A former patient at Smarmore Castle sent us this reflection, looking back at their recovery journey, and we hope this helps anyone who is daunted by the prospect of treatment for addiction. You can come through this.
Reflection of recovery by a past patient
“As I sit here – two and a half years clean and sober – and reflect on my journey up to this point, I am overwhelmed with how far I have come. Overwhelmed with pride, with gratitude, self-acceptance, worthiness, and happiness- Things I never believed I would say but today, thanks to recovery, I can.
“In my years of active addiction, the lonely and soul aching months in the lead up to my admittance to Smarmore Castle and the days before entering. I will never forget the fear, the pain and the hurt. I thought living a life of abstinence would mean my life was over, but, that couldn’t have been further from the truth – my life had already felt like it was over, a constant loop of existence and abuse. The day I stepped into the safe place of Smarmore Castle was the first step towards the rest of my life, the first step to getting my life back, to being the person I wanted to and deserved to be – myself.
“Getting clean and sober was more than just a choice, it was a matter of survival, it was a necessity. And although entering treatment at 23 was daunting, after all, drugs and alcohol were all I knew, somewhere within me I wanted more than that. I wanted a future; I wanted a life.
“From the moment I had my first mouthful of alcohol, my first tablet, my first line of cocaine, somewhere within me I knew I was playing with fire, all bets were off. Whatever the substance it changed me, it changed how I perceived situations, how I perceived myself. It changed my entire outlook on everything, and for that moment everything seemed that little bit more manageable. Little did I know the flame I ignited inside me would roar into a blaze that I could not put out.
“Countless times my body was screaming at me to stop, but these screams were a whisper in comparison to the obsession that was taking place in my mind. And truthfully that was the scariest part, it wasn’t the nose bleeds, the shaking hands, the feeling of impending doom. It was the obsession that was living within my mind. I was a stranger in my own body.
“Within a week of a hospital admission in which I very nearly didn’t make it out alive, I found myself at the door Smarmore Castle. I remember staring at that bright red door thinking it was so bright it was almost smug and comparing it to a traffic light. Amongst the frustration, devastation and confusion, the questions of how did I end up here? Maybe I could have controlled it? Maybe I still have one more drink and drug spree left in me, A sense of happiness came over me, a feeling of security, because in all my life this was the first time, I had made the right choice. And if I had been able to do that, maybe I was capable of much more than what I initially had thought.
“Smarmore Castle did for me that I couldn’t do for myself, which was get myself clean and sober, to sit through the feelings and sit with the pain and discomfort in a safe and secure environment. Upon leaving it was only myself who could do that, but at Smarmore I was given the tools I needed to build myself and my life back up and reintroduce myself into society as the person I was always supposed to be.
“For me, Recovery isn’t just about changing who I was, or about Learning who I am, it is just as much about unlearning all I thought to be true, and that for so long my perception of right and wrong was warped. It has taught me how to live.
“It has been two and a half years of making a choice every day to be better than the day before, to fight for recovery, to fight for myself and for my life. There have been days where I did not know how I would manage to get through the day, days that seemed like nothing short of an uphill battle. I have come up against loss, grief, watched people I love relapse, lost people to this disease and have been faced with some soul shattering situations, but I’ve also felt and experienced joy, love, hope, and happiness. Recovery is a light that shines so bright that in those dark, fearful moments; I still see all I have fought and continue to fight for – a life worth living.
“I have gone from hopeless drug addict and alcoholic, to a young woman that suffers from the disease of addiction, but I am a daughter, a sister, a mother, a friend, a partner first and foremost. I have a roof over my head, a home to call my own, I have deep meaningful relationships with my family, I have connections with people, with good wholesome people, I have a loving partner and a healthy relationship. But my greatest gift and most wonderful miracle of recovery – my daughter. I am a mother to a little girl who has been born into a home of recovery. Every night I go to sleep and every morning I wake up I know that I have fought to be where I am today. My choices and decisions, the people I surround myself with, every detail of my life, every day of recovery has brought me to where I am today – for Me, for Her, for my mother, my siblings, my friends and my partner.
“Two and a half years – that time is going to pass regardless of what you do with it – so make sure you do something you are proud of. Miracles happen with hard work, honesty, support, and gratitude.
“Thank you Smarmore; by saving my life you have changed so many lives.”