My name is Cassie, I’m 29 years old and I have battled addiction on and off for the past decade. I have been to treatment centers all over the country, many for periods of a year or more. After my most recent relapse with Benzodiazepines I found myself at my tenth treatment center-Denver Women’s Recovery. I was scared, a bit broken, and incredibly angry with everyone and everything. DWR challenged the deep rooted schemas I had about myself and my place in the world. They took a genuine interest in me and my life. The small groups and one on one time with my counselor and case manager was exactly what I needed. I felt safe, loved, and most of all I felt like I mattered and belonged in this world. Today, I have almost 8 months clean and I couldn’t be more grateful to Holly and all the staff at DWR. I’m honored to be a part of the Denver Women’s Recovery Alumni sisterhood.
The last 90 days at Denver Women’s Recovery have given me an entirely different view on my life. I entered as an anxious, depressed, broken addict with no hope and a simple desire to end the storm. I Googled “addiction help in Denver” and Denver Women’s Recovery appeared. Through hot tears, sobs and desperation, I read about the program online and was attracted by the fact that the staff and clients were all female and the program offered flexibility to continue with everyday routines (which included work, a husband, and toddler for me). While still crying, I called DWR and still thank God to this day that Holly answered my call. I told her I saw the DWR website, took the website survey, answered “Yes” to every question and was scared to confront my addiction. Holly was so friendly and professional and I needed the immediate support and comfort she offered. Two hours after I called Holly I arrived to meet with Dr. Bader. I was greeted by smiling faces assuring me that I was in the right place making the right moves. I remember thinking that I was her in an addiction recovery office scared to death, feeling like absolute hell sitting in front of two beautiful women who had their lives together. I was so timid, however, I instantly felt hope and a desire to change if it was going to involve Holly and Dr. Bader.
Dr. Bader asked me about my drug and alcohol history and completed my intake while I was hung over, high, and full of shame. Dr. Bader immediately picked up on the fact that I was so terrified of telling my husband, family, friends, and my job about my lies/relapse/addiction that I couldn’t focus on anything else she was asking. Just being in a room where recovery occurred seemed like the only battle I could fight in that very moment. Not only did Dr. Bader keep assuring me that I was in the right place, she helped me rehearse what I was going to say to everyone and stayed with me until I was composed enough to make the calls and communicate to my loved ones what was actually going on. I was so nervous and so scared of the truth and the possible abandonment but I knew a serious change was needed. With Holly and Dr. Bader’s encouragement, I committed to their 90 day Intensive Out-Patient program to address my addiction in a way that 12 step rooms couldn’t get through to me for the last 3 years of constant sobriety and relapses adding to my 15 years of using.
Denver Women’s Recovery is a dual diagnosis program which means that I got to see a physiatrist that specializes in mental illness and addiction, who collaborates and works alongside with the rest of the DWR Staff. My gratitude for Dr. Loftin is beyond what I can describe in words. She is very personable and will be the first one to admit to her own human faults and experiences relating to battles we all face in recovery. In my first session with Dr. Loftin, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety, severe depression along with an addiction to marijuana and alcohol. Having the diagnosis helped me communicate the severity of my sickness and need for this program to my loved ones who were skeptical. Dr. Loftin explained that it is very rare to see addicts who don’t also have mental health issues to address. I had never formally be diagnosed with anxiety and depression but Dr. Loftin explained it so well, I was immediately in agreeance with her words and knew that I needed to trust the program and take the medications she prescribed me. My therapy sessions with Dr. Loftin are never dull or uneventful. We work hard through my inner-turmoil and I’m able to get the verbal motivation to start new thoughts and transition my negative thinking. Dr. Loftin is friendly, relatable and brings her sweet little dogs to work so naturally all of the girls in the program have a lot of respect and admiration for her, me included.
