Drug Addiction: Recovery and Success Stories

Drug Addiction Recovery and Success Stories

For many, substance abuse disorder can feel isolating, and the decision to seek help and travel down the path of sobriety can be extremely difficult. [1]McLellan A. T. (2017). Substance Misuse and Substance use Disorders: Why do they Matter in Healthcare?. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 128, 112–130. Seeking recovery requires you to change the way you see yourself, as well as the way you interact with the world around you. However, recovery is possible for you, and it is important to remember that you are not alone.

Stories of Overcoming Addiction

The risk of relapse is highest during the first two years of your journey. [2]Menon, J., & Kandasamy, A. (2018). Relapse prevention. Indian journal of psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S473–S478. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_36_18 During this challenging time, it can help to remind yourself that success is achievable. By reading stories of overcoming addiction, you can find the inspiration to commit to your own success story. Whether you are on day one or year five of your sobriety, reminding yourself that you are not alone can help you stay focused on what truly matters—your health and happiness.

Jules’ Story

Research shows that young teens are already more likely to struggle with self-image than their older counterparts.[3]Bacchini, D., Magliulo, F. Self-Image and Perceived Self-Efficacy During Adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 32, 337–349 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024969914672 Like many girls her age, Jules tried to control her life by disordered eating. By 14, she had fallen into drinking and partying, searching for a way to reinvent herself.

Unfortunately, she found this new person at the bottom of a bottle. For a brief time, alcohol made her feel confident and provided a way for her to connect with her classmates—finally, she felt as if she’d found a way to belong. However, Jules soon found herself surprised that while her friends were capable of drinking only on the weekends, she found her body craving alcohol daily. [4]Becker H. C. (2008). Alcohol dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. Alcohol research & health : the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 31(4), 348–361.

By college, Jules’ alcohol dependence was spiraling out of control. Alcohol was easily obtainable in her college town, and she found herself gravitating towards peers that used and sold drugs. Worse, alcohol had become such a necessity in her life that she couldn’t even manage to feel drunk anymore. Around this time, Jules hit her lowest point, suffering a miscarriage of a pregnancy she hadn’t even been aware of. Shortly after, her university asked her to leave. This was the moment where Jules finally recognized the true repercussions alcohol dependency had on her life.

Jules found a therapist who made her face the truth—she was an alcoholic. She was guided to a 12-step program that helped her understand she had always had a misconception of what an alcohol problem really looked like.[5]Donovan, D. M., Ingalsbe, M. H., Benbow, J., & Daley, D. C. (2013). 12-step interventions and mutual support programs for substance use disorders: an overview. Social work in public health, … Continue reading It’s important to note that becoming sober at 21 was far from easy—Jules’ friends were just entering their own party culture days, and she found she had to remove herself from them to continue pursuing her own sobriety. She had to start from scratch, embracing the spiritual side of her journey. Today, Jules focuses on reclaiming her life, using her long-term sobriety to grow, help others, and seek her own truth.

Jules’s story reminds us that we are all human. Most of us struggle to belong at some point, and we often seek the approval of others around us. Her story serves as a lesson that, while addiction can start early, it can still be overcome. What may have defined her as a young girl will no longer define who she is as a woman. Inspirational addiction stories like Jules’ help us realize that there is still hope for a bright future.

12 Step Program

Katie’s Story

Katie grew up in a household led by a father who once struggled with his own alcohol dependency. He had committed to sober living and expected his children to respect his rules concerning alcohol in the home. More specifically, he expected his children not to drink, and they did what they could to respect his wishes.

Unfortunately for Katie, this meant keeping her drinking private and away from her father’s household. She was able to operate under the false belief that she had her alcohol use under control until she found herself packing for treatment at the age of 22 following a DUI. Katie didn’t consider herself like “those other” people who needed treatment. Still, inspired by her father’s sobriety, she decided to change her life following her alcohol treatment and committed her life to volunteering at an addiction treatment facility.

