Last week I made a big decision about the next five months of my life: instead of returning to college in Vermont this fall, I’ll be staying here, in Baltimore. I’m just not in a strong enough place in my recovery to go back there, to the environment where my self-destructiveness and anxieties really peaked. By staying here, I’ll be a lot closer to my support network and have a better chance at sustaining recovery and sobriety.
I feel in my gut that this is the right choice. The more I think about it, the more excited I get, and I haven’t really felt excited in a while. Things are lining up nicely: I’ve got an apartment with my sister, and when I finish treatment I’m looking to take some classes, maybe get a job, and I’ve got a lot of friends around here that are huge supporters in my recovery process. I’m really looking forward to all of this.
My doctor often warns me not to idealize my new life ahead, so I should probably acknowledge that I do realize that it won’t all be peaches and cream. Recovery is not a linear process and even though I feel so confident about this decision to stay in Baltimore, it’s extremely likely – and expected – that there will be struggles. I’ve got more of a fighting chance, though, than if I were to go back to Vermont.
So – I’ve already deferred from my college for the semester, and am working hard in my treatment program so that I can move to IOP (intensive outpatient program) and have more free time to work and take classes. It’s an adventure, a new journey, a whole new chapter – however you want to phrase it, it’s the fresh start I’ve been needing.
I need to focus on my health and well-being above all else, and that means staying close to my core support system and away from triggering environments. I know deep in my bones that this is the right thing to do, and I’m looking ahead with my face held towards the sun.