Age: 63, first time in treatment
Drug of Abuse: Alcohol
Length of time in treatment: Residential 33 days; Outpatient 10 weeks
What led me to seek treatment?
I started drinking as a teenager after a trip to Europe and well, you do the math. I’ve been dependent on alcohol most of my life. Eventually, I was drinking earlier in the day, all day.
I always told myself I’d stop drinking some other day. It was one excuse after another: I can’t stop Friday because a week from now there’s a birthday party; I’ll quit in a couple weeks after our trip to Mexico.
I realized my drinking was off the Richter scale when I called the cops at 1 am two nights in a row with hallucinations. I was seeing people in my house and a guy with a miner’s cap outside cutting down a tree — well, none of those things really happened. I realized this isn’t going to get better before it’s going to get worse so I started looking at treatment.
What attracted me to Bayside?
I toured a number of programs and chose Bayside because it had the right feel. I liked that the focus went beyond getting sober — it included mind, body, spirit, nutrition and education. They get under the surface to what you don’t want to face in your own life. I knew the 12-Step approach wouldn’t work for me — I needed something that went deeper.
What was most helpful about treatment?
It’s hard to put my finger on any one thing. It’s a good all-encompassing program not just to get sober but really it grounded me.
- Writing my autobiography let me sit down face to face with a pen and look back over the things I’d glossed over in my life — things I didn’t want to remember, things that maybe weren’t quite as perfect as I remembered them, things I wouldn’t even tell a brother, sister or parent. It took me two weeks to finish Phase One but there’s something special about digging by yourself into yourself and putting it on paper and then communicating it to other people.
- I was introduced to yoga. I had never done it before. Also the gym — I had never stepped foot into a gym before. Qigong helped me learn about breathing and the spiritual side.
- Everything is taken care of. I already know how to make my bed and do laundry. I don’t need to focus on that as part of my recovery program. I didn’t have to use my time to make meals or do dishes so I could focus on my recovery. The chef made meals that were fantastic. We still have a recipe from one of the chefs that we give to friends and family.
- All of the staff was wonderful. I was in tune with my therapist and counselor and I still see my outpatient therapist since she knows me and I feel comfortable with her.
- It is hard to describe the closeness and safeness of the groups. It’s like a family. What is said there stays there. Outpatient treatment gave me a purpose four days of the week to get up rather than drink.
- Treatment encompasses family. My wife came to every family weekend and she was included in therapy sessions. I’m lucky to still have her after 25 years.
How did treatment affect my life?
I wake up with a purpose. And I have fun playing golf, joining clubs and learning new things. I recently accepted an invitation to listen to a rock band. I wouldn’t have done that before because of my drinking. However much time I have left, I don’t want to finish it out in a fog. I’ve seen enough fog.