I remember looking at people who were grossly obese and wondering how they could let themselves get to that point. I would drive past the detox clinic and laugh to myself at the thought that they let themselves get that far gone that they ended up there. I’ve walked past homeless people sleeping on the street and couldn’t wrap my narrow mind around how their shit fell so far apart they found themselves sleeping on concrete.

And here I am. Falling apart. Out of control. Needing help. Needing detox. An alcoholic.

How did I get here.

I’ve lost sense of time and I’ve lost count of bottles. I’ve lost memories and friends. I’ve lost business and money. I’ve lost respect and trust. I’ve lost faith and I’ve lost hope.

How did I get here.

Coming to terms that I need help with my drinking problem has been the hardest and longest journey. And I’m seeing now that it’s just beginning. I’m frustrated and angry at how difficult – and expensive – it is to get access to proper assistance in Canada. I feel like I’m contributing too much to the system, and “they” don’t want me to get better. Perhaps a burden on the medical system (now and later) – but contributing to the economy with every bottle I down and pack of cigarettes I turn into ashes.

I’m worth much more to them broken than I am fixed.

And that makes me so sad. Because I want help. Badly. And I’ve tried helping myself, and it is not working. It’s scary to hear you need an actual medical detox, because you could have tremors and seizures – and die. It’s scary to be sitting here at 7am wanting a drink because turning these feelings into words is terrifying me. It’s making it real. I feel like I’m picking at a scab that refuses to heal.

“Wine hath drowned more men than the sea.” – Thomas Fuller

How did I get here.

I’ve been looking at detox clinics. I can’t afford any of them. I do not want to go to a hospital. I do not want to go to a drop in centre. Getting the alcohol out of my system alone will not fix my thirst. I won’t sweat out the real reasons I drink. You can’t detox your soul without proper, professional help, and it’s so devastating to find how out of reach that proper help is for so many people, just like me. Wanting help but not being able to get it is one more kick while you’re down. Admitting I need help lit a tiny spark of pride in me and in the darkness I saw the outlines of a little bit of hope. Then realizing I can’t access the help I want and need draws the shadows back in – and the spark goes out.

I’m going to see my doctor today. Luckily, I have one. And he’s wonderful. It’s a step at least so we will see where that goes. And I know I will have only one thought while I am sitting in that waiting room 3 hours from now, and that will be ‘How did I get here?’

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


  1. I live in the US so finding an affordable program is hard too. But there are good programs in hospitals. It is ironic because this hospital’s mental ward is kind of infamous. It turned out that people from different states come to the rehab center though. The program saved my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I think it’s fantastic that 1. you realize you need help 2. you know that stopping to drink is not really the issue here. Coming to terms with what makes you drink in the first place is the real task here.
    I am not an alcoholic, I don’t like alcoholics, I have no patience for them – my parents’ love of alcohol is what caused me a lot of problems that I have to deal with to this day. I have never been an addict and I don’t “get” the addictive personality. I do know however what suffering is and how it can express itself in many forms. I really hope that you find a way to extricate the reasons for your drinking. And to exorcise them in a different, less damaging way. Read up on Gabor Mate and his treatment of addictions. Perhaps that’s the way that could work for out. It might take just one trip to Peru :).


  3. I’d like to encourage you to look at programs then might have sort of a “step system.” In-patient care followed by outpatient care followed by intensive outpatient … as close to your home as possible. When Adam got out of his 45 day in patient program in another state, he felt confident and ready to tackle. He relapsed in a month because he didn’t have consistent aftercare every day. I do NOT want to scare you but 28 days is not a fix, it’s a start of a life long journey. But people like me are here to cheer you on and tell you that you are worth it.


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