I had never been exposed to Group Therapy before and was hesitant based on my anxiety, depression, and shame of my addiction. I thought, “How could I sit with a group of women and discuss these demons?” “How could this be effective? We are all different women with different recovery needs.” I can now say that Group Therapy is one of the biggest motivators and tools DWR has to offer. Cait and Dr. Bader lead sessions that range from family dynamics, values, power and control to nutrition and amino acid supplementation. These session have made me revaluate my understanding of basic needs and functionality. The self-awareness and revelations began pouring out when I allowed myself to be vulnerable and take down the perfectionist, “all together” image I was portraying for the last 15 years.
When Dr. Bader led the group therapy sessions, and I allowed myself to go deeper into a current conflict, she would chart it out on the board and the visual would be picture worthy. I have phone pictures charting out social comparison, negative mind reading, schemas like entitlement, planning charts to minimize my anxiety and a list of values and positive things I’ve achieved while dedicating my heart and soul to this program. Dr. Bader’s energy, theatrical expressions and her “kind of scary, not really scary, but kind of scary” pushes were much needed and well received. Cait’s tone of irony and ability to draw everything together in group therapy sessions with an “It’s funny how… “ or “We act out this way because…” made head nods and connections that I never saw before. Cait also has a quirky way of saying exactly what most of us are thinking, only she says it out loud- it’s pretty magical.
I gained a strong sense of connection and community as the women in the chairs around me were also sharing their stories, struggles, and lessons learned. I got to know all of the girls participating in IOP at the same time I was in the program very well. There have been some tears, some uncomfortable moments and hardships but more importantly and most often, there was a lot of laughter and support. I learned that a feeling of connection comes from sharing defects, resentments, family history and substance use and wouldn’t you know it, every girl in the room had a very similar story. We share the disease of addition and those of us who own it, recover together by learning and growing. Our most vulnerable moments create connection and unity. Group Therapy at DWR offers a genuine place of healing to fight the addictive urges to isolate and withdraw from everyday life. There is no stronger medicine than the connection and community DWR offers.
Cait was my main therapist and I met with her once a week. She put up with my freak out texts and overwhelming sense of schedule and with patience she would reveal a look and tone that could set me straight. We broke down the group therapy sessions and talked about everything under the sun going on with me. Most sessions I speed talked so I could get everything in while she patiently listened and offered input when I would let her speak (yes, I’m still working on my entitlement, which I didn’t realize was a “thing” before DWR). Other sessions, when things with me seemed on track and my anxiety wasn’t so apparent, she acknowledged my progress and would always push me to achieve more and think deeper. The exercises she had me complete gave a whole new meaning of Me and the person I’ve come to be. The self-awareness she graciously highlighted would usually make me nod, smirk, sigh and nod some more.
Yes, this program addresses substance abuse and addict behaviors but its goes so much deeper than that. DWR has helped me define human flaws and provide support and understanding while encouraging sobriety. You’re not in a structured setting where professionals are telling you what to do every minute of your day. You have guidance and tools by utilizing Dr. Loftin, the individual therapist and Group Therapy. AND you complete your everyday tasks and learn to cope back in the real world sober while completing treatment. To me these factors make the program a big success. Trying to recover from addiction, address mental health, partake in individual therapy, participate in Group Therapy while keeping all of the balls up in the air that were falling when using (family, friends, work, self-worth), AND knowing that it’s all possible to complete each and every day is the most gratifying feeling I could of ever asked for. I’ve completed the 90 IOP program with ambition, self-awareness and integrity. I know I can hold my shoulders up high and face whatever life throws at me thanks to DWR. I know I’m not completely healed by any means, this is a life long journey and recovery doesn’t happen in 90 days. DWR put the mirror in front me, helped me break down the layers and most importantly, helped me get to the root of my disease. I highly recommend entrusting these wonderful professionals to help lead the way and taking the first steps in confronting addiction. DWR didn’t just give me my life back, DWR enhanced me in such a way that I’m more proud of the recovering addict, continuing to fight addiction than I ever was in any other accomplishment I’ve achieved throughout my life. This new person is worthy and authentic and isn’t afraid of addiction any more. Take the journey, and discover life changing results with DWR.
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