I will never forget when I entered treatment for the first or the millionth time and heard how I was powerless over all substances and that my life had become unmanageable. I remember thinking I could admit that yeah, I am here, I clearly have a problem and I can say I am powerless over all substances. That was something I could do; I could do it again and again. Any and every time I entered treatment really. I knew that I couldn’t stop, I knew that I had cravings, and my mind was on repeat on how to get the next one. What I also knew is when doing these things, it got my family off my back for the time being. That when I left, they would think I was “better”. Powerless was not the problem for me. I accepted that I could not use safely, but to admit to you that MY life was unmanageable…that was something I couldn’t see.
I thought “I am a single mom, my kids are being taken care of, clean clothes on their backs, they are bathed, fed, they are happy. We live in a home that always has food, the electricity is always on and most of all they are happy, and I am a single mom taking care of them. So, what if I need a break and want to relax with the use of any substance? All these other things are taken care of!”
The reality of the situation was that my life was completely unmanageable! I lived at home with my parents who made sure that my kids were always taken care of. They paid for everything! I was too busy spending all my money on my addiction. I had this false sense of reality so any time I actually entered treatment I would compare what you could see from the outside with others. I thought “well, I’m not homeless, I have clothes, my family still kind of talks to me.” The biggest lie I continued to tell myself was that I still had and took care of my kids, and never put them in danger! The reality was that I constantly had put not just myself but my children in danger and what I did provide for my children wasn’t healthy.
I will never forget I had a good friend say to me “Lauren, if your child got sick at 2 in the morning and needed to go to the hospital would you be clear headed enough to take them, stay with them, and make a serious decision?” That’s when it clicked. I could not safely take my child to a hospital and stay with them if they were sick because my disease would not allow it. I would need to get more just in case we had to stay. I would not be able to safely drive them. The list of reality went on and on. If I admitted how unmanageable my entire life was that just left one last thing for me to do and that was to change.