You have to be ready. You can’t do it for anyone except yourself.

woman sitting on beach facing the sea

An international perspective on recovery from addiction from Cecelia at Recognition Works in the USA

Making the choice to seek substance abuse treatment is a critical first step in the recovery process. It’s also one of the most difficult choices to make. Some people are ready, some people are not. For many, treatment is a one-time experience. For others, it takes multiple attempts to break through. What’s most important, though, is that they all realised they needed help.

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Wendy, a one-year recovery survivor, who now happens to work for Turning Point Recovery, the Addiction Campuses facility from which she graduated. Wendy was happy to share some of her history in hopes of helping others.

I asked Wendy, a meth user for 16 years, what prompted her to seek treatment. She said initially it meant a chance to escape, and maybe get help with her meth problem.

“When I got [to treatment], I was in denial about my drinking problem. I only wanted help for my meth problem. But on my sixth day, I relapsed and drank with the girls in my house. And then I realised I had a problem. It took me about two weeks to start taking it seriously. I didn’t see treatment as something that I needed to save my life — I really just wanted an escape from my everyday life. I stayed there for 7 weeks.”

As a recovery coach now, Wendy sees things from a different perspective. I asked her if she thinks treatment is for everyone and was surprised by her answer.

“Don’t do it [if you aren’t ready]. You have to be ready. You can’t do it for anybody but yourself. … While I was in treatment and now that I work here, I’ve seen so many people that are here for the wrong reasons. Those are usually the people who don’t work in the programme. They’re just doing what they have to do to get out of here. And those are the people that relapse, because they’re doing it for other people, not for themselves,” she explained.

It’s impressive to know how far Wendy has come in the last year. She shared some inspirational parting words.

“You look around and there are so many people — especially in this community  — and everybody is so happy and they don’t need drugs or alcohol to feel that way. I didn’t think life existed that way before I came here,” she said.

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