9
May

Angie PalamaraWe Do Recover

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

I grew up as a child of an alcoholic and began drinking at the age of 14.

By 15, I was using hallucinogens and by 16, cocaine. In fact, I celebrated my 16th birthday going outpatient treatment for my drug use. However, it would be years until any treatment would be effective. At the time, I was still a child and wanted to continue my partying lifestyle. I was popular — the life of the party.

I continued the drinking and used marijuana, hallucinogens, and cocaine throughout my college years. By the time I graduated, I was drinking half a handle of liquor a day. I returned home and continued to party while struggling to find a job.

I was depressed, and the alcohol and drugs weren’t strong enough anymore, so I tried heroin.

My life quickly became unmanageable. I was arrested multiple times, overdosed twice, totaled more than a couple cars and lost many, many jobs. My main priority became getting high and staying high. I went to treatment a few times but always returned home to the same environment. It never ended well.

Eventually, I realized that real recovery comes from a complete lifestyle change.

I knew I needed to get away to learn to live life sober and independently. I came to drug rehab in Florida and began taking suggestions from others. I even followed through with my aftercare plan, which included time at a halfway house and continued IOP treatment. Determined to stay sober, I went to meetings, got a sponsor and worked the 12-steps. Having this support from the recovery community changed my life.

I no longer count the days, I make the days count.

The transformation I see in myself and my circumstances blows my mind. Recovery is the best feeling I have ever had. People now want to talk to me and spend time together. No one is disappointed in me, and I am no longer disappointed in myself.

In fact, I have accomplished so much already. I am in the process of getting my Master’s degree. I have a dog, an apartment, and a career. I have repaired the damage that my drug and alcohol use caused my loved ones and am now in a meaningful, committed relationship.

Most importantly, however, my plans for the future include continuing to help the addict who still suffers. I can only keep what I have by giving it away. My goal has always been to live a “normal” life, and I can do that as long as I never go back. Giving up is not an option.

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