When I got to Caron, I was convinced I was damaged beyond repair. I was defeated. I was broken.
I had punished myself for as long as I can remember, clinging to the idea that I was never going to be good enough. Despite years of therapy, I had given up on the idea that I could live a life worth living. My world had become so dark and so lonely. I was terrified and had truly reached rock bottom, having lost nearly everything that was important to me, including all of my belongings and my home.
An extreme perfectionist from childhood, I had to convince everyone around me that my life was perfect. Even, and especially, when it was not. I certainly tried to continue that behavior when I arrived at Caron Renaissance. I was determined to become the “Straight A” patient. If there was a Caron Honor Roll, or even a valedictorian, I envisioned myself at the top of that list. Not only had I fooled most of the people in my life, I had managed to deceive and charm my therapists, as well. Why would this be any different? Thankfully, my incredible treatment team saw right through me. Not only was I called out , I was challenged to dig deep into my pathologies. Even though I hated removing my masks, and was scared to death of what was beneath, I soon realized (with their help) it was the only way my life would change.
I always knew deep down that I was an alcoholic. The people that loved me knew, too. Yet, no one was ready or willing to accept it, least of all me. I defended my alcoholism tooth and nail. After all, it was what and how I needed to cope with daily life, one filled with pain and insecurity. My life had become completely unmanageable and I had accepted that was going to be forever.
What I didn’t know, or understand, was that I was still capable of real change. I found hope. I could take back my life, and my power, if I was willing to put in the hard work needed to get there, and to achieve sobriety.
When I got sober, I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I learned that I had so much to live for. My life was, in fact, worth living. I was able to recognize and celebrate my strengths, learning that my experiences have the potential to help others. I am able to accept my flaws and my weaknesses for what they are. Working on them, without judgement, helps me grow each day.
I had believed my story was all but over. Now I know, it’s only just beginning.