A personal perspective

There’s nothing more personal than a story of recovery told by the person who lived it. One of our own clients shared the story below–his story in his own words, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share it. There is always hope for those who are struggling, there is always another path. If you or someone you love is struggling or maybe has tried and been unsuccessful at recovery, know there is another way at Centered.

I wanted to disappear

“From the end of my teens to the end of my twenties, I did it all. All the drugs; if you’ve heard of it, odds are I’ve tried it. I was always curious, never scared, looking for a new experience. My first love was the psychedelics, because I liked journeying Far Away from Here. In the end, I was mainlining the strongest narcotics on the planet, honestly with the same goal: I wanted to disappear, even for a brief moment, no matter what the consequences. Of course, I did not understand what was at work beneath all the madness. I had ‘known’ for a long time, as I had ‘known’ many other things, on a very surface level of understanding, that I have always had an active mind and (I thought) I needed outside help quieting things down upstairs.

Over the past decade, in addition to trying all the different types and routes of administration of the available palette of illicit substances, I have also tried almost every available treatment modality for people with my ‘condition’.

I was barely scraping by

But seriously, inpatient, outpatient, incarceration, probation, community service, drug tests, accountability, Jesus, secular, self-discipline, self-discovery, reading, writing, yoga, running, clean eating, horrendous eating, green tea, school, sabbaticals, AA, NA, sponsors, steps, relationships, flying solo, and even packing all of my possessions into my 1984 Mercedes Diesel Sedan and driving to California to embrace nature, live in a van, and embrace the life of a nomad rock climber with my little brother. All in all, I’ve spent about 10% of my waking life in treatment of some kind. Even after this last stretch of long and grueling inpatient treatment, (I) found my blood levels of illicit substances elevated yet again only a month after leaving. I was devastated, terrified even. It wasn’t even so much that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain sobriety for the rest of my life, but more so that I would be able to stay sober, yet remain in a miserable state of mind and body until I breathed my last. That possibility terrified me, and I sounded the alarms. I reached out to my people, and one of them put me in touch with a therapist. At this point I was barely scraping by. Forcing one foot in front of the other as I attended my daily AA meetings, called my AA sponsor, clocked in and out at my depressing job, attempted in vain to communicate effectively with my loving girlfriend, and stay sober literally one day at a time, as you do in times like these. A few weeks in, slogging away on the treadmill of life back in early recovery, not really believing anything I was doing would ever help me, my wonderful therapist sent me over to Centered Recovery. End Scene.

Centered has a different feel to it

From the beginning, I knew this place was different from any other facility at which I have darkened the doors. And not simply sophisticated and modern, as I’ve been to those places, too. Centered was different, but I didn’t know how or why at first. It was basically as simple as my experiences with drugs, which made me feel different; Centered has a different feel to it.

The first few sessions were mostly confusing, but no one was trying to make me adopt their way of thinking. I was merely encouraged to follow along as best I could and use my own internal experience to investigate various ideas. The first difference between this facility and the rest slowly solidified: rather than pushing me linearly toward a specific understanding which was predetermined and had nothing to do with me, they were simply creating a space in which I could arrive at my own conclusions, develop my own insights, and work them out in my own words. It’s difficult for me to overstate the significance of this, and I may need to tell a story.

Too smart to be happy

I’m a pretty smart guy… I’m no Einstein, but in a room of 50 people, odds are my IQ is higher than the other 49. I do really well on standardized tests. I’m a problem solver. This works well for me in physics class, but honestly, in most of the rest of my life, the activity level of my mind coupled with the way my brain is wired gets me into trouble. I sometimes offer solutions no one is interested in. And over the years in other recovery circles, I have been CONSTANTLY alerted to the fact that I am ‘thinking waaaaay tooooo hard’. In AA, they say that you can be either too rich, too young, or too smart for their simple program of recovery to work for you. The same people who say this have publicly labeled me as being ‘terminally intelligent’. Literally too smart to be happy, joyous and free. And please don’t misunderstand me, there is truth to what these people are saying and there is a lot of wisdom in the rooms of AA. However, and now let’s shift gears back to my recent experience with the fine folks at Centered Recovery……

On my third or fourth session at their Marietta facility, I was deeply engaged. Asking tons of questions, really feeling the internal struggle as I sought wholeheartedly to grasp a deeper understanding of the way this body and mind operate, and suddenly I stopped. A few moments of silence. I then asked, “I have one question for y’all. Am I thinking too hard about this?!” The group leaders and long time attendants all basically shrugged, and then I was asked, “Do YOU think you are thinking too hard?” I didn’t know what to say. This was revelatory. I was legitimately, sincerely being asked to use my own analytic faculties to discern for myself the solution to a puzzle. No one was correcting me or telling me I was doing something wrong or that the way I operated was wrong.

I saw something that changed me forever

Not long after, I had my first insight. I was digesting the night’s content while simultaneously taking an interaction between myself and the group facilitator personally. I was going through the same thought patterns I’ve had for as long as I can remember. My thoughts were doing their usual thing constructing defenses that excused any mistake on my part. I was feeling all the usual feelings associated with this type of situation, when in an instant I saw the whole thing from a completely new perspective, and for the first time saw my thoughts and their associated feelings as they were: nonsensical firings of the mind’s circuitry. And the unpleasant sensations disappeared; my body completely relaxed. I saw something that changed me forever.

That was the beginning. I keep coming back because there is something unique and universal and truly life changing that I am waking up to thanks to Centered Recovery. And as my understanding grows, it infiltrates every area of my life. For the first time I am able to drive in silence without incessantly reaching for content and stimulation. My daily word count has dropped significantly, because there are fewer and fewer things which necessitate the moving of my mouth.

The beginnings of true peace

Make no mistake, I am still fully human. I have uncontrollable thoughts and feelings and circumstances get the better of me regularly. But I have found the beginnings of true peace. Peace that comes from within, peace that was there all along. I hate to say it because it still sounds so cheesy, but what I was looking for all these years in so many different things truly was there, right in front of me, the whole time. One of the coolest things about this new understanding is that it doesn’t replace all the other things in my life. I still attend 12-step meetings, I still have a sponsor and a sponsee. I continue to meditate and practice yoga and see my therapist. I see a psychiatrist and take my medications as prescribed. The difference is that Centered Recovery has helped integrate all of these good things in my life in a truly meaningful was. It was the missing piece that brought it all together for me.


If you would like to hear more about Centered Recovery and see if it might be the right fit for you, give us a call at 888.556.2966.