Life Experiences

You Can’t Fix a Problem You Don’t Know You Have

The group was very helpful. Before entering into this group I didn’t really know what gambling was. It wasn’t until I listened to the counselor and other members that I realized that gambling can be a very real addiction. With the help of the counselor and group members I was able to identify what my gambling issues were and were not. It was a sense of self-reflection that I had never seen or felt before. No one knows how to fix a problem they don’t know they have. With the help of this group, because it is truly educational, I am now aware of the different levels of gambling and their possible outcomes if not dealt with. I have now, because of what I learned from this group, taught my children the dangers of gambling. This class has helped save the future generation of my family and I am forever grateful. Thank you Nicasa Gambling Group!

Everyone Can See A Difference

I attend group and individual services several hours a week for my substance use troubles and my mental health symptoms. While it takes up a lot of time, I’m so thankful for it because I’m learning so much and I can already see so many positive changes happening in my life and in how I do things! I think differently, I act differently, and so many people have told me they see a difference. The best part is I feel better about myself and I’ve gotten my baby back because my caseworker has seen a difference too! One day you all are going to see me working at Nicasa!

Why I Chose Bridge House?

I came to Bridge House on August 3, 2020. I have tried other rehabs before. I would go through the motions while in treatment, leave, and relapse. Bridge House has the structure and support I need in order to stay sober and help me set goals for myself, which I have never done before. I think my strength is that I’m now open minded and ready for change.

I decided on Bridge House in August 2020 because it is a smaller treatment program. I know I will have more individual time with counselors and Bridge House is away from my old environment. I think my strength is that I am eager to learn new things. I have many goals I am working to achieve, like getting a job, a car, and my license again.

Leaving My Path of Self-Destruction

This is a client’s personal story through treatment, and at 10 and a half months sober this was their success story.

Ten and a half months ago I was a completely different person. I was hurt, and sad, and angry. I was so lost in my own self-loathing and pity that my family was suffering as a result. It all came to a head after I decided to spend months self-medicating my postpartum depression with alcohol. As a result I was led to Nicasa. At the time I thought it was the worst thing that could have happened. Now I realize it was the best. When I first started going, I was angry. I was indignant. I didn’t think they could possibly help. I was part of the IOP [intensive outpatient] program for about four months, and in those four months I learned how to heal. I learned it was okay to not be okay, but there were ways to handle it. The counselors at Nicasa taught me how to cope. They taught me that feeling my emotions and dealing with them is so much easier than trying to numb them with substances. They listened, and they made me remember I am a person, not just a mom, or a wife. That my feelings were valid. On August 3, 2020 I will have ONE YEAR sober! I truly don’t think I’d be able to say that without Nicasa. The counselors were my life lines when I was drowning in self-doubt. They led me out of my path of self destruction, and helped me find the road to recovery. I am in debt to those wonderful souls. My life has improved so much, I can’t believe it sometimes, but I will always be grateful. Now I am able to be FULLY present with my kids and the rest of my family. And that is worth more than anything else I could possibly imagine.

Dear Alcohol

This is a client’s personal journey through treatment and at 145 days sober,
this was a therapeutic letter they wrote to help them work through their journey.

Dear Alcohol,

I’m sorry it took so long to come and talk to you. After what happened the last time we got together, I had to take some time away to think about our relationship and what we had done, what I wanted with my life, and what I needed to accomplish it. It has been 15 years since we first met and we have been through a lot together.

Remember all those nights we stayed up smoking cigarettes and weed and laughing until the sun came up?

Remember all the poker hands that we played and all the game nights that we hosted? Those were the good old days. I miss us from back then.

Remember when we got drunk with [my friend] at 9 in the morning and then drove to school? They locked down the whole building and called the police on us, man we got in so much trouble that day. I’m pretty sure we still hold the record for the most ****** up things a student has ever done. The only record I have ever held. We thought all that was kind of funny back then, we were only having fun!

