The Most Important Decision of Her Life
On January 18, 2013, Heather A. made the most difficult and important decision of her life; the decision to save her life.
As December 2012 came to an end, Heather knew that she was on the brink. For the past 12 years she had used and abused her body, and now she was just tired. She would wake up in the mornings, only to wish to go back to sleep and not wake up; she begged God to let her die. Her body was screaming for relief, but there was no reprieve from the anguish she felt. “I did not believe that there was any help for me. In my mind I was too far gone. I had done too much, and I was in too deep for anyone to save me.”
But there was help, and on January 18, 2013, with the encouragement of her family, Heather took her first step towards recovery and agreed to enter treatment. Of her call to Fellowship Hall, Heather recalls, “My heart was racing and my hands were shaking badly as I dialed the number. I’m sure my voice was cracking terribly as I answered questions and gave background information. I was terrified!” Less than a day later Heather walked into Fellowship Hall and left her former life behind.
Those first three weeks were miserable. “I missed my children so much that I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. There was a feeling of heaviness that wouldn’t let up. I was ready to go home and I refused time and time again to listen to the direction and recommendations given to me by many counselors at the Hall.”
Then, on February 13, the day before she was to be discharged, the harsh reality of her situation finally sunk in: Heather was served with divorce papers. “It was in that awful, devastating moment when my entire world crumbled at my feet, that I realized I had to stay at the Hall for the extended treatment program. I knew I wouldn’t survive if I chose to go home.”
During her extended stay, Heather was given the intense therapy that she so desperately needed. She was able to open up and process the grief and trauma that had fed her addiction for years. She regained her will to live and realized what was truly important to her.
“I remember thinking
that nothing and no one
is going to take my
children from me, and
definitely not the
disease of addiction.”
Heather credits the family program and extended treatment counselors with giving her the tools to manage the pains of her past, and open herself up again to trust, to love, and to live.
Now, with two years of sobriety under her belt, Heather is a full-time private caregiver and is studying to become a substance abuse counselor. She is dependable instead of dependent. She spends a lot of time with her three children– balancing their hectic schedules, but also just being a fun and loving mom. “Now I’m the one who family and friends come to for help or advice. That in itself is miraculous! I’m respected today, and that means so very much to someone who lived as I did.”
When Heather wakes up in the morning, she might still want to stay in bed, but only to get some rest from her busy, full life—not because she has nothing to live for.
“I thank God every day for each one of the precious souls at Fellowship Hall who saw my heart and saw who I could be, not what I was. I am who I am today because of God’s grace. He allowed some amazing people to pass through my life to help me and for that I am forever thankful and eternally grateful.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol or drug problem, help is available. Call Fellowship Hall at 800-659-3381 to take the first step towards getting your life back on track.
(This article originally appeared in the Winter/Spring 2015 Gateway Newsletter.)