A vacation becomes a wake-up call for Steve
In July 2013, Steve realized that his drinking was out of control after having a drinking problem for decades. “I had had several incidents over the years. I was drinking all day before I went to my job as a bartender. I basically drank myself out of a job,” he says.
About a month before coming to Kolmac, Steve traveled to Brussels with his wife. Travel is always memorable, but this trip stood out for a different reason. “My schedule was off from the time change, so I didn’t drink for about 18 hours. I ended up having a seizure and had to spend the rest of our vacation in a medicated haze,” he recalls.
Once Steve got home, he started drinking again. However, after a bad weekend, he reached out to Kolmac at his wife’s suggestion.
Taking the first steps at Kolmac
Steve called on a Wednesday and the intake team said he could come in that day. However, he was still feeling hungover and sick, so he wanted to wait a bit. According to Steve, “I wanted to wait until I could walk in clear-headed and really make that decision.”
He came to Kolmac with his wife for an intake appointment that Friday morning, and he started treatment the following Monday. “I hadn’t had a drink in about 5-6 days at that point,” Steve recalls.
When he started treatment, he felt anxious and uncertain. According to Steve, “I thought I’d be marked a drunk, but I started to relax after a couple days when I realized that wasn’t the case.”
As Steve started to learn how to navigate treatment, he got more comfortable. However, he still preferred listening to sharing. “I’m more introverted. I’d share some days, but I got more out of listening most of the time. You learn a lot by keeping your eyes and ears open. But I learned I could be more open and expressive over time,” he explains.
Steve had one big fear during his treatment – whether he could keep his job. “I’ve worked as a bartender for my whole career, but I had only been at my job when I started Kolmac for a few months. I said I needed to take some time off for medical reasons, but I didn’t say why at first. I was worried about losing my job,” he recalls.
He was also concerned about whether he could still work around alcohol without relapsing. He decided to go back to work during his treatment. According to Steve, “My group was worried and thought I was tempting fate. But my coworkers were supportive when I came back to work and told them about my treatment and recovery plans. It worked out in my case.”
Making the move to continuing care
Eventually, Steve was ready to transition to continuing care. “I got a lot out of IOP (intensive outpatient treatment), so I jumped at the chance. I had the tools and support that I needed to keep moving forward,” he says.
His continuing care group was very stable, but Steve still struggled to share as an introvert. “I was still a bit nervous to share, but one group member let me know it was okay to be open,” he recalls.
This same group member later became a patient advocate at Kolmac and convinced Steve to do the same after completing continuing care. “I ended up being in continuing care for three years and I’ve been a patient advocate for over two years,” he explains.
Thoughts and reflections on treatment and recovery
When it comes to treatment, Steve stresses the importance of taking responsibility for your actions. “You need to know this is on you. You’re in treatment because of your actions. The sooner you accept this, the easier the process becomes because you’re not fighting yourself, just the addiction,” he explains.
He also believes it’s important to go to treatment for the right reasons. According to Steve, “It’s a waste of time if you don’t go to treatment for you. You can’t go to please someone else like your spouse or your employer. It needs to be for you.”
Finally, Steve thinks that people should know what to expect from treatment. “You need a plan and support to get through each day and each step of the process. There are ups and downs because treatment is not linear. But recovery is possible. If something is bothering you, no matter how big or small, remember this – ASK FOR HELP. That’s why you walked in the door.”
Contact us to learn how you can begin your recovery at Kolmac.