It was September 11th, 2011, I sat in the passenger seat of my mom’s car as she drove me to rehab, watching the cars and people go by. I was so numb, so dead inside and yet two emotions kept on trying to surface – the idea that I wouldn’t have to fight anymore to get my fix and anger – anger at being stopped, anger at ever having started.
I was confused, disorientated, lost. My mom kept on crying, asking questions, blaming me, blaming herself, blaming the world. I lashed out to stop her from talking, to stop the horrible and cruel voices inside – the sounds were too loud too invasive.
I knew I couldn’t stop using on my own, I knew I could no longer live with drugs and I knew I could no longer live without them – I knew in all my arrogance, in all my vanity – I knew nothing – especially not how to live. As we drove up to the rehab, I made myself one promise – to live I would have to follow everything they said, everything I was told – if I wanted a chance at life any chance at all I would take it, I would fight for it and I would do anything.
Driving into Houghton House, my new home for a while, the one ever-present deep green tree stood out. A lone tree in the middle of the parking lot, a part of but separate – kind of how I live my life. It would be for me a symbol of the past. A part of me I would say goodbye to and never return to. After I had been admitted, I sat on the bench overlooking this idyllic garden that slopes down towards the pool, and for the first time in over a year,r I could acknowledge something beautiful…. I had no idea of the powerful journey I was to embark on, no idea on the gift Houghton House was about to give me.
The journey, the foundation took 7 weeks.
I could write a book on that alone …. maybe for another time. For now, I will highlight a few life-altering events.
The first thing I learned was the deep denial I lived under – I believed my actions were good, that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself – the counsellors help me see that all I was doing was hiring people, including myself. They showed me in powerful ways that these were the actions of a sick person, not a bad person. They showed me the nature of my disease and the fact that I was joy alone in it – contrary to what every toxic thought told me. They broke my denial, painful layer by painful layer. They laid me bare, vulnerable and raw. All the lies I wove to protect my addiction were peeled away until there was nothing left. I got shown the naked me, hidden by over a decade of drug usage. Then they tended my wounds, they helped me with scars where I needed them, they helped me nurture and they helped me rebuild. One day at a time they showed me how to live, how to be.
As a grateful Addict Houghton House didn’t just halt my drug addiction, they ripped away the lies and helped me find myself – they gave me myself back and a program on how to live, not just an existence without drugs – but a life of serenity, a life of purpose, a life of growth, a life worth living.
Frightened I reentered the world, scared of how I would survive even a single day out of the protective walls of HH, but the counsellors helped me plan, gave me the guidelines which I stuck to religiously. One day a time, make sure I do the next right thing, go to meetings, get a sponsor, do service, help the newcomer.
Well for the first year I did a meeting every single day with a few exceptions. I made new friends in recovery, I surrounded myself with the principles of recovery and the 12 step fellowship I belonged to.
The counsellors said they couldn’t promise I wouldn’t use it again but that they had given me the tools to make it my choice. And I chose every day to stay clean, I chose to make the company I kept to be of wholesome and life directed values. They said life would be life as a grateful Addict and I had to accept life on its own terms, do what I can, and when the choices were out of my control – to surrender.
I am just a little over 7 years clean now. My life has had its up and downs. There have been times when the pain was unbearable, there have been times when the joy was so bountiful I thought my heart would burst – never once in of those moments did my mind ever go to the thought of using. I once couldn’t go for more than ten minutes without thinking about drugs, now as a grateful addict, my thoughts are filled with things of life – from the mundane to the extraordinary – all spectacular.
As a grateful Addict, I am now at a place in my life where the gifts of recovery are clicking together beautifully.
– I have mended all the damaged relationships which are stronger than ever
– I have formed new and healthy relationships
– I am a person who can be trusted and I value that trust more than all the worldly positions
– My relationship with family improves every day, sometimes slowly but always forward.
– I have found the love of my life, I finally am in a relationship I have dreamed of but never thought would be a reality.
– My connection with my higher power is stronger than I ever thought it would be.
– I am in a job I actually like going to and am actually contributing to. It’s good to be productive.
– But above all this, I have finally found myself. I am forming a deep relationship with myself, I have learned to be honest with myself and to be faithful to myself – this gift is beyond all because with it I can have everything else.
Houghton House taught me that anything I put before my recovery I would lose, for without my recovery I would have nothing. And living each day, choosing to be a clean grateful addict, I have a life, a life filled with many choices and so many promises.
And the worst thing is, it wasn’t just the addiction they helped me fix, it was an emptiness I had all my life that I filled with drugs, now I fill it with purpose and direction.
My name is Jonty, and I am a grateful Addict.