My journey began on a chilly Sunday morning in the backseat of a rental car. My brother-in-law was driving. We headed into the beautiful Berkshires — a place unlike any other that I had ever experienced. My mind was still foggy from my final bender the night before. It seemed so surreal. It was really happening. I was really doing this.
You are often asked in group what sent you to rehab. I cannot pin my motivations down to a single incident. I was not ordered by the law, nor by my family. I had not hit a ‘rock bottom,’ as such is traditionally defined. I was laid-off, but for organizational reasons. It had been a blessing, and it allowed me to change my life path. The previous decade was filled with telling incidents. The blackouts and emergency room visits were becoming impossible to ignore. Eventually, my luck ran out. And with my severance, a door had opened.
Thanksgiving was the turning point when I decided that it was time to get help. My sister told me it was the last one she would spend with me if I showed up drunk again. Panic about finding employment gave way to firm resolve. At this point in my life, I could afford to take a couple of months off. I had the means and no boss or work deadlines to contend with. New employment would find me when I was ready. There was no excuse.
Mountainside was a strange new world, but I immediately felt welcome. I felt like I belonged here, and I had a purpose. Even though I fantasized about relapsing on my first night in detox, I knew that it wouldn’t happen. I was immersing myself in the process with my mind, body, and spirit. For the next five weeks, I learned more about myself. I learned about others and connections. At first, it almost seemed like I was a different person, but I realized that I had become myself for the first time in decades. I learned how to meditate and loved it. I took acupuncture. What I learned opened up a whole new world to me.
A lot has happened in the 18 months since I left Mountainside. I went straight to IOP and then promptly relapsed. It was bad and nearly killed me. But I continued to remember what I had learned at Mountainside, and once again, was able to channel the sober, better version of myself. I went back for a second IOP, and have been in regular outpatient for well over a year.
I found a new job, and am in a position where I am thriving. While I have not kept to all of the new practices I had pledged to when I left Mountainside, I have developed others. I love being sober. It’s as simple as that. I love being able to feel things – even bad things. And even with the bad things, I now know that I can figure out how to overcome and not head to the liquor store. And I still make my bed every morning.