Real Conversations with Alumni
At Caron, being Real About Recovery means sharing real stories of real alumni to help other people who need to hear it and find comfort in connecting.
Here's a glimpse of Lauren's journey in an honest and insightful Q&A.
Tell us a little bit about your life before Caron. How did addiction enter your life?
First let me say addiction runs in my family. I believe I was born with this disease. When I was a little girl, my first addiction was sugar, then boys, and then drugs and alcohol.
Thirteen years ago, I started seeing pain management doctors. I had a bad back, I believe from pregnancies. My back is always in pain, and they were just throwing narcotics at me. Like any good addict I got really addicted to it. My addiction just took off when I started taking those. Everything got worse, my drinking got worse. With the pills, it just got really bad.
How did you come to Caron?
It was eight years ago. My cousin, who I'm very close to, went to Caron and I went to visit her. I think I was in a relapse at the time and I remember thinking, “I wish I was here. I want to come here.” But I wasn't ready.
My husband didn't know. I was kind of hiding my addiction, which is unfortunately something that addicts and alcoholics do. I just woke up one day and realized that I was using against my will. I didn't want to, but I couldn't stop.
I called Caron, did the intake, and they said, “Come today.” So I went downstairs and I was crying. My husband had no clue. I told him, “I'm going to Caron,” and I left. And that was that.
How did it feel when you got to Caron?
The minute I walked in the doors, I felt comfortable. I felt relieved. The intake people were so nice. Everyone's so kind, and the first couple days are in detox. I met my roommate within five minutes, and we were and are still friendly. She came and visited me a couple months ago. It was just amazing. I felt comfortable, relieved, safe, and heard.
Caren has a holistic approach, and I definitely felt that they were planning my treatment around what I personally needed. They were really trying to help, you know? It was not like it was a cash cow, like “bring them in and get them out!”
How did Caron’s Relapse Program help?
I went to my first treatment in 2011, not because I wanted to. I went, but begrudgingly. I just was not ready. So needless to say, after a few months I relapsed. I thought I could drink. I thought that alcohol was different. It's not. I know that now. I didn't know. I really had never been to a rehab before. I'd never visited anyone in rehab before. It was all new to me, recovery.
Caron helped me figure out why I kept relapsing. I was in the relapse prevention group, which was really wonderful. At my previous rehab program, they didn't have that. They just kind of threw you all in together. At Caron, I was with other women who had relapsed, and we really focused on why. “What are your triggers?” “Why do you keep relapsing?” “What do you need to change?”
How important was that community for your recovery?
Community is a huge part of my recovery. I used to go to NA, I go to AA more now. I feel at home when I walk in there, and I just love all the people. It's like having all the characters at the bar without the booze. I love the community. They are real friends who will be there for you, even if they barely know you. If I called somebody I know from a meeting, even if I don't know them that well and say I need help, they would be there for me. People genuinely care about each other. It's like another family. I love it.
What’s something you think people struggling with addiction should hear?
I would tell them to not be afraid to ask for help and that they are not alone. There are thousands, millions of people who have gone through what they are going through and there's help. They don't have to do it alone.
If I could go back and whisper in my own ear, I would say don't be afraid. This place is different. They're going to help you. Just let go and surrender and do what they say, which is exactly what I did. Because they know what they're talking about. It's just amazing.
How are you now, after treatment?
When I first got sober and clean, I thought that I was going to be bored. But it's the opposite. Life is more meaningful and precious; I savor every moment. I take in more, I'm more aware of the beauty of life. Before I was trudging through. I don't have to lie today. I'm honest. I can look my husband in the eye and know there are really no issues. I'm blessed.
I’m so grateful to Caron. I can't wait to be able to go up for the Sunday Chapel after this COVID nonsense is gone. I loved those services. Every Sunday, they have a service in the chapel and it's just beautiful. I happen to be Jewish, but it's non-denominational. It's for everybody. I looked forward to it every week.