Two of the most profound ways that Caron Renaissance impacted the trajectory of my recovery was by helping me shift my perspective to one of acceptance and gratitude, and by helping me change my personal narrative from the story of a victim to the story of a survivor.
Like most of my peers, my arrival at Caron felt more like a punishment rather than an opportunity. I did not think I had a problem, so why did I need help? Furthermore, I arrived with a lifetime of resentments and was looking to accrue even more. I did not trust the staff and did not believe that they had my best interests at heart. I thought that I was different from all the other patients and that I did not belong there. I thought that everyone around me needed to change instead of making changes myself.
Denial was one of my most formidable defense mechanisms, and I was not able to truly begin to heal and grow until I finally accepted that I did indeed have a substance abuse problem and that the staff cared and wanted to help me. I began to see that I was not being punished, but rather I was given an incredible opportunity to get better–an opportunity many addicts never get.
My initial breakthrough came as the result of meeting with the Spiritual Director, Laurie, and meetings with Rabbi Kessler. I sat in Laurie’s office crying, detailing years of trauma and abuse that I had suffered, in an attempt to justify my drug use and prove that it would be impossible for me to get better. I asked Laurie why all these terrible things happened to me. Laurie suggested that I could try the perspective that these things happened to me, and that I survived them, in order to help others who had gone through similar trauma. I was given phone numbers of other women I could call who shared their own stories with me and explained how they recovered from similar pasts.
Accepting my addiction and my past, I shared more and became more honest in groups, with my peers and with my therapists. I received the help and guidance I desperately needed. I was able to process and work through maladaptive personality traits and mental health issues. I gained much insight and self-awareness from specialty groups such as body image, trauma and sexual concerns.
I am particularly grateful for my primary therapist, Kristen, my family therapist, Secquay, and the trauma therapist, Meg for believing in me and helping me to develop trusting relationships. I was able to begin to take responsibility for my own actions and behavior, and see myself not as someone weak and helpless, but as someone strong and capable.
Now that I am 18 months sober, I am incredibly grateful for the chance to start a new life in Florida where I have a community of people in recovery, friendships with women who support me, and a life worth living. I have maintained my connection with Caron through attending a weekly outpatient group and by taking current patients on passes. I am most grateful for the opportunity to share with other women how I changed my own narrative and help them on their journey changing theirs.