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When looking through snapshots of my wedding, there are a few that really stand out. There’s the typical walking back down the aisle with my newly-announced husband shot, my dad giving me away shot, sunset shots, and the picture with my brother. It’s one that was taken towards the end of the night by a family member, not the photographer. My skin is shiny and his is sunburnt red, but we are happy. Happy because my brother was there with us in Hawaii. My brother, who only three years prior was facing at least 15 years in prison due to his alcohol addiction and subsequent DUIs. Instead, he turned his life around and genuinely changed. That change enabled him to celebrate with our family, and for that, I will be forever grateful.
When Addiction Strikes Close To Home
There haven’t been many people in my life that I can say truly changed. I had grown very skeptical that it was even possible, and even my Hawaiian wedding to a wonderful man was as a result of a previously crumbled marriage to someone who after years of promises and lies, never could change his addictive behavior.
Experiencing addiction with prominent people in my life caused me to wonder why my brother was able to recover and live his life differently when so many others had failed. We had a nice lunch the other day where I picked his brain on that exact topic. Here’s what I extracted from our time together.
- Life before rehab and treatment was “self-centered” and “directionless”. He thought that rehab was for weak-minded people and “serious” alcoholics who were helpless. Since he did not see himself in that light, he did not consider rehab as a good option.
- It wasn’t until forced with rehab or prison one night in a cell that he knew he really needed to change. He got out of his own way, put his ego aside, and was ready to start over again, as scary as that was at the time. It was his surrendering moment.
- He looked at rehab as a tool to live a healthy life. It helped him clarify and understand what was going on with him and increased his knowledge on addiction. He also believes that rehab gives the addict a voice. It helped once he got out by giving his recovery credibility and a chance at a normal life.
- My brother strongly believes that those struggling with addiction will only find help and truly change if they are open to new possibilities and have a willingness to try. To get out of their own way so true healing can begin.
What I loved from our time together was the glimpse at what was going through his head when he entered rehab. His openness at the prospect of starting over and the description of himself prior to his recovery was inspiring. Inspiring because it takes a lot to realize that looking out for #1 might be causing more harm than good. That self is the one thing between you and living a better life.
He brought up a scene in the current movie, Dr. Strange. The scene shows Dr. Strange entering a spiritual center to get physical healing. He relied on his experiences and intelligence, and they became his biggest stumbling block. That got him kicked out, unable to get the healing that he desired. It was the perfect picture of how the addict needs to shed their ego to become whole.
I’m so thankful for the existence of rehab centers that help those, who are willing, find that healing and a path to change. Seasons in Malibu is the ideal addiction treatment center. They are a luxury world-class, accredited, dual-diagnosis treatment center in gorgeous Malibu, California. What sets them apart (besides their stunning site and facilities) is the holistic and personalized approach they take towards addiction recovery. They boast up to 65 one-on-one sessions a month. To put that in perspective, my brother only got one personalized session a week. He said, “Oh, wow” when he learned of how Seasons in Malibu operated. Imagine how much more you would learn about yourself if you had that kind of attention from such educated professionals!
My wish for those dealing with addiction (and for the people who love them) is that they find the tools that they need to help them truly change. Seasons in Malibu is one of those tools that I hope many take advantage of. Hopefully, they can also find themselves smiling into a camera for all those big life moments.
Have you or anyone you loved dealt with addiction? What did they do (or not do) to recover? Let me know in the comments below!