Recovery Story: Ask an Alum

When you’re living in active addiction, your disease can make you feel alone and like no one understands. However, many people have experienced the devastation of addiction and the healing journey of recovery. Hear from one of them.

How Getting Treatment Gave Me My Life Back: Sean’s Story

We often talk about how recovery is possible. But when your life has revolved around drugs and alcohol for so long, it may not feel that way.  When you’ve spent years—maybe even a decade—trapped in a cycle of addiction, spiraling so far down that it seems impossible to get out. The sad truth for many is that it feels easier to just stay put in the dark, hidden from your own demise, rather than pulling yourself out and seeing the light again.

For Sean, he knew that’s what he was doing—digging his own grave, convinced he was broken. He felt like death was the only way out.

Now, because of treatment, Sean knows he was wrong.

Why Can’t I Stop Using Drugs and Alcohol?

“I knew the drinking and drugs would eventually kill me, but I just kept poisoning myself,” said Sean. “I didn’t know how to stop.”

Back in 2011, Sean started seeing a psychiatrist to address his long-term issues with anxiety and depression. He was prescribed a combination of benzos and Adderall.

“In the beginning, I did start to feel better,” he said. But as the years went by, he started abusing his medication, drinking alcohol, and misusing other drugs.

“I got to a point if I didn’t take my own regimen of benzos, Adderall, marijuana, and alcohol at least three times a day I couldn’t function; I couldn’t even get out of bed.”

Sean recalls that his home life was severely suffering so he told his wife he would go to AA. He began going to meetings but was still using drugs and alcohol. However, when another person in recovery invited Sean to go fishing, their honest conversation ignited his hope for change.

“He told me his story and it was like hearing my own. I finally didn’t feel so alone.”

After finding out about his friend’s experiences in rehab and learning that his addiction was an illness that could be treated, Sean began seeing his own situation differently.

Getting My Life Back

“I remember barely waking up on a Saturday morning after a bender, and knew I had to do something at that moment or I never would,” Sean recalls.

He asked his father to drive him to the hospital. Sean would detox for 5 days.

Detox was just the beginning; his next move was to get into treatment.

“I had a caseworker, and they had a flight for me when I got out of detox to go and start inpatient treatment at River Oaks Treatment Center near Tampa.

Sean says meeting other people in recovery, like himself, helped him to see that he wasn’t to blame for his addiction and taught him new skills he’d need to continue his sobriety journey.

“I was taught coping skills, went to meetings every night, and was introduced to my 12-step program. They basically taught me how to live again.”

Before Sean completed his stay at River Oaks, he signed up for an aftercare program to ensure continued counseling and support.

Sean says he feels better today than he ever did using drugs and alcohol. “I got my wife back and my life back!”

“If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

Sean continues to work his 12-step program; he has a sponsor and uses the coping skills he learned during treatment to stay sober.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
We are here to help you get sober and learn how to stay that way. Retreat to the sunny climate near Tampa, Florida for a stay at the gold standard of treatment facilities. At River Oaks, we offer customized care plans to help you on your recovery journey at our beautiful Hillsborough County campus.