The story of a woman who decided to enter a drug rehab because she could not live with addiction any more. People make the decision to enter drug rehab for a number of reasons. For me, it was my hair that pushed me over the edge. I know it sounds strange, but hear me out.

Looking in the mirror…

I was washing my hands a few weeks ago when my reflection caught my eye. I’ve been trying to avoid looking at myself for months now because lately, I hardly recognize the person in the mirror anymore.

On this day, despite my best attention to keep my eyes down, the tips of my hair caught my eye, and my gaze traveled upwards. Split ends marked the brittle end of my thinning mane. It didn’t use to be this way.

When I was a little girl, my mother used to invite me to sit on her lap while she brushed my long, dark hair. Those were the very best days. She would sing to me, and all would be right in the world.

The bad days

Of course, there were bad days as well. No mother is perfect after all. If she’d had a little too much to drink, she’d get angry at me and sometimes she’d scream, “Rebecca, I told you to put away these toys, dammit!” or “Rebecca, it’s no wonder your dad doesn’t come around. Look at this mess in your room!” I was never sure if that was why Dad didn’t come around, but he always seemed out of place when he did show up. He paid me little attention and never stopped Mom from screaming at me or dragging me by the hair. “Listen to your mother, Rebecca,” he’d say, “You have to try not to make her so angry.” Eventually, Mom would calm back down, invite me into her lap, and I’d sit quietly while she brushed my hair once more. The worst days were when I was sick. It happened a lot in our drafty house, and it meant I couldn’t do all my chores like I was supposed to. Mom would scream at me and call me lazy. I never saw a doctor. I wanted so badly to get better so that Mom would love me again and brush my hair.

In high school, I poured myself into my schoolwork. I made all A’s and B’s (except for that one lousy C in Chemistry, but Mom didn’t see that report card anyway). I tried out for the cheerleading squad and made it! I hoped Mom would come to some games, but she was always busy.

My new cheerleading friends were so different than anyone from my neighborhood, and I had to learn how to fit in. I quickly learned that the popular girls were always skinny, so I started dieting like them.

I’d skip breakfast and eat half an apple for lunch. As I lost weight, boys at school began to notice me for the first time, and that felt really good.

And then I met ED…

That’s when I met ED (my old nickname for my eating disorder). ED came and went for 15 years. My beautiful brown hair began to thin and fall out, but I was terrified of gaining weight again and losing everyone’s approval, so I let ED stay. My hard work in school and cheerleading paid off when I landed a scholarship to the 4-year University in the city. I’d never left home before, and I was so excited to be free of my mom’s unpredictable screaming fits.   My first year was a lot like anyone else’s – I partied a bit too much and studied a bit too little, but I managed to hang onto my scholarship.   In my sophomore year, my roommate introduced me to Stephen. He was the president of his fraternity, and I couldn’t believe he’d noticed me. For the first time in my life, someone was finally taking care of me. He took me to fancy dinners and late-night movies and parties at his fraternity house. He got mad if any other guys even talked to me it seemed a little extreme, but I was his and everyone knew it. That felt good.   My grades continued dropping, and I wasn’t sure what I’d do if I lost my scholarship. Everything seemed so unsteady-my family life, my education, my future career. The only thing that made sense was Stephen and how
he made me feel. After a big fight our junior year, I was worried that was about to come crashing down, too-then he showed up at my door with a ring.   We were married by senior year.   I tried so hard to make Stephen happy once I was his wife, but the harder I tried, the more I failed to keep him happy.   He found fault with everything I did, from loading the dishwasher to suggesting Chinese for dinner.   Before long, he began to shout just like my mom. He told me I was worthless. He told me I was lucky he had put up with me for so long. He told me no one else would have loved me as he did. He told me I was too stupid to finish my degree.†He talked me into quitting school, then isolated me from my friends. He had once been the rock I stood on, but he quickly became the boulder that was holding me down.   I thought that we just needed something to bring us together again, to remind him of how much he used to love me, so I quit taking my birth control pills. A year later, I held my baby girl for the first time. She was and is the light of my life. I’ve never felt love like that.   She was a gift from God, but she wasn’t a fix for my broken marriage.  

I fought so hard to keep our family together for her sake, but Stephen got more and more abusive.

Falling down

I hadn’t partied since we got married, but I soon found myself drinking again. It started with a glass of wine at the end of the night just to take some of the edges off. That glass soon turned into two, then eventually a whole bottle… and more. When my daughter hit high school, she didn’t need me as much anymore, so I started looking for other places to numb the pain of my spiraling depression. I hit the clubs again for the first time since college. I made new friends who introduced me to something better than alcohol-heroin.   I’ll never forget the first time I tried it. It was the first time since the birth of my daughter that I’d experienced such a high. It was like all of those good days where Mom brushed my hair plus the attention men gave me when I was friends with ED plus Stephen dating me in the beginning all rolled into one.   After that, I was hooked. It didn’t take long for heroin to become the center of my life. When Stephen found out, he threatened to kill me. At first, I thought he was being dramatic, but one night, he put a butcher knife through our table in a fit of rage, and I knew I had to get out.   One night, I slipped away to a friend’s house. It took 4 days before Stephen found me. It was my 44th birthday. That was six months ago.   I don’t remember much since then.  

It’s all been a blur of alcohol and heroin, and I haven’t seen my daughter since she left to stay at her aunt’s house.

I haven’t had any moments of clarity at all… until that day a few weeks ago when my hair caught my eye. It all came flooding back my childhood, my eating disorder, my marriage, my depression. I realized in an instant that I’d lost myself. I didn’t recognize my own reflection, and I didn’t know who I was anymore.

The day my life changed

I grabbed my phone and did a quick search of rehab centers. I wanted to get away. I wanted to start over. I’ve always wanted to see Hawaii, so I searched to see if I could find a rehab center there.

I found Hawaii Island Recovery that day. My heart began to pound out of my chest. My head began to spin.   I had to act before I lost the courage.   I picked up the phone and called and well, here I am today. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m tired of running. I’m tired of numbing. I’m tired of hiding.   I’m ready for a change.  

If Rebecca’s story resonates with you and you’d like to begin your own journey to recovery, please contact us today.