Remember when we would go to the bar every Thursday with people from work? I can’t believe they never pulled us over on the drive home after doing it so many times.

Remember when we went to that Christmas party for all the supervisors and tried Jaeger Bombs for the first time? We came back to my house afterwards to party some more and we ended up dropping my dad’s Harley on the ground because we decided to sit on it? My dad wouldn’t look at me for days.

Remember thinking that we were going crazy because all we would do was go to work, drink until we got tired and then do the same thing the next day?  I don’t recall much from those days to be honest, it’s really a blur. Remember all those fights [my significant other] and I got into because [they] didn’t like us hanging out together?

Do you remember how we would sneak out of the apartment to go hang out with [people] after [my significant other] would fall asleep and we would come back at like 4 in the morning? That was crazy wasn’t it?

Once I got pregnant we had to stop hanging out for awhile, but remember when we hung out for the first time after months? It was so nice to see you. After a couple of weeks we started hanging out just as much as we used to. We even started seeing each other during the day, it was our little secret. Things stayed like that for awhile, but do you remember…. When we got trashed and came home from my [sibling’s] party and I got the police called on us? Do you remember the day after when DCFS came to take [my child] away because in the law’s eyes I was not a fit [parent]?

We’ve been through a lot and had our ups and downs haven’t we? I know we were always able to kind of brush things off in the past, but what happened after we hung out the last time was a deal breaker for me.

That’s why I locked you in that room. I knew it would be easier for us both if we couldn’t see each other.   It’s been almost 5 months since I last saw you. 145 days to be exact. In the beginning of those days I would hold the key to your door and reassure you that we would get through this, that I would let you out as soon as I could figure out how. We would talk about sneaking away together so that we could live our lives in peace. I know you were confused and probably feeling a little upset and vengeful when I stopped talking to you. I’ve come down today to confess something and I hope you can understand why I did what I did, but I know you aren’t going to like it and that is totally understandable.

You see, I don’t have the key anymore.

I went to a meeting about 4 months ago called Alcoholics Anonymous and confided in them about our relationship, I told them about the key and that I held onto it for safety. They welcomed me into their group and we told tales and stories. They told me to keep coming back, but in order to do so I had to give them something; I gave them the key to your door. They took it and used the metal to forge a coin for me to carry. So you see, I can’t unlock your door like I said I would. I’m not going to be there for you to feed off of anymore. I know that throughout time you are going to become smaller and smaller, so tiny that you will be able to fit under the door that I locked you behind. I know that you will sit back and wait for me to have a moment as weak as you are. And what happens when you present yourself like you have in the past? It’s a hard road out of hell, I know seeing you is going to be difficult, but I will have worked hard, and put in many hours and effort into learning how to tell you that I don’t need you to help me. So now that you have heard my confession, please listen to what else I have to say.

When I first sat down to write what I wanted to tell you, I couldn’t help but feel the need to yell at you- and I did. At the end of the session my hand hurt from furiously writing, my jaw hurt from clenching my teeth and I had to massage my face because I couldn’t seem to relax my eyebrows after furrowing them so hard. I wanted to write more but after the third page I felt exhausted, so I vowed to come back later once I took a break. During that break I realized that… I could stand here and tell you that you ruined my life, that you betrayed me, and that you tried to take someone from me that you have no business taking. I can stand here and say that this was your fault, that I hate you and I could never forgive you for all the things you’ve put me through, but I don’t want to be angry anymore. Not with you, myself or anyone else. So instead of saying those things I want you to know that I forgive you and that I’m not mad at you. I NEED you to know that love is blind, so blind that I can’t see where I need to go when I’m with you. After being apart I can see clearly now, and my future can’t have you in it. I know that you know that. So maybe the next time you see me, instead of trying to get me to hang out again, we could just silently reminisce the good memories of our past and go our separate ways. The decision is yours, but until then, love always and forever, XX