I open the door and look back at a now half-empty, dorm-style room and think about all the memories I’ve created over the last four months. A nightly routine of journaling, talking to my roommate our day, saying our prayers, and moments of gut-wrenching, might-of-just-peed-a-little, laughter. I reflect on how grateful I am that my judge court-ordered me to complete a six to nine-month peer-evaluated, behavioral modification program at a 12-step recovery center. I chuckle to myself at the thought of “six to nine months”—it took me over a year to complete.
I walk down the hallway, down the stairs, until I’m face to face with facility’s double doors. I recall the evil, depraved, imposter, hiding under her shell of human skin and bones who arrived here. Her arms and legs were shackled and cuffed, chains smacking the ground clink, clink, clink.
I can almost feel the desperation again, the crippling fear, the absolute hopelessness. I was mangled, completely broken. I silently thank God for keeping me when I didn’t want to be kept. I head towards the sound of my sobriety sisters’ voices echoing thru the hallway singing our farewell song…
“Lean on me when you’re not strong…”
Smiling, I feel my cheeks warm from embarrassment. My heart is overflowing with the love I have for these ladies and this program. They meet me at the door one by one leaving me with words of wisdom. After many hugs and goodbyes, I walk out the doors for the last time. With our windows rolled down and sunglasses on, my little sister and I drive as the notes of Lean on Me begin to fade. It’s a bittersweet moment; tears of happiness, disbelief, and sadness run down my cheeks as the reality sinks in.
I did it! I completed my program!
I feel able to conquer anything in my path because I have arrested my desire to use. I push to find my footing in a world that is strangely familiar, but altogether different somehow too.
This post was submitted by Brooke McKinley.