunity. Instead of receiving disappointment, disgust, appathy, or judgement from them I was given help, compassion, guidance...and a choice. I was presented with a life changing choice to either continue on the dead end road I was crawling down or find a new one. That new road, they said was 940 miles away in South Florida. 940 miles away from my family, my friends, my job, my house; 940 miles away from everything my life was built around. But it was also 940 miles away from the insanity addiction was putting me through. I was literally going insane. The question was never "What if I die from this?" The scariest part of it was "what if I don't?" It's a horrific experience to feel your soul die while the rest of you is stuck here rotting. Existing eventually becomes unbarable when you aren't really living. 

For the first time in my life I'm actually trying to take suggestions. My way obviously doesn't work. It never has and yet I always insist on white knuckling it through the storm instead of accepting shelter. I have an enormous problem asking for help. I came into a 28 day program and as of today have been here for 45. I'm trying to do things differently because my way tells me that after 28 days I have completed what was originally asked of me so now I can leave. My way tells me that I know what's best for me because I'm the only one who lives inside my head. My way tells me to that no one gets it, no one understands, and no one really cares to. My way gets me trapped, gets me hurt, gets me high, and gets me killed every single time.

I am the worst person for me to listen to so now that I'm actually starting to feel peace of mind I know it's coming from something far greater than myself. I don't want to get high today and that's something I never thought I would honestly be able to say. I can remember a time when 45 minutes without using seemed impossible let alone the 45 days I have now.

There's something about the 12 step program that works if you're willing to put in the effort. It doesn't work for the people who want it, it doesn't work for the people who need it, it works for the people who work it. There's no high that could fill me with the hope I see now. There's no drug that could save me like the salvation I have now. There's no amount of heroin that could give me the joy I feel now. Nowhere in any pipe, in any syringe, in any line, in any drink, in any blunt, in any bong is there a gram like the program.       

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Robyn M Johnson April 10, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I love your writing Amy. I can feel your anguish. Congrats on 45 and one day at a time you'll get to another 45.
Erin Gibson (Editor) April 10, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Substance abuse among youth is a MAJOR issue, especially with medications prescribed by doctors for no reason besides making money!! The risks of substance abuse among youth greatly impacts their lives and the community. Good for Amy for alerting us to this issue that many teens and young adults are dealing with. It is a problem and it seems we as a society are just ignoring it or throwing more drugs at it.
Renee April 10, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Amy, congratulations on working toward breaking the viscious cycle! It appears I'm not the only one rooting for you : ) Erin, I wonder if part of the problem is the drug program the county uses when they catch these kids. Most of the kids come away knowing more about other drug options out there and how to use them than ways to avoid them. Speaking from experience, it's a ridiculous program and a waste of money. They should be looking for a better program.
ssmith April 19, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Renee remember what Amy said...the program works for people who want to work it. There are free meetings for all kids of addictions, people will go & find new ways/things etc., at them but those are the people who truely are not ready to work it. This is coming from an adult child/grand daughter/sibling of alcohol & drug addicts that attended al-anon as a teen ager & ended up marrying an addict(gambling) anyway. All my adult life, i'm 46 now, I have had to work the program, although I dont go to meetings anymore, i have replaced them with getting my higher power fulfillment at church. Once an addict gets to the place where Amy is it is because they choose to work it & they have to for the rest of their lives. Just as we, the love ones & family's of those addicts, have to with them. peace
Robyn M Johnson April 20, 2012 at 04:03 PM
And ironically another issue is that parents don't want to put their kids on ADHD medicines because of the stigma. So as teenagers they often end up self-medicating with illegal drugs.
nicole May 06, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Wow this article is so amazing and so true! Im so proud of you!! This was beautifully written and I think u should keep doing it. You have the oppurtunity to change so many lives if more addicts would read this. This is the amy that's been in there all along and im so glad u finally broke her out with all this positive goodness! Xoxoxo

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