Livy, a Wasatch Crest graduate, shared her recovery story with us. Read her inspiring narrative below.
I had a lot of childhood trauma, and I started using substances at a really young age. I began taking pills at eleven years old, drinking at twelve years old, using heroin at 18 years old, and using meth at 21 years old.
I didn’t attend treatment until I got into trouble. I’d been using for 14 or 15 years by that point. Even then, I didn’t take the required outpatient treatment seriously. I did the bare minimum, and I continued to get high, so I kept getting into trouble. Eventually, I was put into jail. I called my boyfriend from jail, and he helped me begin treatment.
I was in residential treatment for about fifty days, and I stayed sober for seven months after graduating. But I was very naive about how hard recovery was going to be. When I stopped riding the pink cloud, I ended up relapsing.
I used for a few months until I got into trouble again and was facing jail time. Instead of going to jail, I began treatment at Wasatch Crest. That time, I was only sober for a week after I left. For the next couple of months, I used. Eventually, my boss told me that I couldn’t come back to work until I got clean. I decided to go back to Wasatch Crest.
When I was at Wasatch Crest, we went to the ropes course. I wasn’t going to participate, but Soheila, a Recovery Advocate, encouraged me to at least get into the harness, so I did. Even then, I wasn’t going to go across the obstacle course.
Then, Adelinn, the recreational therapist, said, “Let’s make a small goal, and let’s make a big goal. What’s your small goal?”
“To get to the top of the ladder,” I said.
Then she asked, “What’s your big goal?”
“To get all the way across the obstacle course,” I said.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I volunteered to go. I got on the ladder, and I kept climbing. I got all the way to the top of the poll. Then, I zoomed across the obstacle course. The day before, I’d shared that I don’t really have many goals. At the ropes course, I set goals that I accomplished and even went beyond. The experience taught me that I can do hard things that I don’t think I’m capable of.
During my last week of treatment, I hosted an optional group meeting to recite positive affirmations. Before I left Wasatch Crest, multiple people mentioned that they absolutely hate positive affirmations, but the group had helped them. Their feedback made me realize that I do have an impact on other people, and it’s bigger than I had previously thought.
Three days before I left treatment at Wasatch Crest, my grandma passed away. My grandma had been a mother figure to me. It was a humbling experience. I realized how precious life really is and how I gamble with my life every time I use. Honoring my grandma’s life has been a big motivator for my recovery this time around. All she wanted was for me was to have a happy, sober life. I didn’t do it when she was around, and I hold guilt for that, but I’m doing it now, and she would be proud.
After my first treatment stints, I was naive about how hard recovery would be. I thought that you go to rehab, get some tools, get some clean time, and then you’re just able to stay sober. Now, I know that you have to work every day to maintain recovery.
Two sentiments that have fueled my recovery are:
- Someone decided that they were going to give themselves an honest year of recovery. If they aren’t just slightly happier at the end of the year, they always know what they can go back to. At the end of that year, I can almost guarantee, that you will be slightly happier. Your life is going to be improved from what it was. So, give recovery an honest try, and always take it one day at a time.
- Two brothers grew up with an alcoholic father. One brother became an alcoholic. When the alcoholic brother was asked why, he said, “I watched father.” The other brother never touched alcohol. When he was asked why, he said, “I watched my father.” Your perspective determines your future. My family has struggled with addiction and mental illness. Cycles only continue to the point when you decide to change them, and I want to be the one to break the cycle.
To nourish my recovery, I changed my environment, friends, and routines. I stay busy by working, taking care of myself and others, doing things I enjoy, and praying throughout the day. I have a car, driver’s license, full-time job, and big goals. I’m in the best mind space of my entire life.