Recovery Unplugged

“I lost myself.”

Carla H

Carla Heyler - Humans in Recovery

Clean Date: March 17, 2018
Age: 31
From: Camarillo, CA

I think my addiction started way before I ever put drugs in my body. I have so many memories of addict-like behavior as a child. Essentially, I wanted to achieve perfection, just for the sake of achieving it. Not necessarily because anyone told me I had to, but because I needed to feel like I was enough. So that’s where it began, but what I consider to be the beginning of the end was around 2014-ish. I began abusing the medications prescribed to me for ADHD, because I was falling asleep on my feet while practicing medicine and nobody knew why. I didn’t get the treatment I needed, so I started treating myself.

I began to develop this routine of 72 hours awake, and 24-36 hours asleep. I lost my job. I had no purpose. I had gone from being in school to be a doctor with a clear plan for my future to having nothing. I was living at my mom’s house, living at my grandma’s house- with whoever would take me, and literally just biding the time away. Most of my time was spent going doctor to doctor, trying to figure out the ways and means to get more. I always felt like I never had enough so doctor shopping became my full time job. Even when I had a full time job, all of my time off was spent at the doctors’.

My mentality was that I wasn’t really a drug addict since I wasn’t getting my drugs off the streets. I thought that I would only be a drug addict if I was buying pills or meth or something like that, which I wasn’t, so I was able to justify my using. Since I was getting it from a doctor, even though what I was doing was illegal, in my brain, it was somehow okay. Don’t get me wrong, if someone had provided me with another substance, I would have found a way to abuse it, but since it was from a doctor, it felt okay.

I was somehow able to keep it a secret for a while. When I was living with my mom, she sent me to a psychiatric hospital because I had slept for 36 hours straight, and at that point, my addiction resembled depression symptoms. It partially was, but it was definitely induced. At the hospital, I detoxed by myself, as they didn’t know I was abusing drugs. Afterwards, I went through an IOP program where they prescribed me exactly what I had been abusing. The people at the IOP program started to catch on, but I would just come up with lies and excuses to get out of it. Soon after that, my addiction started to become pretty obvious. My mom would constantly try to catch me, but I would always find a way to wiggle out of it. It was easy to hide it because I used alone. My addiction made me completely selfish and completely alone. Essentially, I f****d up being perfect, so I became the perfect f*** up.

Eventually, I lost my job, I lost my family, I lost my dignity, and I lost my sense of self. I even almost lost my freedom. At one point, I was even looking at charges for what I had been doing. I am on probation now, thank God. But still, I almost ended up getting a 24 year sentence. I lost myself.

There were a couple of key moments in my life where I realized I needed some outside help. The first time I went to rehab, it was because the cops had started to catch on to what I was doing. After doing my first round of treatment, I managed to keep everything a secret. I would chair meetings, I had a homegroup and a sponsor and everything someone in recovery would have, except I was doing it all high. I did it to look good for my charges. Everyone thought I was doing okay, so for me to come clean about being on drugs sucked. Despite using, I wanted it to be over. I wanted to be clean.

The last time I had a moment of clarity, it was purely me. You could say it was partially inspired by the loss of a job, but the point where I realized I needed help was not the loss of the job, but when I was sitting in my car afterwards. Instead of thinking, “Holy s***, what am I going to do?” or being upset about what just happened, I felt relieved. I was relieved because being fired meant I had more time to get drugs. I knew going to rehab wasn’t going to get me my job back. I didn’t want to get help to get anything back. I knew it would actually probably make the charges worse, because I would have to admit to the D.A. that I had been using the entire time. I decided to go to rehab because I just wanted to stop. I wanted my first thought to be something other than “How will I get more?” I just needed relief.

I think surrender is the most important thing I learned from treatment. Whether it’s over some stupid thing at work, or being told to go to halfway, or even being told you have a bedtime because you’re in rehab. The ability to just be able to step back and listen to somebody else’s advice on how to live my life has been something I continue to use every day.”