Kelly spent 90 days in an inpatient, court-ordered rehab facility after getting her second DUI.
What I Learned From My Experience with Rehab
people found Kelly's experience helpful.
I started drinking when I was nineteen years old. Older than many people start. I was not one of those drunk party-girl cheerleader types in high school, making the rounds of keg parties at friends' houses or sneaking alcohol out of my parent's liquor cabinet. I was a good, responsible kid. I had my eyes on doing the right thing, growing up, and heading off to a good college. College for me is where my troubles with alcohol began. I went to SMU in Dallas, Texas. Coming from a small mid-west town, I wasn't used to the alcoholic lifestyle many of these southern sobriety girls grew up with. Needless to say I didn't fit in until I started drinking. As soon as I did, everything changed for me. I had friends. I went to parties. I had a blast at college. Unfortunately, my grades suffered and I had to drop out of school after a year.
My early twenties progressed like many people's. I got a decent job that I liked. I had a fun group of girlfriends that I went clubbing with. Drinking to excess on a nightly basis became our usual routine. There was never just one or two drinks. Blackouts became a common occurrence and many nights I had no idea how I got home or what hijinks we had gotten into the night before. I still managed to be a functioning drinker, never missing work, and I even got a promotion to become a manager. Although, during the interview I was sure my boss could smell the alcohol coming out of my pores because I was so hungover.
Fast forward a few years later. I'm married. I have my first daughter, and that's when the problems with alcohol intensified. My husband and I had moved to an upscale suburb with a great school system and purchased our first home. I basically became a stay-at-home mom, joined some local women's clubs, and the early-childhood PTA. Every play-date, function, and meeting at each other's houses always involved wine. Any excuse to get out and drink. Book club. Wine. Dinner Club. Wine. Movie Club. Wine. Play-date. Wine. Then it got to the point where even if there wasn't anything going on I had to have my bottle of wine at night. Or sometimes during the day. That bottle of wine quickly became the hidden bottle of Absolut in my dresser drawer mixed with orange juice while watching my now two daughters playing outside on a summer's day.
Getting my first DUI wasn't even my wakeup call. My license was suspended, I had probation for a year, and a big fine to pay. There wasn't any talk of rehab. But it was my second DUI that really destroyed my life. The judge wasn't giving me any second chances that time. After spending two weeks in jail, I was sentenced to six months in county jail, license suspended, and a trip to rehab. I didn't have a choice but I knew it was where I needed to be. I didn't have a handle on my drinking at all. I hadn't for years by that time, and until I got to jail I didn't remember what it was like to wake up without a hangover. Ending up in jail and trying to navigate the court system is a bit of a nightmare. Actually, it's a total, complete nightmare. If you have family or friends who care about you and you can get in contact with them, that will help. When they are on the outside, they can find out information for you, like who your judge is going to be, court dates, and hiring you an attorney. If you don't have the means to hire an attorney, the court will appoint you one. Court appointed attorneys get a bad rap normally, but most of the time they are criminal defense attorneys who volunteer to the county a certain number of pro-bono hours. Every court appointed attorney I have had has been very competent and helpful. Just keep communicating with your attorney as much as possible throughout the process, because they will advocate on your behalf in your best interest.
I spent 90 days in an inpatient, court-ordered rehab facility. It was pretty much a locked down facility. You could leave if you wanted to, but then you had to deal with going back to jail with a “felony escape” charge tacked on to your record. This rehab was pretty basic. This was not some cushy Malibu type rehab that you see sometimes advertised on TV. Bunk bed and an open-dorm-like floor plan housed 60 addicts. Addicts of all varieties and ages. I was in a cubicle-like space with three other girls. Luckily, we became a tight-knit little family, sitting together at meetings and meals. At ten til the hour every hour we were permitted to go outside to the enclosed courtyard smoking area. I always went outside with everyone even though I wasn't a smoker.
Our days started very early at 5:30 a.m. They would turn on the lights and wake everyone up for shower time and a cereal breakfast with our one very desired cup of coffee of the day. Then at 8 a.m. we would have our first group meeting of the day, going over our morning meditations, prayers for the day, and recite our rehab motto. Then it was off to various classes all day long. At night we would have a typical AA, NA (narcotics anonymous), or HA (heroin anonymous) before we could have a little free time to read, socialize, or watch TV. There were many assignments and homework in our rehab folder that we were required to complete before we could graduate and leave the program. I took everything very seriously and really tried to get the most out of the program. I am an alcoholic. I have made many mistakes in my life directly related to alcohol that I am still paying for now. It's been almost a year since I have left rehab. I go to AA meetings every week, and most importantly I make the choice every day not to drink. When I have days where I struggle with the desire to drink, I can go over a lot of what I learned in that rehab program and make the better choice. The choice to be sober.