One of the hardest but most redemptive seasons of my life happened when I spent fourteen months in a drug rehabilitation center. In all my years of writing, I have never written about this experience that has so distinctly shaped my life.
Of course, I never would have dreamed that over a year of my life during my mid-twenties would be spent in drug rehabilitation, but it happened. I began doing drugs in junior high school, mostly I guess do to the typical amount of peer pressure that most teens get from their friends. I started using drugs with great hesitation, but party after party I got a little less afraid of using drugs and that became my biggest problem. Losing my fear of doing drugs was the single worst thing that happened to me in my struggle with drug use.
My drug use became a more serious problem throughout high school and into my years at university. I thought that I was doing a great job of hiding my problem until Christmas break happened one year and my parents saw all the signs. I had great parents, by the way, and I believe that they were in no way responsible for my drug use or for my eventual need for drug rehabilitation.
My drug problem got so bad shortly after that Christmas break that I ended up agreeing to go to drug rehabilitation without any fight. Most drug users, I am told, put up a fight for a while when someone first suggests that they enter drug rehabilitation. But not me. I knew how badly I needed help and I knew that if left alone I would probably allow drugs to kill me.
My fourteen months in the drug rehabilitation center taught me more about myself and about life than I ever expected them to. I learned about my value as a human being and as a man for the first time in that center. I learned in drug rehabilitation that drugs are a substitute for a hole that is empty in my life, just as food or exercise or alcohol or any other thing can be for people. I learned that I had a huge responsibility in taking care of my life and my health.
It has been healing for me as I have begun talking about my experience with drug rehabilitation with honesty. I have never felt more free than when I am looking back on the mistakes of my past with honestly and then when I am looking forward to my future with hope.