From a young age, I never felt as though I fit in with the people around me. I recall feelings of doubt, shame, and simply feeling awkward and out of place. I felt like I wasn’t good at communicating and fitting in with others, which became a void I attempted to fill through drugs and alcohol later in life.
I picked up my first drink at age 13, and those feelings of inadequacy slipped away. Suddenly, I felt as though I fit in with others. With a drink or substance in my body, my fears disappeared and I felt comfortable in my own skin. I felt like I was capable of accomplishing anything. The progression of my disease occurred rapidly, and soon the only people I surrounded myself with were people who also abused drugs. In spite of my dependency on substances to feel adequate, I was able to maintain good grades and an outward appearance of normalcy.
Right before my sophomore year of high school, I moved to a small town in Arkansas. Using substances to make my feelings of inadequacy subside ceased to work anymore, so I moved on to more dangerous substances. I began to sleep through most of my classes yet I managed to graduate high school in a drug-induced daze.
When I obtained a full ride scholarship to college, I was convinced that this was my ticket to happiness. I promised myself that I would stay sober, get my degree, and be successful. To my own surprise, going to college couldn’t fix me. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how firmly I believed that I could be sober, I could not stop. My disease had gotten so powerful that I couldn’t get out of bed without getting high. At this point, I got kicked out of school, lost several jobs, and no longer had any friends to call or a place to live.
It took a few months of overdoses and depression for me to finally ask for help. Sobriety isn’t easy, especially in the beginning, but it is possible. When I went to treatment, I didn’t believe that I could stay sober. It baffled me to hear that some people had put together weeks, months, even years of continuous sobriety.
Treatment taught me how to be honest with myself and those around me. It taught me how to develop and maintain relationships with others. It taught me how to express my emotions in appropriate ways, without putting a substance in my body. Most importantly, it taught me to be open minded to listen to suggestions of people who had experience and knowledge in sobriety. I had been beat down so badly that I was willing to let others guide me in my recovery.
Today, I have friends who I can spend time with without feeling awkward or not good enough, while being completely sober. I have a beautiful, honest relationship with my family. My mom can relax when she lays down at night because she doesn’t have to fear that she will never see me alive again. I don’t have to wake up each morning obsessing about getting high. I have people come to me for advice on how to get sober and how to stay sober and I am more than blessed to have the ability to share my experience with them.
Cassidy Webb is an avid writer from South Florida. She works to spread awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope for websites like louisvilledrugrehab.com