"I WAS STILL WORTH SAVING" - ADAM'S STORY
This probably won’t be the most shocking or outlandish addiction story you’ve ever heard. But I believe it might be one of the most common. It may even be the story of someone close to you, whether you know it or not. But the unspectacular surface of my story is really the most insidious part: I never thought my problems seemed important enough to merit serious treatment.
My parents both drank. Never to the point where they hit me or screamed at me or lost their jobs. But there was an absence in our home. A gulf separating a young child from feeling the affection and care he needed. I wandered around that space and felt every square inch of that void, until I snuck my first drink at 14. That first taste of warmth and contentment, no matter how illusory, set me on a path I am only now finding my way back from.
For me, drinking was just a fact of life. Never questioned, never examined. And for a long time, it gave me what I thought I needed. A sense of well-being to compensate for the happiness I couldn’t find anywhere else. I was high-functioning, and excelled at my job. In retrospect, I think if things had gone a little worse at work, I might have reached out for help sooner. Instead, it was my metric for rationalizing my addiction. If I could be doing well professionally, how bad could my problem really be?
Then came COVID and lockdown. The isolation led to the abandonment of the little acts of self-care and - frankly - self-respect that were the last barriers preventing my addiction from taking over completely. Over time, this began to express itself in new and sometimes subtle ways. I gained weight. I showered less often. Then, other boundaries began to dissolve. If I finished the day’s work a little early, why not have a cocktail a little early?
I needed to drink more and more to get the buzz I was seeking. And little by little, I felt worse and worse when I was sober. I started missing deadlines, then entire days at a time. All the masks came off until I was left with my addiction staring back at me. And I felt an echo of that void I had tried to escape so many years ago.
But in that silence, I heard a voice. It was telling me that if I cared about myself at all, I needed to reach out for help. It was a voice I had been able to drown out in the past, but now it was too strong to ignore. I didn’t want to throw my life away. I needed help.
I called Chabad Lifeline not long after, and was told I could come by the next day for an outdoor group meeting. On my way there, I pictured myself entering some sterile facility, a place that looked like a punishment. Imagine my surprise as I walked up to a lovely home surrounded by green and flowers. When I took a seat in the garden, surrounded by warm, supportive people and a speaker sharing his truth, I knew I was finally where I needed to be.
I’m now a little over six months sober. I’ve been working on processing the pain that that ran so deep for so long. I feel it’s important to share my story because I can’t help but think that there are so many others like me out there minimizing their problems. You deserve help. You deserve a better life. You are worth saving.
*Names and details have been changed to protect the anonymity of those involved. Additionally, we would note that the reason we were able to attend to Adam immediately is because we are regularly expanding our staff in order to meet the growing demand for our services. As Chabad Lifeline is sustained through private donations, this entails significant fundraising efforts. Making a donation can help ensure that we can continue to provide timely care that can ultimately save a life or set a family on a better course, creating a positive ripple effect on future generations.