Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Rehab Experience

This was the day I left for rehab. I bawled the entire drive there.

Nobody was more against me going to rehab than I was. 

I had so many fears. I was worried I would feel trapped. I was worried I would miss my family too much. I was worried that I wouldn't fit in. I was scared of committing to sobriety. But most of all, I was TERRIFIED of facing all of my demons and surviving without being heavily medicated.

I went to Turning Point in Sandy, just down the road from my house. Turning Point is a non 12 step program that focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy combined with educating on the disease model of addiction. 

This was the best fit for me by far. Every addict needs to find a treatment program that works for them, and for me, this was exactly what I needed. 

At Turning Point, we lived in a really comfortable environment that was conducive to recovery. We weren't allowed to have caffeine or sugar except on the weekends. We had amazing meals cooked with whole foods. I was obsessed with all of the fresh fruit we had every day. We worked out two hours a day. We had fun sober activities every weekend. We went on walks. We went to coffee once or twice a week. Basically, what I am saying is that our schedules were PACKED. Not once did I feel stuck or like I was trapped. 

As far as therapy, we did a couple group sessions a day. One group session a day was cognitive behavioral based. We also met with an individual counselor three times a week. Every other week, we had a family group session with our families. 

Some of the fun things we did on weekends: we went to a movie every Saturday. We went rock climbing, to Boondocks, bowling, to the Snowbird Spa, we played laser tag, got treats at the gas station (the gas station runs were highly important), we went to Target once a week, we went to Color Me Mine, we went Ice Skating at the Gallivan Center, went to Barnes and Noble every weekend. So basically, we learned how we could have fun sober. We also had a lot of down time on the weekends so that we had time to just sit by ourselves and learn how to be sober through the boring times. We also had yoga class once a week. Another positive thing was that I actually got to take a nap every day. This was HIGHLY important!

So like I said, I was never once bored. This model of recovery was exactly what I needed. Almost every staff member, including my therapist, was in recovery. They never talked down to us, because they knew EXACTLY what we were going through. 

My experience at Turning Point was so positive. An answer to many many desperate prayers. The only regret that I have is that I didn't go sooner. I actually still see my Dr who is an addictionologist once every 2 months (he is also in recovery- so awesome!) I see my therapist from Turning Point still once a week ever since I have gotten out. I really can't say enough positive things about Turning Point. 

I went during the Holidays (Nov & Dec) and I didn't care that I was missing all of the festivities at all. I could still call my family and friends and see them every Sunday. I didn't miss not having a phone or Facebook at all!

My biggest encouragement in rehab was this letter from my niece Kali that I carried with me everywhere I went: 

Dear Kelli, 
I hope you are feeling better. I want you not to be sick. I know what it feels like to be sick. I want you to have an awesome fun time. I love you so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so much. I am glad you are my aunt. I will visit you on Sunday. Hope you feel better. 
Love, Kali

I don't know if she will ever know how much that letter meant to me. It pretty much got me through the dark times I had. I am so lucky to have so many people in my life that love me!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

100 Days Sober

I really truly honestly didn't believe in myself enough to believe I could stay sober for 100 days. I am actually still in shock. 

Self medicating was just second nature to me. If I was bored, happy, worried, sad, stressed, etc. I would take something. Every social situation I was on something. Besides from Nov 2011-Aug 2012, this is the longest period of sobriety I have ever had. I couldn't stop smiling yesterday. 

It's crazy to reflect on the past 100 days. The first couple days were really hard, because it's always hard the first couple of days. Then, there were the awkward days. The days where I honestly didn't know what to do with myself because I wasn't getting high and I also wasn't even running, because I wanted to learn how to handle life without drugs or running. Then, there were ups and downs. There were so many almosts. There were so many times where I would tell my therapist EXACTLY how I was going to get my next fix. There were times where I felt like I would never need to self medicate again. 

But most of all...I faced life on life's terms. I dealt with my roommate robbing me, a job change, getting sick constantly, and many other tough things that I wanted so badly to just check out for awhile and not have to actually feel the emotions that was necessary to feel.

 I finally faced life and my demons and I survived. I am so much stronger than I have ever been. For the first time in 8 years, I feel like myself. I got to bed and my mind doesn't race with everything that has been building up inside me. I feel so much lighter. I know there are hard times ahead, but the celebration of these big milestones is what makes it all worth it. 

I invited about 30 people to come to a party to celebrate 100 days of sobriety and pretty much every single person I invited showed up to support me. It meant so much to know that I literally have an army behind me  to help fight the battle of addiction. It makes me feel so much more capable, grateful, and humble. Thank you to everyone who has reached out in support of me. I mean, to proclaim that I have been sober for 100 days and get over 100 likes on Facebook is pretty rad!

Here's some pics lately:

They say that when you give up one addiction, you should be aware of cross-addiction. I am fully aware that my cross addiction is shopping. I'm totally cool with that!

Being this kid's hero is probably my absolute most favorite part of my life!!

Decorating an Easter cake at the family Easter party!

She's such a good Blog poser!

Easter Egg Hunt! Yes, I still participate in finding the eggs with all of the kids!

I have tried so hard to get a good picture of this gorgeous little girl, but she always dodges the family paparazzi!

Easter Sunday!

I'm back to running regularly and loving it! I got cleared by my Dr. to run a Half Marathon this summer as long as I actually train for it this time!

My run after work was JUST what I needed!

I don't check my sobriety calendar too often, because I don't want white knuckle my sobriety day by day. But I definitely checked it yesterday!!

Again, THANK YOU to all of the love and support that I have received these past few months. I couldn't have done it without everyone's support, it means so much!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I am in such a good place right now. 

I am enjoying my new house and have some awesome new roommates.

