Tell us a little about the journey that led you to Tamarack?
I had several years of sobriety and it looked like I was on a good path but I was in the middle of very uncomfortable family issues. The family dynamic wasn’t good, I was annoyed by it all and I just wanted to feel better. I went for a few drinks, and immediately that led back to my drug of choice. It was just so easy to fall back in and I fell fast. Eleven days and $1300 later, I was left with nothing.
What gave you the strength, focus and drive to get back into recovery?
I was sent to jail. I was already losing my life, I was at death’s door, but now I lost my freedom. Funny thing though, losing my freedom saved my life. I had time to think and to get mentally strong again.
What lessons did you learn from that relapse?
I learned that I cannot use again. I learned that my thinking and my attitude was part of the problem. I learned that I need to stick with a sponsor and work the 12 steps. I also learned that I need to stay connected with people in recovery… good people.
What is different for you this time?
I am older and I have grandchildren now. I want to be a positive role model to them. My grandmother is dying and I want to be there for her while she is still here and to be sober to support my family.
You have had struggles with your health and family during your time at Tamarack.
What has kept you on track?
I have learned so much here and I am better prepared for what life brings. I realize that I cannot control everything, or anything really. My family dynamics have not really changed much but I now have the skills and tools to get through tough situations. I accept my health issues. I do what I can of course, but some things I have learned to cope with in a healthy way.
What will you take away from your Tamarack experience?
I have made some good friends. I have been inspired by others and I hope that I’ve been an inspiration as well. Tamarack has the best counsellors -seriously! Where else do you get a counsellor that comes with you to see your sick grandmother? That was a very hard thing for me to do, and my counsellor helped to put me at ease. Here, you recover with others that are recovering. They know how to do it. That has not been my experience before. It’s a whole different ball game. If you need a hug, you get a hug. You feel the love here from the minute you walk in the door. Right from the top on down. There is no break in the chain. This place is strong.
What does vigilance mean to you, and what will that look like in your recovery journey?
Vigilance for me means being aware of what went wrong in my past, staying serene, staying positive, and having acceptance. It means using a sponsor, going to aftercare, and getting to meetings. I have a safe place to go where I can let my guard down and I need to keep that connection. It means continuing to talk to my counsellor keeping my network of recovery friends close.
What would you say to someone who has had a similar journey and is contemplating their future?
Go to Tamarack! And get to a meeting… I will take you! Sobriety is worth it. That’s all I want to do now, just be sober. I would say “if I can do it, you can do it”. I feel like a good person again, and you can too. Forgive yourself and give yourself a break. There’s help. Get it.