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“Those Days of Isolation Were Irrevocably Crucial”: Sharing One Year of Sobriety and Treatment for Alcoholism

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Mercedes originally shared her story with us in March. Today, she celebrates one year since she decided to enter inpatient treatment for alcoholism. Here is what she had to say: 

Imagine you could escape to a place where there were no outside influences. A place where the only voice you hear is the one that comes from deep inside your soul. The confusion that is present every day is now eradicated, and clarity is the only state of existence.

One year ago on this day, I decided to very literally take myself away from all outside experiences. It wasn’t by choice so much as it was the only foreseeable option. I walked into the elevator of a treatment center with just a duffle bag of clothes and the tears of a terrified little girl overwhelmed by the astronomical uncertainty that lie ahead. When the doors to the elevator opened again I stepped into a seemingly endless hallway and I took the first step towards the most unimaginable future.

The 28 days I was in inpatient treatment felt longer than all the rest of the days in the past year combined. The first 5 days where I wasn’t allowed any contact with the outside world were longer than all the rest. Those days of isolation were irrevocably crucial and it was in this time that I was able to make the decisions necessary to transform my life.

As I conversed with a friend about this one year milestone in my recovery, she said ‘People are going to want to know, how did you do it?’ Well the truth is simple, I did one thing. I let God be the driver of my life. There are no words to fully explain the phenomenon of complete surrender, but the closest analogy I have come up with for it is that it’s like that moment of reaching a point on the steepest mountain after carrying a pack full of rocks and other useless, heavy things, then finally letting the weight fall to the ground as you collapse on the bed of clouds that has been waiting for you.

This past year has been the hardest, most difficult, magnificent and beautiful year of my life. Being on the bed of clouds doesn’t mean that every pain, discomfort or need has been eliminated. It is the opportunity for strength to return and time to heal all wounds.

As I look back on this time there are highlights that stick out to me. The good, the bad and the ugly I like to call them. So here are just some of the things I would not have been able to experience if I hadn’t stepped onto that elevator last May.

Read Mercedes’ amazing, startling real list of experiences at Vi • Va • Ce. 


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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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