Inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks this week during a much overdue chat abroad. Our conversation started out as it usually does but finished with three pages of notes scribbled on paper. I was given an insight to the recovering mind while having a casual chat and upon asking if I could tell her story I was left feeling fire in my tummy.
Kyle humbly stated, “I’m not special” before opening up about conquering her addiction eight months ago. Stating it’s hard for her to not be cynical about rehabilitation programs when this was her second time around but grateful the service is available as it gave her the tools to get clean. To quote Kyle, “it’s my second time around and while I’m grateful for being granted another chance at life, it's important for me to stay humble and remember that just because someone goes through treatment, it doesn't mean that they are out of the woods. Life takes time and living it requires effort. Every day you wake up and make that decision to be better is a gift and you must treat is as such or risk falling back into the same old routines”.
The turning point
Kyle had been using heavily for two years of a four year habit addiction to Pain Killers. She was unable to work due to overwhelming anxiety caused from the withdrawal of drug use so took to stealing money from loved ones in order to fund her habit. Kyle suffered a severe panic attack while out with her mother and disclosed she had stolen over $300 that day from her boyfriend of 13 years. She had nothing left in the pot. She had no way of returning the money and began to feel the weight of her habit. She broke down. Kyle bravely revealed, it had gotten so bad that she was willing to break the law in order to repay the money she had already stolen. She was exhausted and ready to quit but it was already too late. Through the guidance of her mom, Kyle entered rehab for the second time.
DeAnna (left) and Kyle
As her use was heavier than it was the first time she went to rehab, Kyle found the process of physical detox harder but it was easier to admit the problem emotionally. She finally felt the release of being open about the addiction after keeping it secret for so long. During the 5 days of residential inpatient detox, fondly noted as “not a day at the spa”, Kyle was able to see the overall picture. She is quoted, “My experiences with other patients helped me to understand that the process of rehabilitation was not something that could be treated with a blanket technique. Recovery is as individual as each person seeking it. While there, I noticed that some came in who weren’t ready to face their demons and you could pick out the ones likely to use again. The addicted mind is fragile and leading someone down a path that works for another isn't always the way to help someone want to stay sober”.
The general mentality of day one consists of positivity while the harsh reality of days two through five leaving you feeling like shit. Those are the days when it's so important to dig deep within yourself and push beyond those moments when you feel so low; to not only see the light at the end of the tunnel, but to begin moving toward it.
Kyle was able to find positivity through sharing moments, laughs and cries with the other girls at the detox centre. She remembers one incident involving a young lady who was finding the program particularly hard and was missing family.
“I wasn’t able to sleep so I started to wander the halls trying to calm down. It was 2am. I spotted one of the girls outside, crying alone. She told me she wanted to go home then apologised for crying. I started crying and we just cried for an hour. When I woke up the next day I found she had left early. I wasn’t surprised. I knew she wasn’t ready. We had a healing moment, It felt so good to just cry it out but she wasn’t ready at all. However this gave me the courage to carry on”
During her stay, Kyle was moved by the kindness of one woman in particular and her wise words. She gave Kyle a card which she had made for her. In this card was a poem: The woman in the glass by Dale Wimbrow
When you get what you want as your struggle for self
And the world makes you queen for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that woman has to say.
For it isn't your father or mother or husband
Who's judgement upon you must pass;
The person whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
She's the person to please, never mind all the rest,
For she's with you clear up to the end.
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the woman in the glass if your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of life,
And get pats on your back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the woman in the glass
When the day finally came for Kyle to be discharged she felt ready, she felt good. Her family however were more sceptical. Seeing her through this journey once before they wanted to be sure Kyle really was ready. Joe, Kyles boyfriend of 11 years, was sceptical but that didn’t stop him from picking her up 9am on discharge day.
The program was different this time. It came with six weeks after care and provided Kyle with the help she needed to close out underlining issues which drove her to use in the first place. Kyle has pointed out how important she believes this service is and has credited it with her success among other things. Just having compassionate people who get life and see you as a person with a problem and not just a druggie.
The first couple of months into recovery were hard for Kyle. As you would expect, she was forced to deal with life’s challenges without the numbing effect of the drugs. She found ways of coping and accepting her decisions was key. Slowly she could feel again. She could hear her thoughts and dreams creeping back into her working brain. Then she looked in the mirror for the first time in a long time she recognised herself again.
She was back.
While I was listening to her story I could feel a sense of pride fill my heart. Kyle spoke so boldly and held nothing back. She delivered a very raw and honest account of a journey out of addiction.
“I don’t have to be a certain way to satisfy anyone and I definitely don’t have to be a victim. Let your bad times go... they happened. Move on. The only thing you have now is what’s ahead.
I gather strength from my experience. Knowing I can get through rock bottom, nothing can stop me now if I don't let it. I am on my way to being at peace with myself.
Turning 30 helped as well and looking back at the expectations of turning 30 I realise just how far I’ve come.
Live life on life’s terms. You can’t predict the weather but you can make sure to bring your umbrella”
DeAnna’s (Blue Chameleon blog series) Focuses on rebuilding self-confidence after suffering through difficult times. DeAnna lives in Cambridge, England with her family, cats and dog. She credits a portion of happiness to her partner, Pete, punctuation manager
Kyle has been directly involved with the writing of this blog and gives it her full support. Kyle is also DeAnna’s baby sister.