It's finally warm outside and it makes me SO happy!

I love my job at RANLife. It's probably my favorite work environment ever and I love being a loan officer and working with new people every day!

I am just loving being able to focus on myself and take care of myelf. I love having alone time and really focusing on positive things. It's amazing how free I feel now that I have faced all of my fears and demons and survived. It was SO hard but incredibly worth it! I'm just focused on myself, my job, and my body (exercise, healthy food, good sleep, taking time to focus on my mental health, etc). Love it. 

Here's some pics of my recent pictures. My nieces are out of town for Spring Break so this is one of my first posts without them. So weird!

The Loft just got my absolute most favorite pants for work EVER! I go to the Loft during lunch hour on Tuesdays now, because Tuesdays are my hardest work days. Shopping Addict? Most likely. :-)

Ten dollar watch? SURE!

Picnic lunch at Liberty Park was AMAZING. So gorgeous and totally worth the allergy sniffles!

Sugarhouse Park evening run after work. Love love love!

There was enough light after work for a 5 mile run in a tank top! This weather is amazing!

Snowboarding on April 12? Check! It was so warm!

The top!

I didn't know that there was a tunnel that took us from the front of the mountain to the back of the mountain. It was so rad!

Good times. Happy Times. 87 days sober kids!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I quite honestly can't complain. My life is pretty awesome. I am loving my new job, my new roommates, the spring time weather...all is well over here. 

Here's some picture from the phone dump-

Whatever you do in life- NEVER EVER cut off of Cymbalta cold turkey. My body went crazy into withdrawal. I ended up needing to get some IVs and such but don't worry, I am better now!

My little side kicks!

She was STOKED she got to learn how to play football on the xbox with Austin

The rest of these pics are just the kids being their goofy selves. They bring happiness and joy with them wherever they go!

Have a Good Week!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Like every sunbeam in Utah County, the concept of faith was DRILLED into me as a kid. I learned the scriptures, songs, blah blah blah. None of it really applied to me in my life. I had to make some decisions based upon faith for sure, but they weren't life or death decisions. I'm sure if I had chosen a different major, a different career path, decided to marry someone instead of break life would be drastically different for sure- But I would still be alive and probably living pretty comfortably. 

But now my life is different. Every minute of every day I am acting in complete faith. 

Once I decided to live- my faith in God, myself, the recovery process, etc has driven every cell in my body. Honestly, I have no idea how long I will be mentally obsessed with craving drugs or if it will ever go away. I am told it does and so that's all I have to live by. And even the possibility of a cure for my addiction will continue to drive me.

That's EXTREMELY hard for me. I like to be in control of my fate. I like to make goals and accomplish them. I like to win. Living by faith is the exact opposite. I am pushing forward with a belief that my God knows what the plan is and will help me as long as I chose to rely on him. 

I always thought faith was the easy way out. It's so much easier to blindly live life  on this fabricated belief that a higher power exists and has a plan. I have always had a hard time mentally wrapping my head around that. I always thought that weak people lived by complete faith, because strong people would take control of their lives. This isn't true at all. 

Faith is HARD WORK. I know what is expected of me. I am expected to make MY recovery MY NUMBER ONE priority for as long as it takes. I am required to see my addiction specialist doctor every month. I am required to go to my therapist once a week. I am required to take care of my body as it heals from all of the trauma I put it through. Recovery is my number one focus and choice. I quit a job that I was making a huge chunk of money, because it wasn't conducive for my recovery. I have had to have a lot of very difficult conversations with people because of my addiction. Recovery is not just this blind walk in the right direction and hopefully one day I will stumble into a land where I don't want to take pills.

I am literally fighting against a disease at the biological level of my human body. Once you cross from "drug abuse" to "drug addiction" your brain is never the same. BUT my therapist tells me that it can be cured and I choose to have faith in that and do what needs to be done to get there. Being cured sounds a lot more fun than being dead.

I'm not saying drug recovery is this amazing experience and I love this awkward stage that I am in right now. It's not. There are ups and downs like always. I have to be accountable to a lot of people. I have to fight the inner shame that I feel every day when I think, "what is wrong with me?" or "I am a bad person". Because when those feelings come up- I immediately want to numb them the quickest way possible. When I think about the mess my life became as a result of my addiction, I actually have very little hope and a whole lot of shameful thoughts and feelings. I can't even run as hard as I used to, because running can become just as self destructive and addicting. I know my pattern- I feel like I am bad--> I numb it by pushing my body to insane limits by running --> My body breaks down --> I need drugs to deal with the pains my body gives me. Isn't that so insane that something that is supposed to be good such as running can actually be a huge trigger for me? I am literally learning a new way of life. Sometimes a more boring life. Sometimes a more lonely life. Sometimes a lazy life. But even MORE times, a life that is finally at peace with my past and ready to commit to the future and whatever that means. 

I read today that there are more deaths by overdoses and suicide than there are of cancer. Addiction isn't just for other people- dumber people, poorer people, less educated people, mentally ill We are surrounded by many many brothers and sisters that struggle with this illness and fight every day to beat it. It can come in many ways, shapes, and sizes and it will take you through hell and back pretty quickly. For me, it's a clear act of faith to save my life. A year ago, I would have rather ended up dead in the gutter than talk about my feelings (I almost did many times). Now, I understand my purpose, meaning, and how to get to where I want to go. I will do whatever it takes no matter how uncomfortable or hard it has to be.

Life is beautiful. I ate three meals today, had money to pay my mortgage, and have an AMAZING recovery team between my therapist, doctor, parents, family, friends, and most importantly that faith that is felt at the very core level that has driven me to nearly 3 months of sobriety. 

I'm going to make it!