Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Before meth, there was cocaine. That was the drug that first took me down, and lead me through the doors of Hazelden on December 27, 2007

I put myself into treatment, because up until that moment, no one knew about my dark little secret. I knew my days were numbered before they did. No one knew that we had been using cocaine for years. No one knew we were alcoholic (well, they might have) or that we had our lives turned upside down from using substances. I had been trying to stop using for a year. I even went to an outpatient treatment that summer and stayed sober for 3 months.   Then "we" decided we could drink a few beers at a Louis Black stand-up show (thanks for nothing, Louis).  We had our dealer coming before we cracked a beer. And the comedy show sucked, because I had to "pee" like 15 times during the whole thing.

For the next 2-1/2 months I was right back, even worse than when I left off. I used even more because I always thought "this is my last time so I have to make it BIG!" I just wanted the endless madness to stop.

I decided around December 12 that I needed to change everything. I called Hazelden and had a phone evaluation. They said that I qualified. No shit. An eight-ball nearly every day qualifies a person.  I wasn't setting any records with my using, but I couldn't stop, and I couldn't keep going.

Of course, since I was the one calling myself in,  I was the one calling the shots.  I had been about 24-hours sober when I made that phone call.  I told them that there was no way in hell I was coming in before Christmas, and that I would be there on December 27th.  They said that was fine.  I had every intention of staying sober until I went in. The woman on the phone said that wasn't a good idea.  That I should use until I got there.  I was like, "You want me to do what?"  I guess they wanted me to detox from the booze and coke under the care of a doctor.  That was the best news I had ever heard!!

I managed to buy Christmas presents for my kids.  My dear friends brought me a Christmas tree and decorations since I didn't have the mind-set to do it.  They came over and put it all together for me.  I will never, ever forget that. They knew my worst secret and still wanted to help. Christmas was rough, but I made it.

Calling my family and telling them I was going to treatment for cocaine was a shocker for them.  My dad and sister knew something bad was going on with me.  I could tell they never imagined it was drugs.  My brother lives in another state, so he didn't know anything either.  They were freaked, but accepted it and supported me right away.

I pre-arranged help to come every night with friends and family so that Bob could attend outpatient treatment. I had a calendar with who would show up for what shift and so many people helped.  I KNEW we were going to get sober together and live happily ever after. I worked hard setting all of that up. And people rallied for us.

I actually had a hard time lining up the amount of cocaine I would have to last me perfectly until I left.  I sure as hell didn't want to buy too much and have to leave it here with Bob.  Because damn it, he was going to get sober too.  So I actually had to save a line (I wanted to make sure I failed the drug test when I was admitted) for over a day, so I could snort it right before I went.  That isn't an easy thing for a raging drug addict.  I snorted the line, slammed three beers, and had my friend pick me up.

That goodbye to my family was rough.  But I was so relieved.  I knew it was the right thing to do.  It broke my heart to leave my kids.  They were super sad.  We had age appropriate talks about what I was doing.  At that time I told them it was alcohol that was my only problem.  I figured the drug thing will come later.  And it sure has. I now know that it makes no difference what I am addicted to. One substance is no worse than another.

I wasn't afraid to go to treatment.  Like I said, I make friends easily.  I really loved the detox unit, because I was able to sleep for days.  Not to mention the food is incredible. And I really got to take care of myself. Although my cholesterol went up a few points while there. But no shit. This girl likes to throw down.

I learned there that I had blown out a hole in my septum from snorting so much cocaine. I won't go into detail on how nasty it was as my nose healed at Hazelden. This, my friends, is why meth was so appealing to me later.  My nose is broke. Snorting drugs HURT.  I couldn't figure out how to smoke coke without wrecking that expensive stuff. So once I relapsed, I found that smoking meth was easier.  Makes perfect sense to this drug addict.

I knew I needed to learn what they were teaching.  And I did learn a lot. Hazelden is a wonderful place.   Although I relapsed after my trip to Hazelden, I really still carry with me a lot of what I learned there. Not to mention the great fellowship.  I think any treatment center is great, if the person is ready.  And for me, inpatient is what really helped me.

Anyone out there who is toying with the idea, don't waste anymore time.  Just do it.  A month or two or SIX, is worth your whole life. It seems like a blink of time now. Like "they" say, anything you put in front of your sobriety, you'll lose anyway.

I love it when people give themselves the gift of treatment. Even if they go ten times. It's always worth it.

If you like this, share it.  Thanks!


  1. Betsey- Your story is so incredible and encouraging. Are you a speaker at schools or anywhere? People need to hear you.

    1. I have not spoke at schools. I sometimes do service commitments at treatment centers. I write better than I speak. But when asked, I just try anyway. It is part of my program.

  2. I love reading your blog....

    Funnily enough... it's quite addictive.......

    1. I replied to this but it didn't post. I forgot what I said!! But thank you!!

  3. This is the first time I've read your blog and I have to tell you, I'll definitely be reading more! It is so brave of you to share your story like this and it inspires me!

    1. Thank you! I will be doing the same on your blog. So welcome and I'll see you around!!!

  4. I think it is awesome that you made such a big change. I once knew a lady who maybe was a little like you... she had two little girls she loved a lot, and she tried to be a really good mother, when her pesky crack habit wasn't getting in the way. I was the friend who tried to help her hold everything together, mostly by watching her kids all the time. Then she decided to go into rehab... but she ended up going AWOL from rehab, and never came back. Her kids went into foster care and they still haven't heard from her, though it has been over ten years now. I don't mean to tell you a huge bummer story to make you sad... I just mean to say that getting clean is a WONDERFUL thing you've done for yourself and your kids. Just as my friend still chooses every day to stay away from her kids, you choose every day to be there with them and keep recovering, and that is admirable.