How to Stop Fighting — Crystal’s Story

October 25th, 2011 is the first time I walked into the doors of Healing Transitions. Little did I know that I would become very familiar with Healing Transitions and the program there. By the time I silver chipped in July 2016, I had been in detox 10 times and in the program 9 times. That last time I entered the program I had reached a point where I wanted to be done with the addiction. I was finally willing to do whatever it took to stay sober.

I’m the type of person that originally did everything that Healing Transitions told me not to do. I could never make the connection of how important the suggestions I was receiving were. I started to realize the 9th time through the program how fast the consequences came when I didn’t listen. I tried other programs and even moved all the way to Wisconsin, thinking that maybe a different location would change the outcome. It didn’t. I found everything I wanted for my addiction in a town of 1200 people. I eventually made a call and came back to Raleigh and Healing Transitions.

The hardest part of the program for me to grasp was the spirituality part. It was like I ran into a roadblock every time I tried to get through it. Growing up I went to church and decided I didn’t enjoy it, so spirituality was always an issue for me. I couldn’t let go and come to terms with the idea that I don’t control all of the outcomes in life. This changed for me during the last time I went through the program.

I also had a turning point with my spirituality in the beginning of April 2016. I was coming down a backroad heading towards my dad’s house and there was a concrete bridge I had to cross. I had this terrible thought enter my head. I was thinking how if I hit the bridge in the right way I could flip the car and drown. I don’t know what happened in that moment but my eyes welled up with tears and the next thing I know I’m pulling into my dad’s driveway. I felt like I got closer to my God in that moment. I also think that was when I stopped fighting against my sobriety completely.

I reflect back on it now and before the program I never had many consequences. I lost jobs but I thankfully have never been to jail so I have a clean record. I’ve seen a lot of people and friends die over the last few years and I can’t help but wonder why that’s not me. I made a lot of mistakes and I’ve overdosed four times. My grandmother found me a couple times in really bad shape. She passed away last year and she would always say to me “Crystal Jean, when I pass away, when the good lord is ready, I just want you to be sober.” I am so thankful that I was able to give her that gift. When my family called and told me she was passing it felt terrible, but I also felt good that I could be there for my family and be present when they needed me at a very difficult time. I could be there to hold their hands and be a comfort to them. Also, being able to be there so my grandmother could see me in her last days as the person that she believed God meant for me to be.

I was also able to be at Healing Transitions during that difficult time and Chris Budnick took the time to sit down on the couch and talk to me about everything that happened. I had support from all my friends there asking me if I was alright and if I needed anything. I wouldn’t ever have been able to find that type of support anywhere else before. And one of the best realizations I had that day was that I hadn’t even thought about drinking because of the pain I was going through. If it wasn’t for Healing Transitions, I don’t know if I would have been able to make it through that moment in my life.

My life now is great. I know that there are a lot of people that I can call anytime if I need to and they will always answer. It’s also easier for me to call and ask for help. The phone doesn’t feel like it weighs 1000 pounds anymore. I have a job that most alcoholics probably wouldn’t work in — I work in a restaurant bar. But it is a great place to work because the man I work for has 10 years of sobriety. Everybody in the restaurant that I work with knows that I’m in recovery. Some of my other coworkers are in recovery as well and if they see that I’m getting stressed they’ll let me take a break for a few minutes.

I’m trying to decide a major to go back to school. I haven’t decided yet but am so grateful that I have the opportunity to make that choice today. I also have the choice to help people today and go to Healing Transitions to give back.

My relationship with my family has never been better. I’m close to my dad and when I got my driver’s license back he gave me the keys to a truck that is completely in my name. My dad doesn’t express how he feels very much and when he was able to do that for me he couldn’t stop smiling. My great aunt comes up to see me and we have family dinners. I am so happy to be able to reconnect with them today.

The last thing I want to say is the program at Healing Transitions really kicks in when you let go and stop fighting. I was a fighter and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I’m so thankful that I did.

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