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One woman’s story proves addiction is not a “life sentence”
WEST CHESTER, Ohio (WKRC) - “Blindsided,” is how Susan felt when she walked into the living room of her brother’s house and found her family gathered for an intervention.
Like many addicts, Susan didn’t think she had a problem. She didn’t think she deserved this. So she liked to drink… that didn’t make her an alcoholic. And even if it did, so what? It was a secret she could keep, behavior she could conceal.
Yet as Susan's family began to describe what they experienced of her alcoholism, she realized she had been fooling herself. The secret wasn’t a secret at all; it was vividly obvious to everyone around her, and they were all hurting from watching her spiral.
“There I was,” she remembered, “sitting and listening in disbelief as I was being confronted with the behavior that was driving my loving family away and slowly killing me.”
That was December 11, 2016. The next day Susan's husband brought her to the Inpatient Program at Beckett Springs Behavioral Hospital so she could begin her journey of healing and restoration. At first, however, Susan still clung to that old notion of her being fine. So she was an alcoholic, and everyone she loved knew it. There had to be an easier way to quit, though. Surely she didn’t belong here.
“But as the fog was lifting, I found I was surrounded by people from all walks of life that understood me and what I was going through. That was huge! I wasn’t alone.”
And just as she found solace in others, she came to understand the true nature of her disease. “I was a prisoner,” she says, “so deep in a pit of despair that I had even entertained the thought of suicide.”
Then she opened herself up to the prospect of a better life, and soon she was set upon earning it.
Of course, the problem with addiction is that it doesn’t wilt at principles, or resolve, or the random good impulse to put down that glass of wine. Susan knew she wanted a better life. She didn’t know how to get it. And that is where Beckett Springs Behavioral Hospital came in.
Beckett Springs Behavioral Hospital is a renowned mental health and addiction treatment facility in West Chester. Its multidisciplinary team works to address the unique mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and cognitive needs of each individual patient. The Inpatient Program teaches patients to learn to manage their mental health or addiction issues through behavioral and holistic therapies, wellness education, recreational activities, and medication.
Those therapies proved invaluable to Susan. The mindfulness training, the stress management, the solution-focused therapy—it all brought her back to herself. And Beckett Springs Behavioral Hospital's ongoing support and relapse prevention programs have ensured she stays that way.
It wasn’t without hard work, of course. Susan spent a full week in the Inpatient Program. Afterwards she completed her time at Beckett Springs Behavioral Hospital in an outpatient capacity, attending daily programs and therapies until she had done all she needed to do. All along she had to fight against what was destroying her, surviving upon the belief that each day she fought she got stronger and that there really were better days ahead.
Thankfully, there were. This is her now: “I no longer look to alcohol to try to find comfort or escape life’s problems. My life isn’t perfect, but what joy there is in knowing I am no longer bound by the chains of addiction.”
Susan has a way with words, as you’ve probably noticed. She also has something to say to those who are where she was in 2016.
“Addiction is a prison of shame, guilt, fear and hopelessness,” she says. “But it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. The chains of addiction can be broken, and the prisoner set free.”
Beckett Springs Behavioral Hospital is located at 8614 Shepherd Farm Drive.