Carly Takes a Vacation
“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.”
– Earl Wilson
So, now I’m on vacation, scheduled for eight days of detox. On the ride to the treatment center, I kept asking the driver to stop at the liquor store. I needed just one more drink. I hadn’t had a drink in over an hour and I was starting to panic. I knew in my heart, there was no way I could live without my vodka. Memories of my homeless camping days and living in a tent, quickly started to look good.
I soon got into the swing of things at detox, which required little more than sitting around with a bunch of alcoholics and drug addicts. I was terrified to be among these people and even more terrified about not having my vodka. I wasn’t in what you would call a “high-end” treatment center. It was quite the contrary.
I couldn’t help thinking, “I’m not like them. I don’t belong here.”
I’m a normal person who just got carried away with my drinking due to my horrible circumstances and great loss.
Yet, I knew I couldn’t get sober on my own and I was grateful to have their help. I started learning about addiction and recovery and I went to group therapy with the others. This all may sound kind of dull and somber, but let me tell you about another miracle that came into my life. This miracle was named Charlene and she was my saving grace for years to come. We had an instant connection. She is the one who showed me the ropes and gave me the emotional support I needed so badly. We’d sit together a lot of the day chatting. To me, she seemed “normal”.
The treatment facility also had a rehab center for ongoing care after detox. I so wished I could have gone there for a while like the others, but I didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford it. I was terrified to go home alone after detox. I couldn’t imagine getting through a single day at home without my vodka.
Charlene and I left detox and she suggested I join her at her AA home group meeting the next afternoon. She’d spoken about it all week long and how important it is to have ongoing guidance, sober support friends, meetings and a sponsor.
I met Charlene the next day and without her there, I know I wouldn’t have gone. I still didn’t think I belonged with “those people” yet, but I went along with her offer. She introduced me to a lot of nice people at the meeting and she helped me get a sponsor that week. This soon became my home group and to this day, Charlene is still my best sober support friend. I see her every day at the meeting (for 4 years now) and I will remain forever grateful that she took me under her wing.
This is when I really began to learn how to live my life without alcohol. I took it one hour at a time each day, which eventually turned into a week. When I picked up my 35-day chip, tears were streaming down my face in utter amazement and gratitude. I had actually done the impossible. I lived a sober life for one solid month and I started feeling better.
There is a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Life is like that. When I was finally ready to let go, the right help soon followed.
In less than two weeks, a home came for me and my dogs, I heard about AA where I was given direction and hope, the money I needed for detox came in quite unexpectedly affording me the help and therapy I needed, and I found Charlene, my new best friend forever. I didn’t know then, that a higher power was already working in my life.
“A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg, even if you are half-cracked.”