Austin Gave Himself and His Loved Ones the Gift of Sobriety
When I had the willingness to accept addiction treatment on my own, I didn’t realize I would be in treatment at Lakeview Health during the holidays. At the time of my arrival, it didn’t matter anyway, to my family or myself, the length of my stay and what I would miss while being in treatment. I had ruined too many other holidays and family functions because of my drug and alcohol problem – my family and I came to the conclusion my sobriety was more important. One holiday season wouldn’t matter and I knew they would be with me in spirit. After all, I was entering treatment so we could put all those ruined memories behind us and look forward to creating pleasant ones.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approached, I remember trying to come up with every excuse why I needed to be home and not at treatment. I didn’t realize at the time that, had I gone home for Thanksgiving, it was unlikely I would have returned to treatment and I possibly would have relapsed. I continued to talk with my parents and therapist as it approached, and we all came to the conclusion I would remain in treatment through the Thanksgiving holiday since it would be the safest place for me to be.
So what was it like being at Lakeview Health during the holidays? Well, the day came and it was difficult at first, but I felt I had begun to develop a relationship with my community and knew we would all have the same feelings of missing our loved ones. We came together and ended up having a great day with good food, conversation, and all the things people associate with Thanksgiving. I know my family would have loved for me to spend the day with them, but again, they also knew I was in a life or death situation and took it very seriously by accepting the best place for me was at treatment. I got through the holiday and left treatment a changed person ready to embrace what the world had to offer.
I understand family is important and I would do anything for my family, but for that one moment in time sobriety was the most important thing. I didn’t want to take any chances on something fatal happening leading to me missing many more holidays with my family. Because of my decision to go through and stay in treatment during a holiday, I can proudly tell you I’ve spent my third sober Thanksgivings with my family having a blast with them. I would have never experienced that if I were still under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When I work with patients who are in treatment for the holidays, I talk with them to see where they’re at mentally and I’m honest with them in sharing my experience. I tell them to look at the bigger picture – this is only a short period of time that will affect the rest of their lives. It’s really helpful being with other people going through the same thing and utilizing the same program.
During the holidays, Lakeview Health really tried to make it special for the patients through activities and even making sure to serve the food we would eat outside of treatment. The last thing anyone needs to do is isolate themselves, so there were activities to keep us engaged with each other. If we had family in town, they were allowed to come visit ON the holiday so we weren’t going without seeing them entirely. As addicts, our minds go to the worst possible scenario and darkest places, but I had to remember that being in treatment was the best gift I could give my family because they knew I was alive and safe instead of being worried when I disappeared to the streets. The biggest advice I would give someone about to enter treatment during the holidays is to talk to someone about it – that’s the key to recovery regardless if it’s a big holiday or not.
“I thank Lakeview Health staff and Stepping Stone staff for making it possible for me to give the gift of sobriety to my family. Today I work as a BHA at Lakeview Health. This year I will have the opportunity of working Christmas at Lakeview and giving hope and experience to the clients here during the holidays.”
Give the Gift of Sobriety.