Anonymous Story:
No One Knew the True Me

The first time I drank alcohol was when I was 16. I had 2 Smirnoff Ices at a popular guys’ house and I was trying to fit in. I grew up in a LDS household in California, and was very active in my faith.  At that moment in high school, I was trying to please my peers, but also ease the discomfort I felt by being in my own skin. I wanted to feel and be different than I was.

About 6 months later, two days before my 17th birthday, my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer.  My drinking became pretty regular soon after, partially due to my desire to be around friends who distracted me from the painful reality of my dying father, and partially as a way to numb it out. This continued until he passed away one year later.  I was in a very dark place at that time; I had lost my father, and hated myself for spending the time I had with him with my friends and partying. My drinking escalated, and I started to drink alone in my room. I felt so much guilt for what I was doing, knowing that my behaviors were unhealthy and that my religious faith did not approve of alcohol consumption. I sought out a drug and alcohol counselor toward the end of my senior year, but that ended when I went on my senior trip to Hawaii and blacked out almost every day.

Discharge Prevention in Drug Treatment

The family is an important aspect of the drug treatment process. This video provides valuable information about the partnership between the New Roads staff and the client's family.

voices of treatment

Uncovery: Voices of Treatment

This post was written to introduce the Uncovery: Voices of Treatment campaign for Mental Health Awareness Month, which asks people to share their stories of mental illness in a creative format. Visit our submission page to contribute your own.

When I was a sophomore in college, one of my creative writing teachers told our class "Poetry is the art of saying those things that are impossible to say." It's one of those phrases I've remembered ever since, because, at first, it doesn't seem to make any sense. It's a contradiction, a bit of circular logic--if what yo­­u're trying to say is impossible, shouldn't any method of saying it be impossible too? But in poetry--and, I would argue, in all creative mediums--it's in those contradictory spaces that we discover strength, meaning, and truth.

When I started writing in earnest, it was because I didn't know what else to do. I was fifteen, halfway through tenth grade, and suffering from what I now recognize as deep depression and anxiety, partially brought about by my struggle with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome. I was caught between the desire to engage meaningfully with my surroundings and a lack of the intrinsic social knowledge I needed in order to do it. I would cling to and isolate myself from my friends by turns, while feeling unable to describe to them the dark fearful place in which I was living. I was fighting to find a way to articulate a lived experience that felt more disjointed and alien every day.

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  • Kari G.

    Just when all hope was lost, I walked into these doors, and found a new will to live without drugs. I could never imagine this day would ever happen.  Thank you to the therapists, thank you to the mentor staff, and thank you to my peers!!! I have found what it actually means to live a full life without the darkness of drugs.

    Kari G., Graduate

The Pink Cloud, by Kate Y:
Are Recovery and Happiness a Temporary Illusion

After a recent visit to my therapist I got to thinking about the Pink Cloud Phenomenon, an AA-coined term for people new in recovery that are seemingly high on life and out of touch with reality. I was explaining to her how happy I have been lately. I’m fresh out of rehab, I have a new job, new kitten and things in general are pretty good. Her immediate response was “Kate that might be your pink cloud talking, try not to get over confident and complacent.” And then suddenly I sort of dropped out of the proverbial cloud I was sitting on and seriously thought about recovery and happiness.

This Pink Cloud concept leaves me pondering so many questions. Does the recovering addict need to remind themselves whenever they feel happy - “look self, snap out of it, it’s just the pink cloud…?” Does this mean I’m living in a fantasy land right now unbeknownst to me because I’m new in recovery? Can we really just be happy and sober? And finally, why is the cloud pink? Personally, my cloud will be mint.

There are some negative characteristics when speaking about the pink cloud, such as being overly confident in your sobriety and giving up on the tools and processes that keep you sober. I believe this is true; once you think you are “cured” or above the problem of addiction, chances are you will be getting high really soon. If I think back to my previous relapses, this is very true indeed.

Life is a roller coaster ride and there will always be ups and downs. It’s knowing how to ride these waves that is key during sobriety. If you can manage the lows, use your DBT recovery skills and still maintain a positive outlook on life and living sober, then stay on that cloud my friend!

A pink cloud, silver-lining, “honey-moon phase” (or whatever you want to call it) in recovery is not a bad thing and it doesn't have to be temporary. We should all be relishing in the fact we are sober and happy. Let’s face it, being high on a cloud versus high on a speedball is definitely the better alternative.

Sobriety and happiness does not need to be an illusion, it can be a reality for years and years to come. Here's a little to-do list to keep you motivated, happy and sober so you can maintain that pink (or *insert favorite color here) cloud status: