I remember the darkness and quietness of my parent’s house in the moments that I contemplated getting up from the couch and leaving. They, and my daughter, were in other rooms asleep. I had never walked out on my family before. In that moment though, it’s the only thing I could think to do.
My heart and mind told me that I was a huge failure. I blamed myself for "not getting better". Feeling lonely and without options, I started walking to the hospital. I knew that the only way I could get immediate help and relief, was to go into the ER and tell them I wanted to kill myself.
I hated that part. Truth was, I did not want to die at all, in fact I wanted to live. I wanted a life free from addiction. More than anything.
The shame, guilt, disgust, enveloped me as I set out on that 10-mile walk. It was too far. Thinking that cab rides were free to get to the hospital I called for one. I don’t know to this day if the driver saw my desperation and helped, or if those rides are always free.
I thought about how my family would react when they woke up and found me gone. Would they care? Would they be happy? I thought about the journey I was going to have to start yet again.
The walk from the cab to the hospital door felt longer than the stretch of road to home. I was familiar with what would happen next. I’d divulge my disgust in myself and in order to be treated I’d have to tell them that I didn’t want to live. The irony is that in order to live I had to do this. I knew, as many of my friends with addiction knew, that getting bed “might” lead me to a treatment facility that would help. This was a shameful step closer to recovery, I hoped.
There had been many facilities and programs before this night, double digits in fact. Did I fail? Did they fail?
I was underweight, naked, hadn't showered in days, and I was alone in a psych ward. I had a glimpse of hope on the next day when my mother came through the door. She laid beside me, held me and we cried together. We had no idea what to do, where to turn. But here we were again.
There were no options presented to me, no evaluation to determine the severity of my substance use disorder or any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing. Eventually I would be sent to a detox, whatever one could take me, and then to whichever treatment facility would take me. Merry go round.
Ten years of events like the one I’ve shared with you feels like an eternity. We did not have the benefit of scientific studies that would better our decisions, and perhaps would have led to an earlier successful recovery. We did not have Shatterproof’s ATLAS to help us identify the best treatment options for ourselves.
Today in my recovery I am a wife, mom, present daughter, and a business owner. I’m also an advocate. No one should have to endure what we did when seeking treatment for addiction. Knowing that Florida now has access to Shatterproof’s ATLAS platform is lifechanging. I’ll be sharing the resource with the many who I know need it. And I’m hopeful that others in the position of making referrals for treatment will turn to it as well.
There’s no single treatment program that can help everyone. But everyone deserves the treatment that is best for them. ATLAS will help get more people there.