Tag Archives: addict

One Year

I’m officially one year and 6 days sober.  A year ago I was in rehab– scared and completely miserable.  I didn’t want to get sober, I didn’t want to be there, but, on some level, I did want my life to change.  The last year of my addiction, even though I wasn’t ready to call it that yet, had been pretty messy.  I hurt a lot of people that I cared about and I stopped caring about myself.  For someone like me to make it to a year of sobriety– and not be miserable(!)– is kind of a miracle.

My life is so much better than it was a year ago, but that’s not to say that my life is easy today.  I still think about doing drugs and drinking on a regular basis.  The difference is that now I know that I don’t have to act on every impulse I get.  I know that no matter how bored or how bad I’m feeling, drugs and alcohol will not solve my problems.

The biggest difference in my life is that today I have hope and the capacity to be grateful.  I’m also reasonably happy most of the time.  Which, if you knew me before, is also a bit of a miracle.  There are friends that I lost in my addiction that I don’t think I’ll ever get back.  Losing people because of my bad behavior during my addiction still makes me sad.  There are two friends in particular that I really miss.  But getting sober doesn’t magically bring everyone back.  And that’s okay.

Getting sober has been my hardest won accomplishment and it’s the thing that’s most important to me today.  And for that I’m grateful.


A New Diagnosis

This update is long overdue but bear with me. It turns out that the most ironic thing about my time in rehab was probably the simple fact that the diagnosis that catapulted me into recovery– bipolar disorder– was removed after I transitioned into sobriety. I’m not bipolar, I’m an addict. After being clean for some time the psychiatrist decided that my mood disorder was drug induced and at almost six months sober I haven’t had any recurrence of symptoms.

Initially, I had mixed feelings about the change in diagnosis. Just when I started to accept that I was bipolar I had the rug pulled out from under me. Addiction hasn’t been any easier to manage and they don’t make pills to treat it. It’s a different diagnosis but one that I’ll nevertheless live with all my life.

But there is some hope. People do recover from addiction. And I’m not a slave to my medications anymore. It’s been almost five months since I’ve taken any kind of mood stabilizing medicine and it feels good to be back to myself. That’s not to say that taking psychiatric medicine is bad– if I was really was bipolar I would certainly need to be on my meds and there’s no shame in that.

Shame is a funny thing and it runs across both diseases– addiction and bipolar disorder. And I’ve been learning that one of the most powerful ways for me to eradicate my own shame is to be open about my recovery instead of hiding behind it. Silence in addiction is deadly. By sharing my struggles and showing that recovery is possible I can spread the message of hope and try to help other people find the recovery that I was so lucky to receive.


The Best Worst Thing

Well, I’m finally free!  90 days of intensive inpatient rehab and I made it out alive.  And it’s great to be back.  My last week of treatment was kind of rough– those last few days simply crawled by.  Stupid things annoyed me.  And I was fucking sick of that food.

But in all honesty, going to treatment was probably the best worst thing that’s happened to me.  As it turns out, I do have a drug problem. I’m an addict.  But I never would have dreamed of admitting that if I hadn’t been pushed into rehab,  I had been happily swimming in the river of denial for years and probably nothing short of true catastrophe would have broken me out of it.

I was a high functioning addict, which is a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because I was able to skate through law school and pass the bar even in the throes of drug addiction.  But it’s a curse because being high functioning allowed me to stay in denial about my problem.  Loathe as I am to admit it, getting pushed into rehab by the Bar probably saved me from a lot.  In a lot of ways, it saved me from myself.

I’m happy to be back and to be sober.  A lot of things in my life have had to change but I’m looking forward to my new, healthy life.


The Upswing

I feel like I’m on the upswing.  I’m over 60 days into rehab (finally!) and things are starting to get easier.  Sort of.  I spent the weekend at home on a therapeutic leave from treatment, which was absolutely divine.  Once you’re about two-thirds of the way done with rehab you’re eligible for one of these leaves.  Some people are crazy and don’t take one.  I’m crazy but not that crazy — I was ready to get the fuck out of dodge, even for two days.  

Unfortunately, I’ve now reacquired the itch to leave.  During my first few weeks here I was (almost) literally itching to leave.  My life outside of rehab was all I could think about and was the only place I wanted to be.  After awhile, however, Stockholm Syndrome set in.  Things got easier, and institutionalization started to feel normal.  I got used to the fact that I was going to gain at least 15 pounds.  I got used to travelling everywhere in a white 15 passenger van.  I got used to spending my days cooped up in a big old house with 20 other women, crying and talking about our feelings.  

But with that little taste of freedom, 48 hours at home with my family, I reacquired that itch.  It’s not unbearable — I know that the end is in sight — but it’s enough to make me malcontent.  I just want to fast forward through the next month of my life.  I’m ready to get back out there, armed with the tools I’ve acquired in rehab.  Because rehab has killed my desire to use.  I’m ready to end that chapter of my life.  I’m tired of feeling crazy, of numbing myself to anything painful, and of missing out on life.  I’ve been living in a fog these last few years and I’m realizing that I like what sobriety feels like.  

So I’m trucking along.  I came in kicking and screaming but I’m finally starting to reach a place of acceptance.  I’m just ready to get my freedom back and start living my life again on the outside.  I’ve still got some time left here though.  And even though I’m starting to get that itch, I can tell I’m on the upswing.  


Righteous Indignation

Some may say I’m a whiner.  That I tend to complain.  Well, I’m not malcontent, but I sure as hell know how to voice my dissatisfaction.  And what I’m about to voice goes far beyond mere dissatisfaction. 

I’m irate.  And I’m going to rehab. For 90 days.  

I’ve been wrestling with the Bar Committee all summer, trying to get approved to practice in the beautiful state in which I decided to settle down and sit for the bar.   Well the bought is over, the final bell has rung, and the scores are in:  
        Bar Committee: 1
        Me: 0
Despite my disgust at having to be forthcoming, I disclosed my bipolar disorder on the bar application– which is mandatory.   I signed some waivers for them to talk to my two current providers, who I trust, and I thought the match was over.

It was not.  Next, the Committee, in all its warmth of understanding, twisted my arm and forced me to cough up 5 years worth of confidential medical records, under the auspices that my file required “further review.”  I was warned that anything short of full compliance would not result in admission to the bar.

I knew it was about to get ugly.  I braced myself for referral to a lawyer’s assistance program.  I thought they could do no worse than send me to substance abuse classes  (going rate is $100 a week) and assign me a mentor.  

I was wrong. 

And it’s gotten uglier.

The lawyer’s program called and said that, based on my file blah blah blah, they were recommending a three day INPATIENT evaluation.  

I smiled. I promptly scheduled.  I went in with a game plan: no crying, no napping, and, above all, I would pretend to be friendly.

My plan didn’t work.  
I’ve been sentenced to 90 days inpatient rehab.  

Why yes, I have been clean since May.  Yes sir, I stopped binge drinking years ago.  

What’s that you say?  It doesn’t matter?  

What are you carrying on about? You say I’m an alcoholic? That I’m an addict? That I’m in denial?

Oh, so you’re not interested in the evidence that proves that I’ve been clean for months?   And you didn’t listen to me when I described how and why I decided to get clean?

They were not much for listening.  

Well it’s not possible to win a wrestling match with the bar committee– they pay all the judges, fill all the seats, and fix the outcome before the wrestlers even take to the mat. 

And I’m irate. And rehab bound.


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