Chasing Sobriety

By Cassidy Webb…

When I was 14 years old, I took a summer trip with my parents to go to a lake in the Ozark Mountains. The highway was busy with travelers and the wind of passing cars was noisy and constant. We came upon a tunnel that ran straight through one of the mountains. It was lined with luminescent orange lights to illuminate the way. As soon as we entered the tunnel, everything got quiet. I could no longer feel the wind rushing by the car and the lighting was dim. Everything was still and calm. This is what it was like the first time I tried heroin. Calm, quiet, and still.

I chased that feeling for years. I’d always struggled with anxiety and I never really felt like I fit in with the people around me. For a time, heroin worked for me. I was able to quiet the rushing thoughts in my head and feel at peace.

Eventually, heroin ceased to bring me peace and brought me nothing but chaos. I ended up losing a scholarship to college and getting arrested for distribution of a controlled substance, but this still wasn’t enough to make me want sobriety. I spent the last year of my active addiction in a deep depression. I was unable to maintain a job because I was unreliable and untrustworthy. My addiction had progressed so badly that my last day at work before I got sober I was found by a coworker on the bathroom floor: I had overdosed. When I woke up in the hospital, I was furious. I wanted nothing more than to die. I truly saw no way out of the grips of opiate addiction.

Upon release from the hospital, I went to get more. I had every intention of using enough heroin to ensure that I would overdose and never wake up. I went to an empty parking lot, got my fix ready, and told myself that if this one didn’t kill me, I would get help. I was physically and mentally exhausted from living the way I had been living.

When I woke up I wasn’t angry this time, I was simply defeated. Every time I tried to get sober on my own, the physical withdrawals became too much to handle, so I decided to go to detox where I was medically supervised and slowly tapered off of heroin.

I then went to a dual-diagnosis treatment facility where I was diagnosed with depression. I was given a treatment plan, proper medication, a loving therapist, and a safe place to lay my head at night. Treatment provided me with the physical separation I needed from opiates as well as the tools I needed to cope with my emotions. It took me about a month to start to open up and actually talk to others in therapy. As soon as I began to talk about my behaviors and patterns while getting high, I became aware of the things that made me want to get high and was taught tools on avoiding those triggers. When in active addiction, I would get high when I was upset, stressed, or self-conscious. I then became so dependent on drugs that I couldn’t stop getting high. I learned how to talk to others when I am upset and express my emotions rather than use drugs to cope with them. I participated in holistic therapy consisting of yoga, meditation, and art therapy, which allowed me to relax when I was feeling stressed. Lastly, I learned to love and forgive myself for the things that I had done, by building honest, loving relationships with other sober people who loved me.

A key element in my recovery was relocating. I was living in Arkansas before treatment and I was so familiar with the town that I knew exactly where to get my drugs. All of my friends were drug addicts as well. The treatment I went to was in south Florida, where I knew nobody. The change of environment was extremely beneficial to me because I had the opportunity to build relationships with people who were also sober. In addition to new people, I found the beach and palm trees to be therapeutic and peaceful, which gave me an ability to escape and relax when I was feeling stressed.

My passion today is to help others recover from addiction as well. I work with other women to show them how I got sober and stayed sober. I manage a sober living house for women which allows me to constantly teach others the activities that helped me stay sober. Seeing these women regain the color in their skin and the spark in their eyes is the bright spot of my life today.

 

Cassidy Webb is a 24 year old avid writer for Journey Pure from South Florida.  She advocates spreading awareness on addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *