Saturday, March 29, 2014

Road to Rehab 4: The Week Before Rehab

My last relapse before checking into residential treatment is something I will never forget. 

On my way home from day treatment, I immediately went to Walgreens and picked up a bottle of soma. I took 6 and then went down to my parents. That night, my mom was hosting a relief society dinner so I decided to go. Before the dinner, the soma was wearing off, so I took 4 more. After, I went to my parents house and cried to my mom about my struggles and fears. Going to rehab, you open a huge can of demons. Since I wasn't in a controlled environment and still had some freedom, I immediately coped the same way I always have: drugs. After I talked to my mom, I began making my way home. I took 6 more soma and then broke down. I couldn't believe that I had just taken 16 somas in one evening and I was completely hopeless. 

I ended up showing up at my friend's doorstep bawling. I gave her the pill bottles that I had in my car and she took me to my parents. I had so much shame. How did it come to this? I slept at their house that night and then the next morning instead of going back to the rehab, I went straight back to the pharmacy and got a bottle of 30 tramadol. I took 10 and passed out. 

The rehab called me and told me that I would need to check into their residential program. I said there was absolutely no way that I would agree to this. They respected my decision and didn't push it any further. 

I was so low and so angry with myself. I didn't even last one week in out patient treatment. I was never going to change or get better. I called my doctor and got 15 more fiouricet called in. I gulped them all down and called my therapist. She came to my house and just sat with me. She really just stayed with me to make sure I didn't die. I made it through the night, but woke up the next morning feeling completely lost and hopeless. 

That afternoon, I swallowed the last 20 tramadol and laid on my couch. I remember VERY CLEARLY plotting my suicide. I was planning on hiking up a cliff in Little Cottonwood Canyon and jumping. I was ready to end it all. 

Then, the spirit of my Heavenly Father rushed through me. All these images of my nieces and nephew, parents, siblings, and friends rushed into my mind. I will never ever forget that moment. In that moment I chose life. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I was going to get better. I placed my life in my God's hands and acted on complete faith. I called my family and therapist and told them to come over for a meeting. I called my boss and told him that I needed to quit, because I was going to stay in rehab for as long as I needed to. 

That minute where I chose LIFE completely changed my course. I told my family that I was going to treatment and I was going to fight to the bitter end to change. I went to my therapist at the rehab the next day and told her I was ready to commit to myself and the process.

I worked my butt off in rehab. I had given up my entire life to be there and get better. Even now, I am still acting on complete faith that this process works and I can live a full and happy life. As my brain and body has healed from the drug abuse, all signs and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder are completely gone. I didn't genuinely have the mental disorder, but the side effects of my addiction made it seem like I had Borderline. I am so grateful that those symptoms have gone away and I feel like myself again. 

I am 100% committed to my sobriety. While some days are extremely hard, I have never wanted something more in my entire life. I am so grateful that I chose life and I am still here today. I live now knowing that God has a divine purpose for me in this life and I can live addiction free the rest of my life if I continue to have faith in him and the recovery process. 

See, I told you this was a REALLY LONG story!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Road to Rehab 3: Fall of 2013

By the end of the summer, my back was completely messed up. I went to a neurologist, acupuncturist, pain specialist, chiropractor, and massage therapist and nobody could seem to manage my pain. To me, this meant I had a free pass to take all different kinds of medications. 

I finally got an MRI of my back and neck that revealed how screwed up it structurally was. This was my golden ticket. I could now show any doctor these results and pretty much get whatever medications I desired. So I did. 

Also during this time, I was working on my house which was a huge project. Addictions flare up during stressful times if the stress isn't managed properly. I wasn't taking care of myself, which basically is a free invitation for my addiction to come in and take over. Once my house was finished and I moved in, I had my very scary overdose. After this happened, my therapist was BEGGING for me to check myself into rehab. I said absolutely not- I have too much to lose with my job, house, etc. 

Two weeks later, I relapsed again. I took 15 fioricet & 15 soma one Monday afternoon. By this point, I really had no choice but to consider getting some help. I was extremely reluctant about getting treatment and came up with every excuse possible. I was so angry at my loved ones for pushing me in this direction. Going to rehab meant that I was yet again a failure. 

Since I was too prideful to check into a full residential program, I agreed to do outpatient treatment, which meant I still had some freedom and could still go to work in the evenings. I decided to go to rehab for everybody else. I didn't want my addiction to end and I didn't believe I was capable of staying sober. I lasted about a week in out patient before I would relapse yet again. 

Yeah, when you relapse WHILE getting treatment, you know you have a scary ugly addiction. Even the admissions director at Turning Point (my rehab) said that my impulse control was extremely weak and it would take probably 90 days of residential treatment to get better. 

To be continued...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Road to Rehab 2: January-May 2013

January 2013, I was at one of the lowest points of my life. 

I had just spent a week in the psychiatric hospital. My entire life I have been fighting against my imperfections, and here I was a complete failure at life. I couldn't tell anyone that I had gotten so depressed to the point of wanting to die and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. I became completely non functional. I didn't eat and shut myself off completely. The only comfort I would feel each day was when I could take my powerful combinations of medications and check out. I started working a lot to try and escape my head, but in the quiet moments right before I fell asleep, I would play over and over in my head what a failure I was. When I was in the hospital, they gave me a very serious mental health diagnosis. They claimed that I had Borderline Personality Disorder. If you look up what that is, it basically makes me look like a complete psychopath. I remember the burden this diagnosis put on me. I was never going to be normal again. I would need therapy the rest of my life. I could never succeed because of this diagnosis. 

Because of that diagnosis, I was recommended some very serious therapy. I began going to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy three days a week. This meant that my life consisted of work, therapy, and going home and getting high. I was so empty, sad, lost, and dead inside. I stopped doing the things I cared about and shut myself off from the world. 

During these months, I was taking the medications exactly as prescribed. After three months, I was completely addicted. I needed the prescribed dose just to feel normal. If I wanted any type of euphoria, I would need to take huge amounts of medications. Pretty soon, I was high every waking moment of my life. I carried so much shame and guilt that this was the only way to cope with life. 

By May, my life was spiraling downward fast. I had ruined most of my close relationships and didn't even care. All I cared about was staying constantly high. Finally, I got back to that dark place that I was in the first time I had wanted to die. I had concluded that I was too low to ever climb out of this huge hole I had created. The only solution was to die. One night, I decided to call it quits and took fifty fiouricet/somas. Next thing I know, I am waking up surrounded my cops, paramedics, and my therapist. I went to the ER and got stable and then wound up in ANOTHER psychiatric hospital. 

This hospital was even worse than the first one. It still makes me sick to think about how horribly they treated me. The purpose of this hospital stay was less about stabilization and more about cutting me off of my medications. This is when they cut me off the mood stabilizer cold turkey rather than taper me down like they were supposed to. The next few weeks, I completely lost my mind. Every doctor that I have told about what happened is shocked at the lack of care this hospital had when taking me off a powerful mood stabilizer. 

Throughout the rest of the summer, I had a few days were I would take entire bottles of Xanex, but for the most part, I was pretty sober compared to the prior six months. When I moved into my sister's house in July, I remained completely sober so that I wouldn't get kicked out. At the same time, my back and neck were in constant pain and I craved drugs like crazy. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Road To Rehab: August 2012- January 2013

My road to rehab was a crazy one to say the very least. This story will be told in a few different parts, since it's actually a really long story. 

Like I have already said- I have struggled with abusing prescription medication since I was 16 years old. From November 2011-August 2012, I was completely sober and believed that I had kicked my problem with prescription pills. Then, in August 2012, my heart was shattered into a million different pieces. I began questioning my life, purpose, beliefs, etc. I was overwhelmed by life and just wanted to escape. I decided to turn back to my old coping mechanisms and began seeing a dr. regularly to get a very addictive combination of medications. 

From October-December of 2012, I was very up and down with the drug abuse. I would lose weeks at a time. I don't even remember the holiday season of that year. I began burning bridges with people I really cared about and spent most of my time focused on building my career. I was completely dead inside and didn't know how to cope. During the holidays, my family began to worry about me. I would show up at my parent's house completely strung out on meds. At that point, my dad called my Dr. and told him to stop prescribing me addictive pills. When my parents went out of town, I went to my dr. and convinced him to continue to prescribe me these medications swearing up and down that I would not abuse them. He wrote out 120 fioricet (my favorite med) and 60 xanex just for one month. 

The week that I got all of these meds also happened to be the same week that I got really sick with the flu. I began taking pills, falling asleep, waking up and taking more pills, and falling back asleep. I slid into a very very deep and dark depression. I didn't get out of bed for five days. I honestly don't remember that entire week. I had so much medication in my system that my brain couldn't even form memories from those days. The only information I have is what people told me and by looking at what I was saying to people on my phone. It's so scary to me that I was still functioning, but have no memory. I dropped ten pounds in those five days. As I got more and more meds in my system, the scarier my depression got. Finally, one night, I decided to just end everything. I wrote a suicide note and gulped down a bunch of pills. 

Next thing I knew, I woke up in a psychiatric hospital. My sister and friends had found me passed out in my apartment and took me to the ER. Once I was medically stable, I was ordered to suicide watch. I still have a very hard time thinking about the week I stayed in the psychiatric ward. Patients in those places are treated like less than a human being. I can't even tell you how much shame I felt. Instead of stabilizing me, this trip to the hospital did the exact opposite. It made me feel awful about myself. It made me not want to live anymore. I still get PTSD treatment for the nightmares I have about that place. It's really hard for me to tell people that I wound up in a psychiatric ward. I feel like such a failure thinking about it.

After five days, I was finally allowed to go home. I got lined up with a therapist and was given a three month supply of five very addictive medications:

Soma- Muscle Relaxer that is also used as a horse tranquilizer.

Fioricet- Barbituate (My #1 drug of choice)

Effexor- Very heavy mood stabilizer. I suddenly quit taking this medication a few months later and went completely insane. I did the craziest things when I came off this medication. I went to the store, bought a body length mirror, and punched every square inch of the mirror. Don't remember doing any of that. 

Remron- An anti depressant used for sleep.

Ambien- Sleeping medication

So I walked into the hospital having been overdosing on fioricet and xanex, and was given 120 fioricet a month, along with 90 soma a month at a three month supply. If only that Dr. knew what he was doing... that combination became my world for the next year. 

I am going to stop here for now. I have a lot more to talk about as I tell my story of how I wound up in rehab after a year of being high every single day after hitting the jackpot of medications at the psychiatric hospital. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How To Cope

I am becoming the master of getting through tough drug cravings. Addicts crave their drug of choice as if it is as important to their existence as food, water, shelter, sex, etc. Therefore, when we say that we are craving, it means we feel like we are going to die unless we use our drug of choice. Imagine if someone told you that you could no longer have water- that's basically how I feel when I crave my drug of choice. 

Since these cravings are so intense and hard to manage, I have created a "craving protocol" that I follow. 

#1- TELL SOMEONE. This one is really important. An addiction  LOVES being secret. It's kind of like how mold loves dark moist places- addictions love secrets. If nobody knows I am craving, then my brain can go wild and I will most likely relapse. If I tell someone, then I can feel heard and validated and receive the support I need and get out of my head.

#2- Mindful Activities. This means doing things that require my full attention to live in that exact moment. If I am so focused on the present, then I can't worry about the past or the future then my craving will usually calm down. My favorite mindful activities lately are running, work, and snowboarding. On Saturday, I was craving SOOO bad. I knew exactly what I needed and hit the slopes and then went running. 

#3- Visit My Rock Bottom. My rock bottom moment was so clear and vivid, that I have the opportunity to visit myself in that moment and remember where I was. I remember why I don't want to use drugs, because I never want to fall that low again. I remember how beautiful it was that I decided in that exact moment that I wanted to LIVE and have been fighting for my life ever since. 

