Surrender came in the form of a sentence that repeated over and over in my head: I can’t go on like this. I remember the relief of those words, a sense that something impossibly heavy had been lifted from my body even as I wept with fear over the choice I was about to make. I remember wrestling with the shame and denial I’ve been living with for so long until I could pick up the phone, then pacing from one end of the house to the other until I could do one more thing (so simple, yet more daunting than any action in recent memory). “I need help,” I said in a voice so shaky and near-inaudible I had to repeat it. “I need help.”

The next day I checked into the hospital detox unit at an addiction center here in Eugene, then transferred to their residential facility to begin 28 unbelievably long days of inpatient treatment. 28 days away from my children, away from home, away from work and volunteering and my husband and my house and everything important in my life that I was, frankly, on the verge of losing.

It was a grueling month, filled with a strange mix of terror and discomfort and friendship and hope. I walked in a broken woman, completely hollowed out by what I was doing to myself. I was silent at first, my arms folded tight over my chest and my mouth a thin unhappy line — but the emptiness in me slowly filled. I came to life. I allowed myself to crack open, I placed my deepest trust in the hands of my fellow addicts, I breathed in the strength that was being offered to me and my days eventually rang with tears and laughter.

I’m home now, and I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I feel better than I have in a long, long time. I’m hopeful, and above all, grateful. Grateful for health and love and support and fellowship, grateful for the chance to work on righting a shitload of wrongs, grateful to be sober.

one month chip

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