Writings from Rehab, part 9

We had to write a letter to ourselves that started with “I love you because…”. Here’s what I wrote.


I love you because…

You’re very smart and can do anything you put your mind to. You care about others & their well-being. You are strong, independent, and courageous. You have a good sense of humor and can find the silver lining in almost any situation. You’ve been through some things by age 25 that a lot of people won’t have to deal with in a lifetime. When you get knocked down, you pick yourself back up and keep going. You have a long road ahead of you, but if you keep focused on the bigger picture and do the next right thing, good things and opportunities await you.

Keep your head up and never give up.



Writings from Rehab, part 8

One day, we had to write our name on a piece of paper and pass it around the group for others to think of a word or a few words that first came to mind about that person.

Here’s what others wrote about me.




Insightful & brave

Very wise

You’re a fighter!


Compassionate & loving

Smart and gentle person



Very grateful young woman

Very strong and so insightful, I look up to you because you are so serious about your recovery

All sweetness


Such beauty is in the eye of the beholder (?!?!)

Writings from Rehab, part 7

One day in treatment, the counselor asked us to write a journal prompt on the top of a blank piece of paper. The prompt was going to be passed to another person in the group. This is the prompt I received.




How are you forgiving yourself?

I am forgiving myself by repeating positive affirmations — even if I don’t believe them. I am working on mindfulness throughout the day. I am trying to be kind to myself and not beating myself up over the past & past decisions I made while under the influence. I’m working on regaining self-confidence and self-esteem by re-engaging in activities I used to love, making new friends, and trying new things. When I’m feeling down, guilty, and shameful, or like I want to drink, I’m talking to people I trust instead of holding it in. I’m journaling my thoughts and feelings to try and figure out the positives in situations and lay out my options. I’m not defining myself by what others may think about me. I am working on being honest with myself, recognizing how I feel and then putting the situation/emotion into perspective, or try to look at it from a different perspective; see the bigger picture.


Eventually, one day, I will wake up and not think about it.



Writings from Rehab, part 6

See other Writings from Rehab posts here.



I’m struggling with patience with myself and others. I am tired of this struggle — the struggle to stay positive, mindful, redirect my thoughts, and the struggle to stay positive and patient with those around me. I feel like I’m going back to old ways and becoming irritable. I know being alone doesn’t work for me. But being around so many people all the time is starting to wear on me, too. I’m a little afraid of the mindset I’ve been in… it’s easy to make excuses and justify when I’m irritated and impatient because I know just what will make it better in a few minutes. I’ve got to stop thinking that way though, because it’s no longer an option to go back to that. I’ve got nowhere to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. No one that will take me in when/if I’ve been drinking.

Then, I’m also struggling to understand why I’m fixated on getting another drink. It destroyed my family, my life, ME.

Guided meditation: I find myself outside — cool in the shade, warm in the sun. The breeze blows a breath of fresh air in my face. The sun warms my face, neck, hands, back & arms. My feet are stepping one in front of the other to an even beat. I ask my HP for guidance, strength, and peace, just for today. Another breeze blows in my face to remind me that my HP is listening. My feet keep the steady beat as I repeat my mantra in my head to ingrain it into my subconscious. I think of all the things I’m grateful for and practice a few deep inhales and exhales and picture all the good energy flowing in and the negative energy flowing out.

9PM: Well, the day finished a lot better than it began. The weather cleared up and this afternoon/evening was gorgeous. R came back, and it was awesome to see her. R is like a breath of fresh air. Her, F, and M are my favorites. They all give me hope.

New people are starting to open up, and it reminds me of where I came from. I’m keeping this journal to remember where I came from. I forgot the last time and I don’t want to forget this time because it will lead me right back to treatment. And I never want to come back here again. I want a better life for myself and those around me. What a relief it will be for the day that I DON’T think about alcohol.

I still want to figure out the reason behind my impatience with others.


5/26/17: Journaling prompt

If I could tell my younger-self anything, what would it be?

  • You have an addictive personality
  • You don’t need alcohol to fit in – in fact – you don’t need to ‘fit in’ at all
  • You will become an alcoholic if you don’t learn how to control this now — or quit altogether
  • You will end up losing jobs, money, friends, and family if you continue relying on alcohol
  • Keep faith in God
  • Keep running!!! (**Side-note**: I was a competitive runner and in high school/college I would consistently run 5-6 minute miles and 5-10 miles at a time. I lose my breath running a few blocks, now.)
  • Don’t be afraid to make new friends
  • It’s never OK to drink and drive

I had a fairly good meeting with D today. I say fairly, because I realized my court date is June 12 — not the 22nd — like I originally thought. Part of me is actually glad it’s sooner because that means my consequences will become known and dealt with sooner. But the other part of me is really scared… the police report hasn’t been filed yet, I haven’t officially quit my job yet (so I still technically have an income) and it’s too much to qualify for a public defender and worry about all this. There’s really not a whole lot I can do while I’m in here anyway, plus I have to sign up for a LINK card again & state insurance. But again, I still technically have a job and health insurance through work, so there’s not much I can do about that either…. fuck.



The last couple days have been, overall, really good. My aunt and uncle came to visit Saturday — we had a good visit. They opened my eyes to the fact that it isn’t just me going through this, it’s hard for everyone. All along I’ve known this, but having them say it (ie. not from my mom or dad or counselor) was eye-opening. I was caught up in ME and it made me realize (again) this is not all about me — other people are affected by my addiction. They gave me some words of encouragement which is always nice.

The only thing I didn’t like was that they brought up that I can’t drink and drive. Like, DUH, I know that. I know it doesn’t look like I know that, considering what’s happened, but I definitely know that is not okay in any way, shape, or form. I just wish people could stop mentioning things like that to me because trust me, I’ve said it to myself a million bazillion times in my head already.

Yesterday (Memorial Day) went really well, too. Instead of walking the Labyrinth, Miranda took us out to play softball. It was a ton of fun. For a few minutes, I felt normal. (Also — Friday night game night was a BLAST — we played a dance game on the Wii and it was hilarious. H got really into it and it was so funny.) Then F surprised us with a movie and ice cream. We watched “Love Isn’t Enough” told from the perspective of Bill W.’s wife, Lois, who started Al-Anon. The movie was really good, it was almost sickening to see how drunk Bill would get… promising to stop drinking and continuing to get annihilated.

The weather has been gorgeous and I’m glad we’ve been able to spend a good amount of time outside.

Tonight my parents came for a family meeting. I read my Goodbye Letter to alcohol and my letter to my HP, and my dad was crying. We were all sobbing. It was so difficult to share these things with them, but I’m so glad I did. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders, and they told me not to worry about holidays, rides, sober living, etc. I think they understand how hard this is for me, even if it’s just understanding that today.

J is leaving Thursday and I don’t know what I’m going to do without her. We talk about real stuff that isn’t related to recovery, which is a nice change of pace.



OK — now were in the present tense — today, April 14, 2018.

I remember that meeting with my parents and my counselor at Rosecrance. I remember it felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest, stomped on, and put back in upside-down. It took me a while to get through the letters I read to them, because my sobs were heavy and I couldn’t catch my breath. I hate to say this, but the feeling I had when my parents came in for that meeting, was worse than attending my Grandma’s funeral.

On the note of my Grandma, I truly believe she is part of the concept of a higher power I have come to believe in today. I SO SO SO SOOOOOOO wish my Grandma could be around today, for a couple reasons. One is that I strongly dislike the woman my Grandpa has chosen to spend time with — she is money hungry and selfish and she calls my 78-year old Grandpa ‘fat’ (YOU NEVER SPEAK TO MY GRANDPA OR ANY MEMBER OF MY FAMILY LIKE THAT, EVER), and two is that I believe my Grandma and I would be really close today. Growing up, I was always annoyed with my grandparents’ sloppy kisses and overbearing hugs, but now, I appreciate them. My Grandma was truly a woman with wild dreams and crazy personality. She put herself through nursing school in the 1960s and refused to marry my Grandpa until she graduated. She became a nurse, and for a while, was the breadwinner of the family. She was caring and gentle at times, but boisterous and wild at other times. Sometimes we rolled our eyes, but looking back, I WISH I could tell her how much I love her and how much I look up to her for empowering herself and being a woman of strong conviction. She never said anything she didn’t mean, and sometimes she said things bluntly and brashly, but that was just my Grandma. Some of my favorite memories with her are doing cartwheels in the grass, picking apples from the apple tree in my Grandparents’ backyard, receiving the world’s greatest back-scratch from her, going up north to the cabin, and her prancing around, gleefully playing the accordion. Oh my God do I miss her.

