Isolation, Relapses, Recovery, and Finding My Path
It always started the same. I would get out of a treatment facility or detox center feeling confident and ready to get back to my life and do what needed to be done. In hindsight I can see that therein lied a problem, I was going back to “my life” without making any real changes. It is not that my life was bad or that I came from a bad childhood or anything like that. It is not that I did not have a supportive family because I did. I had an amazing childhood and a great support system; my two parents and two younger sisters were all very supportive of what I was trying to do in finding a better life for myself. I felt lucky because I was always given a great opportunity and good environment to finally get things right every time that I left a treatment program. I know many people do not have this advantage. The problem was that I was still me, I was still that same lost young man with no direction or plan for a future. These were at max 28-day programs, less than a month removed from abusing drugs and alcohol. I have never left treatment with the desire or even a thought in my mind to go back living the way I was, to the drinking, abusing drugs, and taking advantage of people trying to help me. For whatever reason, it kept happening, like my life was a sad story on repeat.
As I look back at my past mistakes and where I went wrong, I can directly correlate one thing to my relapses, and that is isolation. Isolation is tricky for me because I liked my time alone, it was comfortable for me to be by myself, watch movies or play video games and just relax, at least that is how I thought. The truth is I did not know what I liked or wanted, I had spent my entire life, since I can remember, getting drunk and using drugs. Without alcohol or drugs, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted or even how to act. So, I chose to isolate. Not even knowing or being aware of what was happening, I was already setting myself up to fail by choosing to act this way. I stopped engaging in family activities with my parents, conversations with my sisters, and began to keep to myself more and more. My parents and sisters would constantly ask if I was okay or If I had slipped up and started using again and the truth was that I had not yet. But it was coming, and they knew it, I was just unable to see it. As an addict, I can only go on isolating like this and getting lost in my thoughts before they become irrational. Those thoughts inevitably led me back to my old ways of living.
This was a vicious cycle that would continue for many years, where I get help, then isolate, and eventually relapse. Eventually, I was no longer able to try and figure things out in the comfort of my own home surrounded by family after I got out of a treatment center, I had burned too many bridges with my family and taken advantage of too many situations. I remember begging my father to let me come home after two years of parading and partying around Florida, living the way I thought I wanted to live. He gave me an ultimatum. If I go to a long-term treatment center, he will give me one last chance at home. After completing the Narconon program I went home to be with my family.
“The Narconon program provided me with some great tools to help me jump-start my life.”
The Narconon program provided me with some great tools to help me jump-start my life. I was able to find a good-paying job and was working on fixing the relationships I had destroyed throughout my addiction. There was still one problem, however, I felt myself slipping into that old habit of isolation.Then came the quarantine.
I was stuck there for quite some time, isolating, and feeling alone, and began to have some of those irrational thoughts that in the past had sent me in a downward spiral.
Something incredible happened this time, however. I was able to identify what was happening and was aware of the eventual outcome if I did not make a change. I decided to do something about it before it created the results of the past. I made the difficult decision to leave my family and make the changes I knew were necessary, something I had never done before. Now over a year after graduating Narconon Suncoast, I was able to tap into the abilities that I gained while on my program and use that awareness to find a job that created the connections with people that I knew I needed, all while in a field that brings me fulfillment. Being able to recognize and meet the challenges laid in front of me, make positive changes for my life, all while remaining drug-free is a testament to the foundation that I built while on my program. It is perhaps the greatest feeling in the world to know that foundation not only exists, but is still growing stronger as I continue to embark on a drug-free life full of new and exciting possibilities.
—Tom S., Narconon Suncoast Graduate