Well, today was my first day in intensive outpatient therapy. It was super overwhelming. I registered and met with a nurse. She was pretty welcoming and continued to assure me that my life wasn’t over, however she felt I would benefit from a partial hospitalization program vs an IOP. I still continued with IOP. I couldnt do the morning meeting because of the registration process so I joined in my first small group – there were only 4 of us (myself included). I am pretty sure I was the oldest in the group. Two of us were there for mental health issues along c alcohol dependence. Him and I shared similar stories. He too recently lost his sister over the summer due to an overdose. He struggles with alcohol dependence and has only been sober since Monday. He had gone on a bender this past weekend. Today was his first day in program as well. Another girl who was quite younger than myself, she was 18, was currently on some sort of house arrest/probation as she had an ankle bracelet. She said she has been in and out of these program and court system since she was 16. She deals with anxiety, depression and narcotic dependence. The other kid in our group was not very responsive or alert. He has a dx of bi polar and narcotic dependence. The group leader was apparently not the normal group leader but was covering due to the actual therapist getting a flat tire. It was interesting. Had to talk about how we were feeling, what we did the night before, how we would rate ourself, had we been sober since we last all met, etc. After that group we had a break and then went into a big processing/educational group. All of it was very much tailored to substance use , staying sober, recovery, triggers, Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness, etc. I was super closed off. My body language showed that. From time to time I became tearful, I didnt participate, and my mind wandered as participants continued to be called out of the groups to meet with their individual therapist or psychiatrist. I wondered if anyone would meet with me. No one did. I felt very overwhelmed. The end of the sessions came. It was time for me to leave and I asked the nurses station if I could speak with one of the counselors for a little. She called one of the counselors (not the one assigned to me as she was in a session) but I met with another counselor – she was very sweet. I told her that I was worried and I didnt know what to expect. I felt that this program is very substance abuse heavy/focused much more so than I expected. I know it is a dual diagnosis program so substance use treatment is a component of it. But I need to manage my anxiety. My anxiety is what drives me to drink to help curve my anxieties and symptoms. I explained to her that I knew this was group therapy based, but I still need some 1:1 attention to work on my own things. And I explained that I am not trying to minimize my alcohol use as it has caused me to be in legal troubles, loss of friendships and relationships. I realize this. But I need to manage my anxiety. I NEED to talk with someone about coping skills and obtaining healthier ways to manage my anxiety, and be prescribed a medication to help as well as the talk therapy. None of which i felt would be addressed by being in this specific program. She assured me it would and could see why I felt that this program may be a little bit more intrusive than I expected. She assured me that I would meet with the therapist tomorrow and the psychiatrist by Friday. She was very comforting. I told hert that I am so worried about my future, that I start up my Master’s of Social Work program in a few weeks and that I too work in this field. She asked if this was my first DUI and I said yes. She asked if I got in an accident or hurt anyone during it and I told her no, because I didnt. I had pulled over to the side of the road. Then a state trooper pulled up behind me a little while later. She asked if I am being mandated to be in this program which I told her know and I did this all on my own accord. She said that is going to be big in court and showing the judge and state everything I’ve done just since Sunday. Got into a treatment program on my own, hopefully complete is successfully, already have a lawyer lined up. She started to say that she has worked with a lot of people with in the court system and that I should not worry and understood why I worried so much. She started to say that she shouldnt say something… and I asked her if it was “too much self disclosure” about herself – Mind you I was in tears and a wreck in her office meeting with her. She then told me that she has had multiple DUI’s, she has her Masters and her life is not over. I was surprised she shared this with me. But I was happy she did. She doesnt know me from adam and I am just a client blubbering in her office. She said she has been in my shoes before and sitting right where I’ve sat before. She says this was 10 years ago and now has two little girls. I was grateful she shared this with me as it gave me some comfort. She said she still sees a therapist herself, even those she, herself is a therapist and works in this addictions program. After speaking with her I was able to calm down a bit. She wanted to make sure I was still planning on coming back tomorrow. I told her I would and I am going to. I said that today was just a lot, I felt out of place, and I just needed to know when I would have the opportunity to meet with my own therapist and doctor. This is a huge adjustment. I hope I dont offend anyone who is taking the time to read this… but I have this complex right now of “Oh I am not as bad as so and so… I’m not at their level”. Trust me I recognize this. We are all on the spectrum and different ends of the spectrum. We all have our own experiences. But when they have you do random drug test during the program and breathalyzer test that becomes a lot. I’ve never gone through withdrawal from alcohol, I’ve never woke up and had to have a drink to function. I’ve never drank before work or at work. I have to accept that I do have an issue with alcohol because most people dont get DUI’s. Or loose friendships/relationships over it. Or wake up with a guilty feeling after a night of drinking. And all of those I’ve done or have. I’m going to still take it one minute at a time. My anxiety is through the roof still. My mind is constantly racing. And I had a restless night of sleep. I can’t wait to see the doctor and hope to be prescribed some sort of anti anxiety medication to take the edge off along with talk therapy. Because I can’t do this on my own and I can’t focus in these groups if my mind is racing , im on the verge of tears, and can’t calm myself down. I wont be successful. I want to be successful. Today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. Im going to take each day as it comes. To say I am okay is a life. I terrified beyond all belief. I still feel like im in the worst nightmare ever and that I’ve been to hell and back. But I hold onto “This too shall pass”. Thanks for listening.

Kathleen

1 Comment
  1. kitmoon 5 years ago

    Each day as it comes is good. As someone who’s battled anxiety, “each minute as it comes”, or “each breath” is perfectly fine too. It sounds like you’re feeling overwhelmed both by the situation, and your anxiety. The situation – as that sweet counselor said, doesn’t need to be the end of your life. She’s proof of that. Then there’s your feelings. You’re anxious. That’s okay. Anybody would be anxious with so much going on. As for your long-term anxiety, you are going to get help, and dealing with/mitigating anxiety is totally a skill that can be learned and practiced. We’re rooting for you. Keep taking it one step at a time.

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