Katie spent over ten years as an active member of AA. She eventually married her husband and had three children. She found a sense of purpose in helping others but soon realized she was letting her ego get the best of her. Inspired by how helpful she was to others, she felt she no longer needed AA for herself and stopped attending meetings. One day, after 18 years of sobriety, Katie began drinking. She described it as embracing an old friend at first, but soon the old habits of her youth were revived and returned in full force. [6]Menon, J., & Kandasamy, A. (2018). Relapse prevention. Indian journal of psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S473–S478. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_36_18

Within a few years, Katie found herself right back to where she had been as a young 22-year-old—this time with three DUIs and a yearlong jail sentence hanging over her head. Her sense of worth had diminished to nothing, she lost her driver’s license, she was dependent on alcohol once more, and her relationship with her husband and children had hit rock bottom.

So, she once again turned to where she had found comfort and support years before—substance use treatment and Alcoholics Anonymous. [7]Kaskutas L. A. (2009). Alcoholics anonymous effectiveness: faith meets science. Journal of addictive diseases, 28(2), 145–157. https://doi.org/10.1080/10550880902772464 While Kate was once the inspiration to others attending AA meetings to continue their sober journey, she was now the one being inspired by other alcoholics. Her addiction treatment support and her AA group helped her regain her sense of worth, and she was able to find her purpose once again. Today, Katie has recommitted to the sober self she always wanted to be.

Kate’s story reminds us that recovery is a journey that never truly ends. Even after years of sobriety, the hold that drugs and alcohol have over us is always there. [8]Hser, Y.-I., Yamaguchi, K., Chen, J., & Anglin, M. D. (1995). Effects of Interventions On Relapse To Narcotics Addiction: An Event-History Analysis. Evaluation Review, 19(2), 123–140. … Continue reading However, while Kate never guessed that alcohol could pull her back down so deeply and quickly, we can use her story to remind ourselves to stay vigilant. More importantly, her story serves to remind us that it’s not too late to pursue sobriety again, right now. Kate knew where she needed to turn to find her strength once again—the sobriety she knew provided her the best quality of life.

Find Your Inspiration in Recovery

Find Your Inspiration in Recovery
The road to recovery doesn’t have to be a lonely one. As you can see from these stories, there is a large community of people out there who are at various stages of their personal journey. The stories they have to share can help those who are struggling to see that there is always hope.

Recovery with the proper tools can help remind you why you started this journey in the first place. Holistic remedies such as meditation and mindfulness can help you remain firm on your decision to remain sober, while a dual diagnosis treatment plan can help you ensure you address the underlying cause behind your addiction.

References

References
1McLellan A. T. (2017). Substance Misuse and Substance use Disorders: Why do they Matter in Healthcare?. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 128, 112–130.
2Menon, J., & Kandasamy, A. (2018). Relapse prevention. Indian journal of psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S473–S478. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_36_18
3Bacchini, D., Magliulo, F. Self-Image and Perceived Self-Efficacy During Adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 32, 337–349 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024969914672
4Becker H. C. (2008). Alcohol dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. Alcohol research & health : the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 31(4), 348–361.
5Donovan, D. M., Ingalsbe, M. H., Benbow, J., & Daley, D. C. (2013). 12-step interventions and mutual support programs for substance use disorders: an overview. Social work in public health, 28(3-4), 313–332. https://doi.org/10.1080/19371918.2013.774663
6Menon, J., & Kandasamy, A. (2018). Relapse prevention. Indian journal of psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S473–S478. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_36_18
7Kaskutas L. A. (2009). Alcoholics anonymous effectiveness: faith meets science. Journal of addictive diseases, 28(2), 145–157. https://doi.org/10.1080/10550880902772464
8Hser, Y.-I., Yamaguchi, K., Chen, J., & Anglin, M. D. (1995). Effects of Interventions On Relapse To Narcotics Addiction: An Event-History Analysis. Evaluation Review, 19(2), 123–140. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193841X9501900201
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About Ravikumar Bhalavat, M.D.

Dr. Bhalavat is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, and provides inpatient evaluation and consultation services at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Maryland Recovery Partners, and Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Bhalavat’s background includes treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and dementia.