A note from Lindsey Staymates…

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Lindsey Staymates

I can remember my last day using like it was yesterday, even though it was back in March of 2018. I sometimes wish that I didn’t have the memories of constant pain and anguish accompanied with the mental obsession with drugs and alcohol. I wish that the warm welcome of death wasn’t a part of my story. But it is. A simpler way to describe the inner torture I was caught in is sort of like an insect who is wrapped in a giant spider web. They are desperate to get out and the desire is there, but they begin to give up because there is no other way out in sight. The insect then becomes tired and the fight is no longer present. I got to a point, like the helpless insect, where I began to accept the fact that I was stuck and that this is how my life would end. Although these memories are hard to cope with at times, I know that sharing my story is the only way to help others find recovery the way that I have. That incredible pain toward the end of my using would be the foundation of my recovery and what I needed to do something different. In the program, you hear people say to never forget your last run because if we forget the pain, we will use again. My story is a series of bad choices due to denial of how much of an addictive personality I had and how far I felt I had to take things to get the result I needed. Once I was outside of myself, there was no end to that. I chased that for over 15 years. I slowly but surely got to the point of what I thought, was no return. I was homeless in the freezing cold, I had multiple warrants out for my arrest, I had overdosed multiple times, I was 90 pounds (soaking wet) and my health was rapidly deteriorating. My family and friends had pretty much given up on me and most of them weren’t in my life at all anymore. The only thing that I put in my body was a multitude of drugs and alcohol; as much as I could get, every minute of the day. What I thought was the solution to not feel the pain of who I am inside was not the solution anymore. It wasn’t working the way it used to.

Treatment isn’t a part of everyone’s story. Treatment is a huge part of mine. I was finally arrested after another overdose and I believe this to be the point where I had surrendered. I didn’t think I could recover, but I knew I was too tired to even use anymore. This haze allowed doors to open for me; suggestions and resources were thrown at me from every angle and I didn’t even have enough energy to deny the help that I was sure wouldn’t work. I became willing because it was easier to agree than to rebel. Tim Weber and Brittney Sabock came into Carroll County Detention Center and asked if I wanted to go to rehab again and if I was ready this time. I broke down and admitted that I was licked. A jail cell is where the story of my personal recovery journey begins. I entered treatment at Shoemaker in Sykesville for the second time in jail custody, but this time I chose to follow the rules, listen, and learn. From there, I went to Mountain Manor Recovery Support Services, where I stayed for seven months. My disease had taken me so far from humanity that I needed this place to show me how to be accountable, care for my own health, mend long lost relationships with my family, and learn to be honest. I was able to obtain sponsorship and work the Twelve Steps. My life started to change, and my circle of friends began to change. Here, I recognized that recovery is about inner change and not just putting down the drugs and alcohol. I was prepared to do the work.

I was inducted into Drug Treatment Court upon my release from jail custody and the recommendation was to move to a Recovery House with strong women around my age that are also craving a new way of life. I was able to get into “Reclaiming My Life,” which I was very happy about because I had heard from many people that this Recovery House was one that had a very high success rate. This house honed in on the importance of sponsorship, actively working the Twelve Steps, and incorporating them into my daily life. Reclaiming My Life was the first place I felt “at home” since my youth. The house is fully furnished with everything that I needed and even things that I wanted that I thought I would never have again. I learned here how to prioritize daily activities and set up my life on a weekly basis. I developed relationships with the other women in the house; we attended 90 meetings in 90 days and were able to talk to each other about our strengths and weaknesses in the program we were working. I learned how important it is to pay bills on time and what it means to be responsible and prepare for those upcoming bills. I learned that it is possible to get a job within two weeks, if you put in the effort. I learned that being accountable to someone else was important in my life and having a curfew to abide by helped to inspire accountability. I learned how to communicate if I couldn’t pay my rent or be home on time. This rolls over in my life today when I call my credit cards and make payment plans with them during my financial amends and when I call loved ones when I’m going to be late. I learned how to have relationships with women again, which was something that I struggled with in recovery. I learned how to communicate how I was feeling, I learned how to co-exist, I learned how to love and be loved again. During my stay at Reclaiming My Life, I was able to save money to purchase a car and was able to help others get to meetings and to work. The importance of rotating chores and making time in our lives to accomplish this helped me to understand what I’ll need to do when I get my own place. This also taught me how my actions can affect others and what I can do to provide a safe and clean environment not for just myself, but for the others who I love inside the house. The house provided a safe haven towards the development of my recovery.

Many times, in my journey, I have not personally noticed any growth within myself, but this is what living at Reclaiming My Life did for me. Being around others in the house allowed them to see the growth and let me know about it. It also helped for constructive criticism because in the house we are firm on believing that we would rather step on your feelings than your grave and we lovingly pull each other up on our defects. It has not always been an easy road in recovery; I have lost many friends to this disease along the way, but because of the relationships I developed in the house and in the program, I was able to get through those feelings of guilt and sadness with the support of others who truly loved me or were feeling the same way. Others began asking me for advice on their recovery, I was able to step outside of myself and help another fellow addict every day just by coming home. I was soon asked if I would be interested in becoming one of the House Manager’s at Reclaiming My Life in which I proudly took the position. I learned how to handle household plumbing issues and other maintenance procedures. This taught me how to purchase necessary items for the house and to prioritize what is important and spend house fee money based on a set amount, which is something I never knew how to do in active addiction. This taught me how to set boundaries with others in the house so that I wasn’t completely basing my decisions off our friendship, but more on terms of what’s best for their recovery and their journey throughout. I shortly after became employed as a Behavioral Health Technician at Foundations Recovery Center and I truly believe that my Higher Power put these positions in line for me so that I could practice stricter boundaries between my sponsee’s, my clients, the women in the house, and in my life in general. I simply can not put into words how important living at Reclaiming My Life was for me in my recovery. It has truly made me the woman I am today; respectable, kind, loving, nurturing, helpful, trustworthy, endearing, and motivated.

My life today is beyond my wildest dreams. I wouldn’t have ever thought that I would be where I am today materialistically or mentally. I love myself today. I spend time with my family today. I sponsor other women and am very active in the community. I have gained trust and communication with my family again. I was able to help my brother get on his own two feet and get clean. I have awesome friends that care about me and want the best for me. My occupation allows me to feel as if I’ve made a difference. I have moved into my own apartment and am financially stable. I take good care of the car that I purchased. I have a boyfriend today who reflects my worth. Again, treatment and sober homes aren’t a part of everyone’s story, but for this addict, I am grateful that it was a part of mine because it has prepared me for an exciting and fulfilling life to come. I will work every day to give back what the program and Reclaiming My Life has so freely given to me.