Jennifer Maneely

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PHONE: 828-301-2028

My First Year Clean Off Drugs

It was so amazing and so awful at the same time. I had really done some damage to myself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Within a few months, I started getting better physically. The first couple of months, I had done so much mental damage to my brain, I had a hard time putting sentences together. I didn't know I was having a hard time putting sentences together, to me it came out smoothly. To others, they couldn't understand me.


I was an emotional wreck. There were so many ups and downs. One minute, I would be just fine, the next, I felt crazy. There were so many low points my first year I thought I had relapsed. I was dreaming about relapsing every night, and every day I woke up with so much guilt and shame because the dreams were so real.


And then there was relief when I realized it was just a dream, but I was so afraid it would be true one day. In my waking hours, I was so scared I would "accidentally" relapse. I know we don't "accidentally" relapse, but I was scared I would do something before realizing what I had done. I was so full of fear.


I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, so when people asked, I would almost get upset because I was just trying to not kill myself everyday, much less try to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. In my head, my response often went like..."Oh I don't know, try to not die." I woke up alive and not high, and I felt like that was all I needed to do with my life. And that first year, that's all I could muster.


I was put through the ringer in terms of deciding my level of commitment. I would run into people I was used to getting high with, and that would always send me off the deep end. I couldn't walk into certain places without having an almost panic attack every time. I got clean with my spouse, who did not stay clean and I had to decide what I was going to do at that point. Was I going to keep the same mentality I had using "If you can't beat them, join them," kind of mentality? Was I going to keep things secret again even if I didn't join him? Those are big decisions to make when you only have a few months clean and don't know yet if you want to stay that way.


I did stay that way. I stayed clean, it wasn't easy, and it was selfish and selfless at the same time. It was all about me that first year. Why? Because I was just trying to not die. I had to think about every step I was taking, if it was going to be the step towards the road that lead me to helping myself, or if I was going to start stepping down that bad road again. Everything I said, I had to think about.


Here's the big point I want to make to people who have loved ones going through this. There is a lot of anger and resentment that happens. And it's justified. People steal from you, they lie, they may even destroy your lives, your marriages, and so on. Once they stop using drugs/alcohol, many times the families are looking for their "day in court" so to speak. Meaning, they want the person who messed things up to fix it all as soon as they sober up.


But they can't, not right away anyways. It's not that they don't want to. They want to fix everything just as much as you want them to. But they are incapable of doing so right away because they are still just trying to figure out how to essentially walk and talk at the same time.


The healing will happen, and in the meantime, if you are angry, resentful, and incredibly hurt, you have to understand they can't fix that. At some point, you will have to figure out how to let that go, because it will destroy you. You let it go for you, not for them. Maybe there is too much damage to salvage the relationship, and you may have to let that go too in order to heal. But we heal so we can move on and not hold onto things that don't serve us.


They will be able to truly make their amends over time. When they have gotten a chance to change their behavior and so when they come to you, they are different people. And they become different people so that they don't continue to hurt you, but being a different person can't genuinely happen overnight.


They need time, but they will get there if they stay on the right path.

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