Deanna T. is originally from Maine, but her drinking and drug use took off when she moved to Florida. She started at age 16 and looked at her partying as typical teenage behavior. However, she does remember some early consequences.
“The very first time I went to a party in high school I went to the hospital,” Deanna said. “If that’s not a sign that I’m an addict I don’t know what is.”
In Florida, as Deanna’s career began to take off, she couldn’t function without having something – alcohol, cocaine, uppers – in her system. She was working for a prestigious hotel, and made six figures annually. But she found she was spending most of her money on maintaining her habit.
“I couldn’t get out of bed, so I’d do a line,” she said. “Then in order to bring myself back down I’d drink four or five vodka drinks. I became more dependent and reliant on having substances to make me feel or not feel a certain way.”
After months of being in an abusive relationship, Deanna decided to go to treatment.
“I remember waking up and not recognizing myself,” she said. “Not even in a physical sense, but I didn’t know who I was anymore.”
After consulting with her family, Deanna made the call to Atlanta Detox Center. Although she knew she needed treatment, she was unsure of how she would pay for it.
“I couldn’t afford to go someplace, but at that moment, I knew my life depended on it,” she said. “It had been almost 20 years of addiction. I knew I needed help, but was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get it.
She remembers a conversation with the center’s Director of Community Outreach, Marc Wiltshire. He told her not to worry, that “we’re going to figure this out. We’re going to find a way to get you here.”
Although Deanna said she struggled throughout the detox process, she finished the program at Atlanta Detox Center. After that, she moved on to Georgia Addiction Treatment Center for their PHP program. Upon arriving, Deanna called her mother to express concern that she wouldn’t make it through the program. In the end, she stayed.
“My mother and the director at the time convinced me to stay,” she said. “They got me into the sober living house, and from that day forward everything shifted. I will look at my time at GATC as one of the best of my life.”
After nearly 20 years of continuous substance use, Deanna said her early days in recovery felt like a form of freedom she never had before. Before she could recognize it in herself, she saw it in the staff at GATC, many of whom are in recovery themselves.
“I looked at the people that work there and I could see a sense of peace and happiness in them,” she said. “I wanted that, so I embraced what they were offering. I participated in the groups and got really close to the yoga instructor. She helped me get back in touch with my spirituality.”
After treatment, Deanna initially planned to continue her career and move back to Florida, but decided instead to move in with her parents in North Carolina.
“Almost a year later, I see that it was the best possible decision I could have made to remove myself from my old life,” she said. “I did a lot of damage to my family relationship. We’re rebuilding trust, and I’m finally realizing that I have a lot of potential. Iam learning to get back on my feet in an honest way.”
Taking on a new job in North Carolina, Deanna has already been promoted to a managerial position, and is moving to Myrtle Beach soon to continue her career. She is eager to share her story of recovery, because she knows that it will help someone else.
Atlanta Detox Center and Georgia Addiction Treatment Center not only saved her life, but provided a safe environment to transition. They provided the appropriate tools to help her move forward.
“What’s happening for me right now wouldn’t have happened if someone didn’t help me.”