#4- Spend Time With Loved Ones. This usually involves spending time with my nieces and nephew for me. Spending time with them allows me to see how important I am in their lives and how much I want to stick around for them. Being with kids also allows me to focus on the moment. 

So those are the main things that I have turned to over the past few months. I can't believe I have been sober almost three months. I am so grateful and lucky to have my sobriety. I will never take a day of sobriety for granted again, because it truly is a gift from my Heavenly Father that I got to stick around and finish out whatever purpose he has for me. 

Phone picture dump:

When I was in rehab, we learned about the important of proper nutrition while our bodies heal from our addictions. I have turned into a complete health freak! I'm all about whole foods- no gluten, sugar, or white flour. I eat a massive bowl of fruit every single day and LOVE it! I am 1000% convinced that my healthy eating habits are the reason that I have been able to easily whip out 6 mile runs after taking 3 months off!

I was pretty much obsessed with my outfit that day. 

I make 125 or more phone calls a day at my new job. Talking on the phone all day really takes it out of you!

This Saturday I did so many of my favorite things: Snowboarding, Grocery shopping at Whole Foods, Running Sugar House Park, Visited the little girls, and may or may not have hooked up with an undisclosed male to top it all off!

Today at work, our servers were down. Luckily, I always have extra running clothes and shoes in my car and hit up Sugarhouse Park for a quick 6 miles! Just what my day needed!

Running this park never ever gets old.

The days of being tan all the time ended when I graduated college aka became too smart to allow myself to go tanning all the time. 

Seriously, how perfect was it that I had running stuff ready in my car?!

Life is GOOD!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


The above song has somewhat been a theme of my addiction.

I remember back in October I heard this song after days and days of being high. It brought me to tears, because every word meant something to me. I could completely relate to feeling like a monster.

Realizing I had an addiction was an extremely hard truth I had to realize. It made me feel stuck and lost. I couldn't cope with the realization that I will have these problems the rest of my life as a human being. Every day will be a challenge to stay clean. 

When I first became sober, I had a HUGE desire to sober up and live a happy life without drugs. This happiness, drive, and desire is called riding the pink wave. It means someone who has recently sobered up is just living in this happy sober fantasy land and staying sober can feel really easy. 

Then, life happens and the pink cloud fades. When the pink cloud fades, that's when the rubber hits the road and it's time to give it everything that I have. 

Some days, I really don't know if I can last even another minute with the strong cravings I have. Some days, I don't see myself staying sober. Recovery isn't all happiness. It means facing life and reality by using new coping skills that require a lot of practice and change. Sometimes it just seems like it would be way easier just to cope with life with drugs like I am used to.

Taking those 2 pills yesterday awoke the monster within me. It shot my cravings through the ROOF. All day today my head was spinning. I was plotting ways to go back and somehow reverse everything I did yesterday with my therapist to protect myself. It's so embarrassing to admit that I'm not strong and want recovery all of the time. MOST of the time, I do. But, I can't get on here and lie by saying that I don't ever want to use drugs again, because sometimes all I want to do is escape the world and use again. It's so frustrating to have my mind racing all the time thinking about using again. Addiction is a powerful tool satan uses to destroy souls. Luckily, I decided to fight back before it was  too late.

This is something I will fight forever. This isn't just something that will eventually go away if I pray enough. I am a monster.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Close Call

Today, I almost relapsed. 

Then, I remembered that I didn't want to go down that road. 

Since I got robbed about a month ago, I have found myself feeling pretty bummed out a lot. I also have noticed that I have kind of cut myself off from people in general. I find myself alone quite a bit and not really caring or wanting to be around others. 

I don't really know why, but it has definitely had an effect on me. 

This past week, I have noticed that I have been really withdrawn, just want to sleep, and can't think about anything except drugs. I even have read up on different drugs online and watched documentaries about drugs on Netflix. My passion for my sobriety has somewhat diminished and I just stopped caring. I let my guard down and even told my therapist that every night before I go to bed, I plan out how I am going to get drugs the next day. Typically, I will wake up the next day and realize that I don't want to compromise my sobriety and would never do that. 

Today was different. Today I couldn't shake the cravings. I couldn't get rid of the desire. By noon, I wanted them BAD. I had just dealt with a difficult client and wanted to escape. I made a phone call, and picked up some muscle relaxers at the pharmacy an hour later. 

I got the meds and just took the prescribed dose. I figured I could just take them as prescribed and do it in secret. Then, I began to feel the effects of the medicine and realized this wasn't what I wanted at all. I immediately called my therapist. Luckily, she was available and I could take the medication to her to destroy and she talked me through the intense cravings. Then, we called my Dr and told him that I couldn't get prescribed that medication again. Then, called Walgreens and cancelled the remaining 2 refills on that prescription. 

I am safe. 

I am so grateful for my therapist. I am even more grateful that I was able to do what was necessary to keep myself safe from my addiction. Sometimes, telling on your addiction can be hard but it will ALWAYS be worth it. 

Another day down. Whew. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Begin Again

If you haven't noticed, I crave chaos. I love making BIG changes like moving and changing jobs (clearly, as I have been a nomad for the past year). I am finally settling into a new comfortable and I couldn't be happier. 

I took a new job as a Loan Officer at a company down town called RanLife. My realtor worked for them and recommended me for the job, along with some other old friends from an old job. I have been there two weeks and already feel really comfortable there. I fit right in! I am in the process of getting licensed in 5 states. Right now I am in Utah, Virginia, Washington, Texas, and soon to be Florida when I pass the test. When I got the job, I felt like it was exactly right for my situation. I haven't felt that way about a job since I worked in DC. I am very excited about my future there. 

I got a new roommate who I already adore. She's so cute/clean/fun/PERFECT! After my robbery experience, I have been pretty turned off to opening my home to new people. My new roommate has really helped me overcome those feelings and my frustration with that situation. 

I am finally feeling like I am settling into my new life up here. I am getting more involved in the single's ward up here and everyone has been so nice and welcoming. I feel like this new normal is exactly where I am supposed to be. 

Since I got out of rehab, I got a new therapist (the same therapist I worked with in rehab). This was also a huge change. I couldn't feel more right about this fit. We get along great and have so much in common. I love seeing her every week and checking in with myself about what triggers I am currently feeling and where my head is at in regards to the relapse cycle. 

Spring represents new growth and change and I am so excited to feel my own personal spring in my life!

I already feel so comfortable at RanLife. I am excited about the possibility of staying here for many years to come. Best part- they are moving offices to right by my house! How perfect is that?!

I got the cutest new plates, cups, and bowls from Target! My house is finally feeling like a home!

Throughout the past few months as my body has been healing and detoxing, I have been unbelievably sick. It has really taken determination and healthy eating habits to get me through the days. I can't wait until my body is healed and I start feeling more like myself. A physical daily reminder of what the drugs did is probably for the best right now though. 

Ry and I took advantage of the warm weather and played outside on my long board and her scooter! I can't wait for warm weather!

I find myself getting sad that this kid is growing up. It's fun to see her learn new things and develop such a fun personality, but I will definitely be sad when she's a big kid!

Since I'm a Loan Officer now, I decided I should probably try to look smarter...

I'm two months sober and that is probably the most genuine smile this blog has seen in two years. I am so happy!

It's VERY RARE that I get off work when there's enough daylight and I have enough energy to run. I can't believe how out of shape I am! A mile was harder than I remember!

Thanks for the continued love and support! I attribute A LOT of my sobriety success to sharing my story on my blog and I am still amazed by the overwhelming support I received! Thanks!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February: Trigger Month

February was a tough month for me. 

I encountered many triggers and stressful situations that made me crave drugs intensely.

I am proud to say, I didn't give into the triggers. I am actually 45 days sober, which is the longest I have gone sober in years. I am very happy that I was able to fight through the cravings and stay sober. It wasn't easy, but it's definitely worth it. 

March is a month of many new beginnings, including new roommates and a new job. I am stoked that February is over, and I have a chance to make changes and move forward. 

Here's to many many more months of sobriety!