I was lost in my life’s journey, looking for a brightness all over during my last 4 years.
I’d become a zombie, I’d become the shadow of myself, I’d become my own sadness and pain and fears. I could not be myself anymore so I subconsciously decided to slowly die.
I began taking prescription medications when, one day in the spring of 2016, all of a sudden, I could not get off of my sofa! I stayed there for almost a month. I wasn’t able to feel anything besides sadness and desperation; and as the days, months and subsequent years passed, hopelessness becomes my closest companion.
Then in order to cover my long nights awake, I start another journey all together, with a pill called Xanax. I eventually became a slave to this drug, and a weak zombie once again.
My will power was lost at this point and my life was no longer in my possession. The medicines possessed me. I felt I was living in shadow and darkness.
My life before sobriety was not a life. It was a slow, perpetual sentence to death. It was on a warm, Caribbean island on a Christmas Eve, that my guardian angels decided to give me the best gift ever. Somehow, my desperation and hopelessness guided me toward my computer that day, looking for a new door, a new light, someone to help me. I made a silent cry for help as my fingers while typed on my computer, “holistic rehab for Xanax addiction.” And up came the name of the Alternative to Meds Center in Sedona, Arizona.
I instantly loved the picture of the location. I knew from the very beginning I was looking for a place in the mountains, a place specializing in medication tapering, alternative therapies and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a place that emphasized supplementation and a good diet. And ATMC was it.
On the 1st of January, 2019, I started my year with a new project: Taking my life back!
My first 2 weeks were a nightmare. My body was in pain. My mind was still trying to control the situation. But then around week 3, everything switched. I started to feel! I felt the good, I felt the bad; crying, laughing, being angry, being grateful.
I was on a dose of 2.5 mg of Xanax when I came to ATMC. I was going to go for only a month, because I felt I was already leaving my two daughters, my job, my husband and my other responsibilities for too long. I actually didn’t realize that the real work wouldn’t start until near the end of the first month. So I decided to stay longer, and I’m totally happy that I did so.
I was tremendously lucky to find a nice group of strong, struggling humans at ATMC who shared the journey with me. We created clear boundaries and strong bonds while there at ATMC. We shared tears, anxiety, depression, experiences, homesickness, cravings, love stories and photos. At the end of our stays, we would share songs, presents, hugs, tears and words of hope.
Today is my first day after leaving ATMC, day one. And I have to say, I’m totally excited, and scared at same time! At ATMC I learned to take one step at a time, to be patient with myself, to created boundaries and to advocate for myself. I also learned that sometimes it is okay to pause our lives from everything, and from all of the people that really care for me. They will always be there. And most importantly, I will be finally and completely be 100% there for them! More than anything else, self-love is what I learned during my stay at ATMC.