*The title of this post was taken from the Muddy Waters song of the same name*
Two years into my ten year addiction to drugs I was already in rehab.
It was something of a surreal experience.
I was on a co-ed floor of the hospital where the men were mostly recovering alcoholics and the women were mostly recovering crack addicts. The only thing we all had in common was the intent or execution of self harm.
Despite these facts, you could not convince me that I had a drug problem. I looked at the patients I shared the floor with and thought,
“YOU all have problems. I just need to get out of here.”
Denial is a funny thing.
It didn’t matter that they made us attend AA or NA meetings. I said the words, heard some stories, and felt sincere sympathy for other peoples struggles. There were people battling greater demons than I knew how to fathom at 22 years old.
The strangest thing about being a drug addict for all of those years was that I continued to see other people fall down a hole they didn’t know how to get out of. I just kept thinking I was invincible because I hadn’t overdosed or been arrested.
The fact of the matter was that I wasn’t invincible and I truly believe that ten years of shoveling every drug I could get my hands on into my system did damage I may not ever be able to undo.
All that aside, if you’re reading this now, you know that I came out of all this without a lot of scars.
How did I succeed at getting clean?
I was ready.
It didn’t matter to me that I was damaging relationships, my health and affecting my job performance. It didn’t matter that family and friends had suggested, implied or begged me to go clean. And for most of those ten years, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t pay all of my bills as long as I had money to support my habits.
I just finally had all I could take. So, I changed.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Maybe you’re someone who has allowed some patterns of addiction or a lack of appropriate coping skills to rule their lives. Maybe every time you felt sad, frustrated, unloved, unaccepted or stressed, you used food to comfort you (like I did with drugs.)
Granted, there are not many clients I’ve come across who have ever been drug addicts. But many people have let some self-destructive patterns dictate their well-being. Many of them come through our doors READY for change. So, we help them change.
And many come through are doors BELIEVING they are ready for change. But they’re not.
That’s not a bad or good thing. They’re just not ready yet.
Sometimes you can tweak a diet or get someone rolling with exercise. They lose some weight, start feeling better about themselves and ride that momentum as far as it will carry them.
Others have to sift a bit. They’re constantly dipping their toes in the proverbial water to decide “Am I jumping in or just splashing around?”
We’re happy to take any one on either end of the spectrum. We can’t change everyone but we’ve worked hard to build a community that has support coming from all angles.
Maybe you can take a cue from Mr. Slow-Learner over here.
Try not to take ten years to get your act together and start making yourself a priority again. Then again, maybe you’ve spent longer than ten years and you need to take a step back to ask yourself:
Am I ready?
Because if you are, then we’re ready for you.
Oh yeah…and this is Stephannie. She’s down 17lbs and counting. Suffice to say, she’s ready.