There are a lot of misnomers out there about alcoholism and drug abuse. One of them is that the addict cannot function in the real world without evident problems related to their use. While this is true of many, still others are what are considered “highly-functioning addicts”. Here, we talk with Kate, who shares her story of being just that: highly functional in life and hugely crippled by addiction.
Trying to escape consistent sadness
I remember the first time things didn’t seem okay was my family splitting up. My parents got divorced when I was probably like 13 years old. And that was the first time I felt consistent sadness. Alcohol provided a fun time to escape those feelings.
Fun until it wasn’t fun anymore
I was never one to consider consequences or what might happen. I was just looking for that good time right now. All drugs and alcohol provided a fun time for me for a while. Until it wasn’t fun.
Things around me, things on the outside, still were okay.
I was a heroin addict finishing my senior year of college, graduating the top of my class, winning awards appointed to by my professors, tutoring classes and getting high in the bathroom and, like, nobody knew about it. Finally, I confided in my family what was happening and asked for help. So getting to Green Mountain Treatment Center, I had this feeling of relief that finally, somebody would know what to do with me, somebody would know how to help me, somebody would know how I could get better. The first very notable, memorable experience that I have was learning about the disease model. I had this incredible moment where I was like, “I can relate to that. And they’re telling me, there’s a way out of that”. That was something that I never knew was possible. It was really powerful and inspiring for me, because I thought, “if they could do it, why can’t I?”.
And I could, and I do.
Today I have a life that I never imagined I was capable of having. I’m a manager of a restaurant. I love my job. I have a life that’s full of connection with women and other people in sobriety, not in sobriety. I have a great relationship with my family today. I live a life where whatever it is I’m doing, I’m not afraid to tell you about it. And this sense of serenity and peace is the greatest gift of my recovery.
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