We are now hiring for a full-time Evening Substance Abuse Counselor for our Slidell & Metairie offices.
Being sober and facing grief is quite different because there is no pain reliever. I remember I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a One Stop gas station when Mom called to tell me my grandfather, who I affectionately called Papa, had passed away. As if the initial shock wasn’t enough, she said he had passed away three days prior to her telling me. I asked why she waited to break the news, and she simply said, “I didn’t think you would care.”
I was in the middle of my active addiction and didn’t participate much in family functions – my life was a mess and this was pure proof. I was unable to stay sober for family functions, but I showed up to them anyway. The unfortunate part is I do not even remember them. The fact my mother believed I wouldn’t care about my Papa passing away still hurts me, but I understand it now.
A couple of months later, I surrendered and went to treatment. I did 60 days in two different facilities, then stayed at a sober home in South Florida. While in treatment, sober homes, and even just the program you meet a lot of people who are doing all they can to beat this disease. Unfortunately, what comes with that is a lot of loss as well. I have lost more people to addiction than I would like to even admit to.
Two of my roommates from different treatment centers, two beautiful girls filled with more energy and life than I ever had, succumbed to this. I remember those calls as well – it is like the world stops for a moment. I sat in shock, then heartbreak. I think of all the things they could have done and everything they will never get to do. I think of their families and the pain they must feel.
The loss of Papa was difficult, but the difference between his passing and the loss of my roommates is I am sober now. I feel all these emotions including fear. I have a fear of this disease that it could so easily and so quickly take my two friends, but instead of focusing on the loss, I celebrated their lives. A group of us got together and went to the beach. We bought a soda bottle with her name on it, each wrote a note to her, and listen to a song called “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. We let the bottle go into the ocean and we released balloons into the sky.
I can’t explain the feeling we had there sitting together and remembering all the things we did with her. Being sober for this loss was so different. I sat in it and instead of choosing to run and use, I chose to face it. I chose to celebrate life and be grateful to still have mine. I chose to live each day for those loved ones we have lost to addiction, and strive to accomplish all the things they no longer have the opportunity to.
The road to recovery is difficult and uncomfortable. From the physical discomfort to the lack of hope. Being trapped in addiction can seem scary and overwhelming.
It doesn’t take long for those effects to begin to manifest. After one year of abstinence, addicts have reported positive changes in their lives.
Better oral hygiene and the health benefits it brings. Their teeth would be less yellow, their gums are less black. As they recommit to taking better care of themselves, their mouths will look and feel better.
Mental health problems often go with substance abuse disorders. The point of most substances is to alter people’s minds. Drugs have negative side-effects, including an increase in suicidal thoughts. Risk of depression is also a negative side-effect. Someone who has gone through addiction recovery for one year would:
- Have far fewer suicidal thoughts
- Be able to think more clearly
- Overcome the depression that their substance abuse caused
- Be able to think more clearly
- Enjoy spending time with people again
- Be less irritable, argumentative, and aggressive
- Be more willing to discuss their feelings
- Have an increased desire to establish and maintain healthy relationships
- Occupational Health
Most people who suffer from addictions have difficulty finding or keeping a job. Addicts behavior make it difficult for them to appeal to employers. Many addicts cannot abstain for eight hours at a time, making it impossible for them to hold a full-time job. Others resort to stealing money from their workplace which gets them fired. Someone who has gone through addiction recovery for one year would:
- Be able to think, act, and speak clearly
- Be less likely to steal things from their employer
- Be more motivated to find and keep a job
- Work harder and for longer periods of time
- Regain their belief in a higher power, whatever it may be
- Work toward improving their relationship with their higher power
- Hold themselves accountable for their actions
- Seek forgiveness from their higher power, themselves, and others
While addictions do affect people’s lives, they can be overcome. Even people with no hope have overcome their addictions and rebuilt their lives. Addiction recovery is a long-term process and requires long-term treatment. But it is possible—and worth it.
We are looking for a qualified Registered Nurse for our substance abuse clinics in Louisiana. The RN assists with efforts with team members in accordance with standards of care and practices. Please click for more information.
7701 West Saint Bernard Highway
Arabi, LA 70032
2321 North Hullen Street
Metairie, LA 70001
115 Christian Lane
Slidell, LA 70458
Monday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm