On October 8, 2016, I found myself laying on my mother-in-law’s front lawn with my wife. Both of us were dope sick. I was miserable and hated who I’d become, waiting for my dope dealer to make us well again. I had always promised myself that I’d never get to the point of being sick from withdrawal. I knew I had two choices, to go on existing, hoping that one day I would use enough to not wake up, or get help.

I turned to my wife and said, “Can we be done now?” She looked at me in amazement and said, “Yes, please.” I told her to drive me as far away from our house as she possibly could because I knew if my drug dealer got to us, I’d never be done. I went to the LDS hospital for detox, and that was the first time I had ever honestly prayed. I didn’t believe in God at the time, but I didn’t know what else to do. So I asked God for help, and he answered my prayers.

After detoxing, I was able to go to a treatment center. I went into residential for 45 days. Going into treatment, I believed that when I got out, I’d be able to smoke pot and drink “normally.” All I had to do was kick the “hard stuff.”

While in treatment, I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps. I started working the steps in treatment, and for the first time, I became honest with myself. I admitted to myself that I was an alcoholic and addict and that it didn’t matter what substance I put in my body; once I did, I couldn’t stop. I was able to find a God of my understanding and turn my will over to that God. I learned that what I had was a disease and that I had to treat my disease on a daily basis. I chose to treat my disease with A.A. and a Higher Power.

I graduated treatment after doing 45 days in residential and another four months of outpatient. Early recovery for me was difficult. I grew up in an alcoholic/addict family and used with most of my family. I had to learn early on how to set boundaries and put my recovery first. I had to stay away from them and avoid putting myself in bad situations. It was really tough, but I didn’t have to do it alone. I dove into A.A. I got a sponsor, worked the steps, got service positions, and developed relationships with other people in long term recovery.

Today, my wife and I have four years clean and sober. It was difficult to be in a relationship during early recovery, but we both worked on ourselves, and because we did the work, we were able to maintain our relationship. I still work the program of A.A. and attend meetings on a weekly basis. I have a relationship with my family, but I still have to keep myself safe with healthy boundaries.

Today, it’s no longer a fight to stay sober, and I enjoy life. I have hobbies and passions. I go rockhounding, ride motorcycles, and give back to my community. I don’t put myself in dangerous situations anymore. I trust myself. When I look in the mirror, I’m able to like who I see. I work in treatment and get to show others that recovery is possible.

Life is difficult and that’s okay. My solution used to be to use and drink, but today I have a different solution. I get to live life on life’s terms and I no longer live in fear. I’m able to handle situations that used to baffle me, and I do it surrounded by love and support from others who have walked the same path that I have.

About the Author

Soheila Shafiee is a lead Recovery Advocate at Wasatch Crest. Soheila facilitates therapeutic groups, supports clients with their recovery programs, and maintains clients’ daily schedules. Soheila has worked in substance abuse recovery for over three years, starting as a support staff member and later managing a residential treatment facility.

Soheila battled addiction for fifteen years and celebrates four years in recovery this year. Sobriety saved her life and she’s passionate about guiding people to change their own lives by entering recovery. Soheila’s favorite aspects of her role are connecting with clients, working with the passionate team at Wasatch Crest, and being surrounded by the majestic Wasatch mountains.

Soheila is married with two dog babies, a Papillon and Toy Aussie. When Soheila is craving some wind therapy and spiritual connection, she hops on her motorcycle where she’s able to let go of the day’s stress and re-center. Soheila is an avid rockhound-er and hopes to travel to Brazil to see the country’s many gems and rocks. She loves all birds, but ducks are her absolute favorite!

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