Anyway, having that family meeting with my parents was heartbreaking, but necessary. We needed to heal, all of us. My parents needed to heal from the trauma of constantly worrying if I would make it, and I needed to heal from all the trauma of addiction, psych wards, legal problems, berating myself, allowing myself to be used and abused, ugh.. the list goes on. That meeting was the very, very beginning of the healing process for us (well, for me, I can only speak for myself). But I think it was the first time they truly saw how desperate I was to get better — how serious I was about changing my life once and for all. How done I was with all the chaos and destruction and terror. And I think that allowed them to have a small, very tiny, sense of peace. Which was better than overwhelming dread and fear of days, months, and years previous.


I went to lunch with my lovely parents today, and gosh, I just love them so much. I love my family so much. Hell, I love my friends so much. and I love MYSELF so much! What a fucking change from a year ago. It brings a sense of solace to know I have wonderful, amazing, strong, BEAUTIFUL people surrounding me and rooting for me. Shit, I am so grateful today and I’m grateful to have gratitude today.


Thanks for reading!





Writings from Rehab — Letter to HP

This is the letter I wrote to my HP while I was in rehab in May 2017. I call my higher power ‘HP’.



Dear HP ~

I’m not sure who you are, where you are, or what your name is… but I know you have been watching over me. There is no other explanation for why I am alive and well today other than your watchful eye & will. Countless times I should have, or could have, left the mortal world and crossed over to the other side to dance with the devil for eternity. But you had other ideas for me, you have a plan for me.

Not only have I missed the signs you’ve sent me as a warning to change my ways, but, even worse, I’ve turned my head the other way & completely ignored the signs. But, you didn’t give up on me when I gave up on myself & you believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

I was blinded by alcohol, I was stuck in a prison cell that no one had keys for. I loathed myself and the things I had done to those around me. I had no self-respect and became so entangled in an abusive relationship with alcohol that I simply gave up on the values, morals, and beliefs I had been taught as a child and adolescent. I began the deep descent of self-hatred.

I estranged family and friends, I told sick lies, and with each lie, the thick, deadly walls were closing in around me. I began to think the only way to get out of this hellish nightmare was to commit a slow suicide, and drink myself to oblivion. I did not have the capacity to care whether or not my death would break the hearts of those who loved me.

One of the worst feelings I ever had was when my mom told me she checked on my life insurance policy in the event she would have to plan for my funeral. Thinking about my parents, planning their only child’s funeral because of some horrific, deadly accident, committed under the influence of a potent, lethal, yet legal posion, was terrifying.

Yet, that did not stop me. It could be chalked up as another one of your warning signs I blatantly ignored. I continued to dig my own grave, and I didn’t realize how close I was to putting the final nail in the coffin until that one Monday morning in early May of 2017.

I don’t remember where it started, what led me to the decision to blow off my responsibilities and drive around while getting drunk, and I definitely don’t remember crashing into a ditch, climbing into the backseat of my still running vehicle to pass out. I don’t remember the police dragging me out of my car to take me to the nearest hospital in efforts to save my life with a .437 BAC. I don’t remember anything. It’s a blank vacuum of space. The next thing I know, I’m handcuffed and being taken to a detox where I was stripped and searched and placed in a cement block room with bells on my bed to alert the nurses of my every move. I was picked up by the Sheriff and brought to the jail in the middle of the night the next evening. They released me from jail with nowhere to stay or go except roam the streets until daylight came.

I was lucky to stumble upon a cheap, dingy, rundown hotel on the outskirts of town. It was nearly 3 AM, and I was contemplating sleeping in the hallway. But, somehow, I found the bell to ring and alert the attendant. I spent my last dollars on a room for the night.

From there, I had to stay at the rescue mission until Rosecrance had a bed open for another go-around at treatment, exactly a year from my last inpatient stay. I realize, now, just how much of an influence you had on that nightmarish situation.

You led the cop to find me in my car to find me before I awoke and decided to keep drinking and driving, killing myself or others, or before I did from too much alcohol in my blood in the backseat of my car, with the engine still on. You guided the cop to take me to a hospital and detox before jail so I wouldn’t choke on my own puke in a jail cell, so nurses would be watching over me while I suffered through the intense withdrawals of alcohol. You led me to the dark, rundown hotel so I wouldn’t have to sleep on the street that night. You kept me safe long enough at the homeless shelter until Rosecrance called. And you put me in a unit full of women and staff who show me I’m not alone & that there is hope.

Now, I believe in you & I believe you have a plan for me. I will no longer fight the idea of you & I definitely won’t purposely turn my head the other way. You work in ways that are beyond my earthly comprehension. I am listening. I am watching. I am here to follow your will, because it is abundantly clear that my way will send me 6 feet under.

Writings from Rehab, part 5



Today has been exhausting. I’ve hit a ‘wall’ so to speak. I’m just getting irritated with everyone and everything. The noise, the groups, the people, and I’m also getting really tired of my feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, anticipation, worry, etc. It’s just exhausting feeling all of that, all the time. That’s one of many things that drives me to drink – overwhelming feelings & the discomfort, confusion, and emotional exhaustion that results from all these feelings. I should be grateful to have feelings and be ALIVE, but instead, I just feel tired of it. Even just thinking about it now makes me want to fucking drink. Like what the fuck?! I almost died! I could’ve killed someone else! How could I possibly want to go back to drinking after that?! This is all SO frustrating and simply exhausting. Not to mention the worry about what’s happening after this, and what’s happening after that. UGH! I just have to keep doing the next right thing, and (hopefully) it will all fall into place.

In the end, if I have to go back to the Rescue Mission and work for a while to save up money to live in a sober living house, then that’s what I’ll do. It’s going to be pretty expensive, and I hate to put a price on sobriety, but without a car payment or insurance, what am I even spending money on anyway? Bankruptcy lawyer, 1st DUI payment, credit card payment is the only things I have left. So I need to come up with $1000 per month to make ends meet. Plus sign up for LINK card, plus get back on state health insurance. Bottom line is (and I need to keep reminding myself of this), it’s DOABLE. It is absolutely doable if I keep doing the next right thing.


We had a CA meeting tonight and it was really good. I enjoyed it for many reasons, but I definitely liked the fact that there was a lot of young people there. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to people in meetings because a lot of times, the people are older than me. But, that’s not an excuse to not go to meetings. I am OUT of excuses for not going to meetings, not getting a sponsor, not staying sober. I’ve walked that path too many times. Anyway, I also liked the meeting because the topic was about life after sober living and/or treatment. The takeaway is I HAVE to work the program and build a big support network. I don’t have a choice anymore.

We went on a nice walk outside today and it was good to talk to J, because everyone else here seems to be complaining about the rules, that this is like jail, or they’re talking about being locked up, banging dope, war stories, medications, etc. It’s really starting to wear on me, but I have to keep my ‘horse blinders’ on.

I worked out this morning and it felt really good. Reminds me of a good habit I need to make when I get out of here. There are tons of opportunities to make new, good habits in sobriety. I just have to take them.

Positive affirmation:

I love myself. I am a kind and caring person. I forgive myself for past transgressions committed under the influence of alcohol. I deserve to be happy and sober. I am beautiful.


I didn’t journal yesterday because I was so tired. It was also a rough day. I think it was a rough day for everyone here. Several people wanted to leave and were struggling with thoughts of the easy way out.

I admit I’ve been thinking about taking the easy way out, it’s so much easier than dealing with my issues. It is so much easier to run away from them, forget about them. Get temporary relief from the anxiety created by the fact that I have no idea what my consequences are going to be.

But – I’ve worn that path down. I’ve walked down that street too many times. I can no longer make the choice to take the easy way out. I have to face my problems head on – and once I do, once I get through this tough stuff, I will be so much better off. So much better off mentally, physically, emotionally when I actually work this program and get through this without a drop of alcohol.

The meeting (outside meeting) tonight was about honesty. I’ve been working on this since I got here… brutally and rigourously honest. So honest I almost got myself in trouble from having J’s mom buy me cigarettes. If I remain honest with myself and keep doing the next right thing, good things will follow. A lot of people were at the meeting and shared some really good things, along with some really tough stuff. One man lost his wife a year ago today. Another man shared the lengths he used to go to just to avoid going to his home group and admit he had relapsed. Another girl shared how hard it was to talk to old friends. It was a really good meeting and I really hope to find meetings like that on the outside.

Another new girl arrived, B. She is older, addicted to alcohol and pain pills, but is nice. G & A are leaving tomorrow. I will miss both of them a lot, esp A who cracks me up but also gets really honest and open with everyone. She’s been working on getting clean for over 20 years and has been to over 12 treatment centers but has never completed one and I’m very proud of her and I hope to stay in touch.

I’m starting to think I’m putting up a wall. I don’t know why but I feel like I’m closing up and getting really impatient with others.


Writings from Rehab, part 4




PM: Overall, I was kind and forgiving to myself today. I had a meeting with D today, but it got cut short because we were supposed to go to an off-campus meeting; but because of inclement weather, we couldn’t go. I practiced acceptance and didn’t get upset about the things I could not control. Above all, I must put my recovery in front of everything else. Everything will fall into place if I just do the next right thing and recover. If I don’t pick up, if I don’t put myself into a situation where alcohol will stare me in the face – it will not have power over me. Only when I have given the power to alcohol will it affect my life the way it did in the past.

F challenged me to get real tonight with my addiction. If I was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine/benzos were put in front of me… would I do them? Probably. But if I was sober, would I do those things? probably not. So – no, I’m not just addicted to alcohol. It may start with alcohol, but it will lead to other things if I continue to deny my problem with alcohol.


5/18/17 ***Warning to mom & dad: I wrote this only 10 days into sobriety, these thoughts and feelings have changed. Please keep that in mind.***

10 days sober. Easy does it. Just for today.

Today I felt juxtaposed – happy, but sad. Excited, but scared. Smart, but stupid. Loved, but not worthy. Grateful, but cynical. I just feel displaced. Like I shouldn’t be here. Like I should be at home with my parents, watching House, sitting with my cat, enjoying a glass of wine. But, I ruined that chance with the morning I decided to drive around and get drunk instead of going to work. That’s what separates me from them. I decide driving around and getting drunk (and consequently get another DUI) is better than showing up to work and doing my job. They wouldn’t do that. They would fulfill their responsibilities and go to work and pay bills. I thought about alcohol the majority of the day and couldn’t wait to get home and pour myself a glass of wine and be lazy on the couch all night. It’s pretty sad that’s all I looked forward to. I waited around all day until we could go where we were going to drink, or – I waited around until it was an ‘acceptable’ time to drink. Living on my own, with Mandy, there was no such thing as an acceptable time, all times were acceptable. The more I think about it, the more I think they [parents] are truly mourning. I don’t think they know how to spend time with me without alcohol. I think they knew last summer’s sobriety was temporary and that eventually, I would be drinking with them again, so they didn’t think too much of finding other things (that were sober) to do with me. I don’t think they know what to do about holidays and weekends – knowing things will never be ‘normal’ for me again.

[***Again — I wrote this only 10 days sober. It is obvious that I was projecting my own fears and insecurities onto my parents and believing that’s what they thought when in reality, it was what I was thinking***]

9PM: I really need to keep practicing acceptance with my parents – that I can’t (and have no right) to change their behavior and the way they feel about everything — everything I’m putting them through now, everything I have put them through in the past, and everything I will put them through in coming months. I literally can’t imagine what my mom must feel — she’s been going through and dealing with addiction her entire life. I feel for her (and my dad) I really do – but they aren’t in my shoes and don’t understand what I’m going through either. I don’t think they truly understand what it’s like to put yourself through treatment, commit to getting sober, and then participate in the series of events that led up to a 2nd DUI, detox, cheap hotel, getting my car out of the impound lot, staying at the rescue mission, and go back to treatment to start it all over again. It’s degrading, embarrassing, expensive, and just makes me feel like an outcast of society.

Anyway, we went to the Japenese Gardens for a fun sober activity and it was fucking hard, because I looked at their brochure and saw there was an ‘uncorked’ event that sounded like a lot of fun. There were stemless glasses on all the tables and I saw some wine on the back table of the bar. I could almost taste the dry, bitter, sweet wine.

