Breaking Through: Understanding the severity of this disease
In celebration of National Recovery Month, Fellowship Hall will be highlighting the stories of some of our incredibly inspiring alumni and staff members on social media and here on our blog. It is our hope that in sharing these stories, we break the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol addiction. With knowledge, we can advocate for the proper treatment of ourselves and loved ones that may struggle with the disease.
What comes to your mind when you think of your High School experience? Do you think back to your early teens—walking halls lined with lockers and laughing after school with friends? Do you remember the deep desire to find your “place” among your peers — your need to fit in? Fellowship Hall Alumni, Trent C, recalls these years as the beginning of his life-long battle with substance use disorder.
“When I think back, I didn’t really have anything in my childhood that was traumatic, I had a good family, and a great upbringing,” Trent said. In ninth grade, he moved to North Carolina and began a new school where he knew no one. He explained that at that young age, he was insecure, lacked true decision-making abilities, and was only focused on “fitting in” with a social group, especially one that he perceived as the “popular” crowd. Unfortunately for him, the group of teens he found himself amongst were actively using and selling drugs. At just 15 years old, Trent was using, selling, and would go on to live this way until he was almost thirty.
Despite his use of substances, Trent earned an academic scholarship to the University of South Carolina. However, instead of focusing on his academics in college, he stayed chained to the same life he was living in high school — one wrought with partying and using. “My so-called ‘friends’ from high school were seemingly doing well, but they were all using substances, and using me to get them. In my mind, I felt like I had all these great friends because I was always invited to and going to the parties in college, but in reality, everyone was just using me to get what they wanted, and to feed their addiction. Truthfully, I was doing the same thing,” he said.
Trent said that neither losing his scholarship nor getting arrested was enough to motivate him to permanently change his ways. In fact, Fellowship Hall was the fourth facility he completed treatment at. Each time prior he was going to treatment to appease or serve others in his life — to keep his girlfriend happy, to “get his parents off of his back,” but never to truly get well.
“Unfortunately for me, it took a lot. There was no big huge rock-bottom moment or event that motivated me to turn my life around. I just woke up one day and realized I was almost thirty years old doing the same things I had been doing since high school. I thought to myself, ‘do you want to keep living like this for the rest of your life? Or do you want to actually do something about this?’ ”
During his time in treatment at the Hall structured days created stability where he formed lasting positive habits for himself such as daily meditation, prayer, physical activity, and going to meetings. He also attributed his success to his counselor.
Trent became close to a guest who finished his treatment one week ahead of Trent. In the week while Trent was still in treatment, and his friend had discharged, his new friend returned to use and lost his life. That’s when Trent “broke through” and understood the severity of substance use disorder. “I realized this disease and these substances were killing people, they weren’t going to just go away, and that just one bad choice to use could end up being the choice that takes your life, and that ruins the life of the people who care about you.”
Today, at almost thirty, Trent enjoys the new life that recovery has given him. He focuses on staying spiritually fit, active in his recovery, and even active on the basketball court—he’ll happily tell you those afternoons spent playing basketball helped him make some of his favorite memories at Fellowship Hall.
“This is MY recovery. I don’t know for sure that I’ll ever get another one. Once I understood that I had to submit and practice the honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness that we’re taught, it was easy for me. I began discovering myself after years of stunting my own growth because of this black hole inside me that I was filling with other things. My relationships with the people that are important to me are so much stronger and they can actually trust me again. I got my life back and I have confidence in myself now.”
Fellowship Hall is honored to be a place where our guests can find themselves and the confidence to be successful in their sobriety. Trent said that to those new to recovery, he wished to encourage them to understand that they cannot do it their own way, or alone, but if they are willing to submit, especially at Fellowship Hall, they can build a great foundation for their recovery and for the rest of their lives.
For more information, resources, and encouragement, ‘like’ the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.
About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.