A gratitude story

I came to the rehabilitation program in March 2002, reluctantly. I thought I needed 30 days of program and I'd be fine. Thinking I'd done enough work over the previous five years to just snap back into normality. Even though I'd lost count on how many rehabs and detox programs I'd done over the past 10 years. Of course, I knew best.

I still find it extraordinary how deep my self-deception of addiction can be. No one was more surprised than I when told I was in limbo until my priorities were sorted - stay or go. Nevertheless with some sound advice and a lot of support I stayed. A friend said "take the opportunity of a lifetime within the lifetime of the opportunity" luckily I did.

It would be marvellous to say that all else since was plain sailing, of course it wasn't. During the following months, I was challenged continually. Many many many learning experiences and challenges later I completed the program.
It is what I learnt along the way, that I believe provided the catalyst for change, and enabled me to look at the world in a different way. The women who went through the program with me showed me unconditional acceptance. One day I was with a friend who asked "why are you still in supported housing?" I replied "when I walked through the door I didn't have to be anyone else but me". I don't think she understood, but I certainly did. I now have friends who will be with me my whole life long. They are in fact my new family.

The program showed me recovery can be tough going. Yet almost 18 months later I still haven't used drugs (including alcohol). Not that there haven't been times when I have surely wanted to use. But more importantly, I have not wanted to lose what I've gained — a life. I have a job working in a field I find satisfying. I'm in safe, secure housing. I don't take these things for granted. I accept responsibility for my actions. These are I realise, gifts of recovery.
For all these things and more, I would like to thank the staff. I found their dedication to their work and especially "hard cases" like me inspiring. I believe they do difficult, stressful work in an environment that rarely recognises their phenomenal input. I know for sure that I could not have gotten where I am today without their care and commitment. And for that, I am extremely grateful.