But-I will find other fun, sober activities to participate in the more time I invest in sobriety.

Positive affirmations for the day —

I am worth it. 

If I keep doing the next right thing – things will fall into place and my life will come back together.

I deserve to be happy and free.

I am not defined by my addiction.

I am stronger than the booze.

I can do this.

I love myself.



Yesterday, my mom came to visit. It was hard to look her in the eye because I know I’ve hurt her a lot. But – I was a bit surprised at some of the things she said. After she was the one who said ‘what’s after sober living?’… she told me to not worry about getting my stuff there, getting to court dates, and (possibly) the first couple weeks rent, IF I keep doing the next right thing.

PM: My dad surprised me with a visit today! I couldn’t believe it. He is so emotional about what I’m going through – it does make me feel like he understands and feels for me. He cried and of course, I sobbed. He explained to me that ONE decision can change the rest of my life – and he’s exactly right. That’s why I need to keep my mantra in the front of my head at all times (keep doing the next right thing). It was such a nice surprise – totally unexpected. It showed me that they ARE there – they do support me. It’s like what they always tell me – I have to show them, my words are empty. Well, they have to show me, too. Not because of anything they’ve done (besides heated words in the moment), but because I need to see it and validate their words (that they still support me). I explained to him that it started as something to help me relax after work, have fun with family and friends, etc. and turned into a habit, which is normalized in our family. He explained to me that he understands there’s something wrong with my brain. I’m just elated that he seems to understand this isn’t something I can just decide to stop. I’ll have to think about what I want/need to explain to them in our family meeting, because I really don’t know what’s left to say. They just want to SEE me do better. It’s that simple.

Other than that – it was a pretty eventful day, actually. F went through my 1st step with me… she was proud of me and said I seem to get it and that I seem to know myself. It was hard to write some of that stuff down, and not just admit it, but accept it. And as F said, admitting it is the easy part. Accepting it means I have to do something about it. And I’m prepared to do what I need to do this time — because I want to leave that life/person behind me because I don’t know that person, I don’t like that person, I never want to see her again [speaking of my alter-ego drunken self]. I need to work on step 2 and find my higher power… which is a struggle for me.

Then F got upset with the unit because someone came in here (and the rest followed) without staff present. She got so pissed off and no one ‘knew’ who came in the unit first. A was SO disrespectful to her. I was thinking how I would never talk to staff like that… but A’s been pissed since she lost her binder. It’s been a lot of negative energy… which I don’t need.

Positive affirmation for the day: I am worth it. I deserve sobriety and the life sobriety has to offer. I have people who love and support me. I’m a good person with good intentions. I love and forgive myself. If I keep doing the next right thing and put recovery first – things will fall into place and my life will come back together.


I remember those first visits with my parents while I was in treatment… they were SOOOOO hard. My heart literally hurt when I would see them. I wanted to just be hugged and nurtured like a child when I saw them, forgiven for any wrongdoing and coddled. At 10 days sobriety, I was extremely fragile and sensitive. I am normally a sensitive person anyway, but my emotions, nerves, and anxiety were unbearable at this time.

I don’t have the proper words to explain the range of emotions I had when they came to visit… overjoyed, embarrassed, shameful, guilty, a little resentful, loved, nervous… and so many more. However, since I was so low and not-so-far removed from the rock bottom I had hit days earlier, and could barely find it within me to think of a reason why someone would love me and care about me, it felt so good to have my parents make the drive to visit me.

I made a note above about projecting my own fears and insecurities onto my parents and believing that’s what they thought about me. At this very early and fresh stage of being sober, I could NOT fathom what it would be like to do much of anything without alcohol, especially having fun without it. When I said something along the lines of ‘I don’t think my parents know how to spend time with me sober’… what I really meant, which is clear to me now, is that didn’t know how to spend time with myself sober, so how would I be able to be around other people sober? It was so foreign to me to spend time with family without alcohol. But, guess what, we’ve done it many times now, even holiday’s and full weekends, and it’s still fun, there’s still a lot of laughs, and we all seem to manage just fine ha!

Thanks for reading.