The road toward recovery can be a dark and lonely place, and sometimes you can feel overwhelmed with bad news. It is important, now more than ever, to maintain hope. Hope can be found through storytelling or finding common experiences through listening and conversation with other individuals who have gone through similar struggles. Our own alumni, Susan Battah-Horn, has been eager and gracious enough to share her story of how her treatment at Destination Hope completely changed her life forever.
**Disclaimer: graphic wording included**
“I walked into detox on July 11th, 2019. It was my birthday – probably the saddest day of my life, and the best day of my life. I had Tricare insurance; the only thing left of my broken marriage. I was hopeless and I was extremely ill. My body was covered in ringworms and my feet had rotted off. I stepped on glass barefooted and it got infected, so by the time I got there I couldn’t even walk. I was pouring out pus from my feet and from my face – the ring worms were just too spread out. Pus was everywhere – not the gory kind, but definitely very visible. I didn’t have clothes on. I had stolen some homeless man’s oversized shirt and sports and I had no shoes. That’s how I walked into Destination Hope.
My story began as a child witnessing what I thought were the best parts of life. Up late on weekends, little supervision, and get to hang out with grown-ups. My parents were young when they had me and as an only child, I got to see a lot of stuff. Growing up we weren’t poor, I always had a roof over my head, hot meals, and clothes. So, from an outside perspective our family looked like we had it together. Behind closed doors is where I got a close up of madness and chaos. I witnessed domestic violence, rowdy friends, little to no respect for females, let alone anyone, strong hate for certain races, sexualities, and authority. My parents divorced at the age of 5 and the new man in the picture was of the same nature as my father. Party lifestyle. Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll. The next 3 years of my life, I moved to a different city each year – new friends, new town, new house, new beginnings. At the age of 8 I had my first drink on a camping trip and I remember loving the feeling. I had snuck drinks before in the past and had grown up in the bar scene, being back and forth with my mom and dad. Finally landed in Fort Collins, Colorado where I would remain until I graduated.
Graduating from a rehabilitation facility is an exciting event and should be celebrated in grand fashion. We make a big deal of every milestone – from receiving our driver’s license, to moving into our first apartment, to our work anniversaries. Recovering from addiction is no exception – and it takes much more hard work than studying for any exam. It is normal to be hesitant about congratulating yourself as a recovering addict. However, celebrating is more important for someone recovering from addiction than anyone else. It is fulfilling to remind yourself of where you were, and how far you have…
Written by DH Women's Program, alumni family member, Beth O. March 2017 When I grew up, my mother was our caretaker and did everything for us. She put us through dance and gymnastics classes, voice lessons, drove us to soccer games and saved every last dollar from her two jobs to give us everything we needed and wanted. She was strong, smart and our rock when my father left us during the times we needed him most. I was in middle school and my sister was in elementary school. These were the years we needed our father, but he suffered…
My name is Nicole and I am a proud DH alumnus. I arrived at DH on February 7, 2014, as a very tired and unhappy person. My addiction is to alcohol. My story is not a sad one in the beginning. I was born into great privilege. I attended private schools and traveled the world. As the baby of a large family, I never heard the word no. I tell you this because addiction is a disease that has no boundaries. Instead of stealing to get my wine I just used my credit card. Addiction does not discriminate it can attack everyone. It obviously took me longer to hit bottom due to my circumstances, but I eventually did after years of off-and-on drinking. Due to many family tragedies, I used alcohol to self-medicate and it worked for a while… until it didn’t. When I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired I sought help.
Hi, I am an alcoholic and an addict, my name and my problem is Michelle. I am fifty years old so I have a long story, but I will try and not bore you! I grew up in a very Italian household, my grandfather had a wine cellar and of course, I drank wine at a very young age. (This was my excuse for a long time-I’m Italian, of course, I drink!). The very first time I drank with peers, it was at a slumber party at 9. All the little girls drank till they were buzzed, I drank till I puked!! My family moved around a lot, I went to 4 different high schools. One was in Venezuela where I found the best pot, cocaine and all the pills you could want and of course alcohol. My life was a big party. I went to the University of Florida because it was the number one party school in the country and it was for me! I had graduated high school in 73–Marijuana, LSD, we’re the class of ’73! And I graduated college in 1977. I always say, “if you remember the 70’s you weren’t there!”
In order to call myself an alumnus of Destination Hope, it is clear that my life previous to treatment must have been in shambles. I needed help and I needed it fast. I finally got to a point of desperation in my addiction that I reached out to one of my friends who I grew up with that I knew was clean. She went out of her way to help me, and I am so grateful that she brought me to this amazing facility called Destination Hope.
A mother’s perspective on her daughter’s treatment
I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am that my daughter was in treatment at Destination Hope. The therapists, ESPECIALLY Anne W, were AMAZING! At the time my daughter Lisa entered Destination Hope, she had been in at least 15 treatment facilities over an 18-month period.
Hi, my name is Melissa D and I am an alcoholic. I am an alumnus of Destination Hope and my sober date is March 17, 2010. I am from New Jersey and I am 32 years old. I work for the state, and I would not have imagined that my life would be so much better without alcohol; for that I will forever be grateful to Destination Hope. I came to DH so close to losing everything that mattered to me: my job, family, and friends all because I wasn’t able to give up the bottle.
Hi, my name is Joseph. My journey oftentimes feels like a long one. As I look back at the past few years of my life, it becomes clear to me that I was much harder on myself than I had to be. It is also very clear that the suffering I experienced was a direct result of my dependence on drugs and alcohol. Throughout my teen years, drugs and alcohol became a safe haven for me. They brought me to a place of artificial peace, or relief. If drugs and alcohol had not done so much for me, they could have never done so much to me. I also realized any and all joy I experienced during these times, correlated with my periods of sobriety.