I was in tears when I called a friend and begged him to help me find a rehabilitation center. At the tail end of an extended bender, I had been up the entire night, trying to drink enough to relieve the overwhelming anxiety which had become a constant part of my life. After 20 years of hard drinking and drugging, I was exhausted, physically dependent on alcohol, and I could no longer face my day-to-day routine.
The car ride from my home, down here to the Raleigh House of Hope, seemed excruciatingly long in my panicked state of mind. It was exhilarating to finally be taking action, but it was terrifying to admit to the world that I had significant problems and that I could not manage them on my own. I had been hiding my problems from my work, from my friends, and from my family. I had been doing so for my entire life.
From the moment I walked in through the front door, the staff at Raleigh House was kind, accepting and understanding. I had been living a very isolated life for many years, so it was shocking to suddenly be surrounded by a bunch of people who knew all about my problems and simply wanted to help. It was even more of a shock to move into a house with other clients—a bunch of strangers at first, friends later—who all had their own stories, but who were also trying to find a new and better way to live. Sharing meals and a home with other recovering addicts like me, living under some basic rules, pitching in on some minor cleaning and keeping my bed made, all added to a sense of stability and safety which I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
The Behavioral Health Technicians here at Raleigh House have been amazing. They take on the unenviable task of caring for clients with a host of physical and emotional problems resulting from their addictions. They have put up with all of us while we’ve been at our worst, and they have done so with patience, empathy, and with a judicious helping of firmness, where appropriate. They have been an invaluable source of advice and guidance during my entire stay.
The group sessions here have been enlightening and informative. Though different counselors focus on different aspects of addiction, they have all made it clear that there are good reasons for why and how I became the way I am, am more importantly, that I no longer have to be that way.
My therapist helped me begin the work of digging through my past and laying bare the truth about how I was raised, both the good parts and the bad parts, and how that all is affecting me and my life in the present. I say begin the work because this is something I will necessarily have to work on for many years to come, learning to understand my origins, accept the reality of my past, forgive myself and others, and finally let go and move on.
I’m leaving Raleigh House with a newfound sense of hope and excitement. I am returning to the same job and to the same house, to the same bills and to the same aggravations, but I’m starting a brand-new life all the same. Raleigh House has been an invaluable sanctuary for me.