5 Simple Mantras That Led Me to Sobriety (And How They Changed My Perspective on Life)
When all the signs point toward seeking treatment for your addiction, it’s not always easy to get in the car and go. But, sometimes the most important step is simply that: picking up and going. At least, that’s the advice of Kristen Sowada alumnae of Caron Treatment Centers.
“If you have any question in your mind—don’t wait for jail, DUI, loss of a job, or something bad to happen to issue an ultimatum,” Sowada says. “Just pick up and go.”
One of the first signs of a problem might not be obvious—jail, job loss, issued a DUI—sometimes the signs are more subtle like people starting to push away from you, and no longer wanting to be around you, notes Sowada.
“The loss of relationships and friendships due to your behavior are the more telling warning sign of a greater problem.”
Her advice is vital for parents, or those suffering themselves who are noticing behaviors leading them farther from the life they love and deeper into the weeds of addiction.
The next step is isolation, which is just where your addiction wants you,” Sowada says. “I urge people to watch out for this, and hope they don’t have to go through what I did, to finally get into treatment.”
Still apprehensive about addiction treatment? Here, Sowada shares her advice for those who may be struggling themselves or for loved ones struggling with the addiction of a family member.
Treatment isn’t all talk.
As a healthcare professional, Sowada was well-versed in the health impact of her addiction. She also knew her workplace would pose unique challenges to her recovery process. That’s why, when searching for addiction treatment, Sowada and her family sought a place with experienced medical professionals, at Caron Treatment Centers.
“It wasn’t just good medical care when it came to addiction treatment,” says Sowada. “At Caron Treatment Centers they have a clinical staff who offer state-of-the-art medical care overall and do clinical research in addiction treatment, setting Caron apart from other treatment facilities.”
She credits the experienced staff of clinical professionals and the tailored treatment programs at Caron with providing her with the skills she needed for recovery.
It’s not all about me.
You’re never alone in addiction treatment. In fact, research shows when people include family and friends in therapy they’re more likely to maintain their sobriety.
“One of the biggest things I appreciated about Caron was their ability to connect and work with me and my family while I was going through treatment,” Sowada says.
What challenges you will change you.
“For me, accepting that my behavior—especially in early sobriety—needed to change, was difficult,” says Sowada.
Sometimes the most difficult part of addiction treatment isn’t dealing with your addiction at all—it’s working on what your life is like outside of addiction.
“Being honest with others and with yourself can be a challenge as you go through the process, but the therapists at Caron challenged my character because they knew my potential,” she says. “They knew how much I had to offer”
Good health is a long-term investment.
There isn’t a deadline for you to ‘get better.’ Some people may feel prepared to leave treatment in 30 days, others may need three months. Regardless of your length of stay, notes Sowada, it’s important to not rush through treatment.
“I stayed for five months, so it was important to me and my family that we were at a treatment center that was patient-centric and wasn’t just ‘in-and-out’,” she says. “After all, we are dealing with a life or death disease.”
Plus, when a treatment center treats addiction as a disease, the support after treatment makes a big difference in helping you stay on the path you’ve worked so hard to find.
“Caron taught me I wasn’t a bad person, but rather a sick person who was trying to get well,” says Sowada. “Getting well meant an investment of my time in order to develop coping skills and change old behaviors.”
By identifying and addressing life issues early in the recovery process, Caron Treatment Centers tailors a plan unique to your needs for your first year of recovery. Developing a support system tailored to your personal and professional life that identifies a circle of support and creates measurable actions and assignments, you’ll never feel alone on the road to a better life.
I am worth it—and so are you.
“Before Caron, I felt like I was permanently stuck,” says Sowada. “I was afraid what was on the other side of it [my addiction]. I wish I had known how amazing life was going to be in sobriety; perhaps it would have motivated me to get sober sooner than I did.”
In fact, her pain was a direct result of using substances to cope, notes Sowada.
“Coming off the substances proved to be much less painful than I could have ever imagined, under the care of the professionals at Caron.”
After her stay at Caron Treatment Centers and remaining sober for over 6 years, Sowada was able to pick up with her career as a Registered Nurse, pursue an advanced degree as a Nurse Practitioner, start a family, and continue to help and support those going through recovery at Caron Treatment Centers by sharing her experience.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with substance abuse—don’t wait until it’s too late. For more information on taking the next steps toward recovery, visit caron.org to learn more.This is a paid partnership between Caron Treatment Centers and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio