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Hope in the Face of a Drug Epidemic

Our country is experiencing a drug epidemic.  100 people die a day from drug overdoses.  Heroin is taking out entire cities. People are becoming hopelessly addicted to pain killers.  Meth labs are everywhere.

But all is not lost. There is hope.  There is healing.  Today we are sharing with you a story of one of our friends, Rebecca Baille.

Rebecca’s story is one of devastation and fear but also hope and inspiration.  This may mirror your life. This may mirror the life of your loved one.  We want you to know that addiction can be treated and a fulfilling life can be had.  Rebecca is proof.

Here Is Rebecca’s Story:

How many years sober are you?

I’ve been sober since 3-9-03 a little over 11 years.

How old were you when you started drinking or doing drugs?  What was your drug or drink of choice?

I was about 14 years old when I started drinking. I think I was a blackout drunk from the very beginning.

What was your pattern?

In the beginning, I drank whenever I could. Older friends would buy for me, sometimes other friend’s parents. By the time I was 17 I had a fake ID so I could buy just about everywhere in my hometown. I grew up in a college town, so it was really easy to drink underage at college parties too.

The older I got, the more I drank. Usually, I would have a few drinks every day. Then I would binge on the weekends. Towards the end, I would go on these benders where I would drink every day, all day if I could. There are honestly days and weeks out of my life that I really don’t remember.

Where did you get the drugs? How did you pay for them?

I smoked a lot of pot and did whatever drug that was put in front of me. I had usually been drinking heavily before I took anything.

How did you know that you were addicted?

I didn’t know for a long time. I wrestled with trying to control it. I told myself that if I just modified my drinking that it would be fine. I would change what I drank, how I drank, who I was drinking with. In the end though, I was always drunk. No matter how hard I tried to maintain, I just couldn’t. I was miserable drinking and I was miserable not drinking.

What was your rock bottom? How did you feel?

My bottom was in a motel room. I had overdrawn my bank for the last time, my card wouldn’t go through anymore. I had been drinking for days. My mother would no longer let me come home if I had been drinking. I felt empty, dirty, and hopeless. God, just spoke to me and told me that I was going to die in a motel room if I didn’t get help. When I came to, I somehow knew where the local detox was.

How did you get into treatment?

I was able to go to a state-funded detox center. I was taken to 3 AA meetings a day and given county resources for prolonged care. When the detox center discharged me, I didn’t have anywhere to go. All of the state-funded places had waiting lists. One place, in particular, said to me, “You have a bad attitude and you’re not ready to get sober.” I’m not sure of anyone who has a good attitude when they stop drinking.

I wish that I would have known that there were resources for me. I wish that I would’ve known that a place like Addiction Campuses existed. I remember calling one place that I saw online. The man asked me if I had insurance, I told him no. He told me it was going to 25K and that was the end of the conversation. My family would have helped me get into treatment if we had only known how.

How was your family affected by this disease?

My mother was always afraid. She worked in an emergency room and was well aware of the dangers of alcohol because she saw it first hand every time she went to work.

I would go days without her knowing where I was. I remember her screaming at me, “I don’t care if you’re drunk or high! Just call me and let me know you’re alive!”

Do you still struggle with addiction? Think about using?  Can you be around others at a bar?  Can you be at a party where there may be drinking?

I work a program today and part of that is giving up the struggle. There have been a few times in sobriety that I’ve thought about drinking, but I have tools that work and I reach out for help. I pray and go to meetings.

I can go anywhere I want as long as I have a good reason to be there. I live in Nashville now and I love live music and I love dancing. Sometimes those activities take place at a bar where people drink. I’m not afraid of alcohol. I refuse to not live and have fun. That’s the thing about being in recovery. Alcohol doesn’t run my life anymore.  I do.

What would you tell someone who is in denial about their addiction?

I ask them to tell me how they are controlling or managing it. I ask them about how it’s affecting their family. The bottom line I think is that if your family is concerned about you and telling you that you have a problem, you probably do. If you are having legal consequences, you probably have a problem. If the bad times are starting to out weight the good times, you have a problem.

What was one great lesson that you learned from treatment?

Asking for help does not make you weak. It is the exact opposite.  It’s what makes you stronger than you’ve ever been.

What would you tell someone about treatment to inspire them to go?

You never have to feel this way again. There is always hope. Even if you feel like you’ve burned every bridge possible. There is a solution and you’re worth getting it.

How do you know that you’re never going to relapse?

I can’t say that I’m NEVER going to relapse because I believe that alcohol affects my physiology in an addictive way.  So that means as long as I don’t drink, I’m pretty sure I won’t relapse.  I am done with the cravings because the alcohol and the habits associated with alcohol are gone.

I’m not going to drink today, and I haven’t had a drink in over 11 years. I’m pretty sure that I will be continuing my awesome life sober.

What else do you want to say?

Before I got sober my life wasn’t all that pretty. I couldn’t maintain employment and I threw away my college education. I made my mom cry on a regular basis. Because I gave up the battle with my addiction, I have an incredible life. I went back to college and even got a masters degree. My mother and I have an amazing relationship. She had a brain aneurysm rupture in 2007, not only did I save her life, but I take care of her today. I’m even her Power of Attorney. I was a good person who was really sick.  Now, I’m just a good person.

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