The Recovery Process Works

The Cochise Jones Recovery Story 

My slow journey on this path towards my recovery started when I was a mere early teen, curious about life and absorbing everything around me, yet I was naïve of the problems plaguing the lives of those closest to me.

Recovery Process and drug addiction recovery

My father was an addict for most of his life, sometimes going missing for days on end making my mother worry endlessly while caring for a sickly newborn. My father struggled for many years with his addiction, for him it was either he was doing everything or nothing, characteristics I later found out I shared. 
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First encounters with drugs

My first encounter with my drug of choice occurred when travelling on a holiday in the Drakensburg in the car with my mom’s good friend. He asked me to hold the steering wheel while he brought out this large jar of these curious green plants, the smell wasn’t very appealing but nevertheless, I was curious. As a continued to pilot the car he created something I would become very familiar with. He offered a couple of hits and happily obliged as I was a naturally adventurous little one. I didn’t really feel anything and after that moment never thought about the event again until many years later when starting a new journey in university.

I had more freedom than I ever had in my life, studying for a prestigious degree and was surrounded by friends. I felt unstoppable, invincible, untouchable, however, my mortality was going to rear its ugly head and show me that my feelings could not be further from the real truth. 

With my newfound freedom, I started doing things my young naïve self never thought I would, like touch drugs. The progression was slow, only using socially and when the circumstance presented itself. With my being an addict, however, the progression was not slow for long. My use went from occasionally social, too often social and very quickly degraded to isolated use. 

I had separated myself from the previous, hard-working, group of friends to groups that suited my needs to fuel my addiction. In only a couple of months from when I had started using, it was the only thing I was doing. The second semester of that year I had failed every single module I was doing, and my parents wanted me back home. I was encouraged by this change though, hoping that I could control my use better at home. I was horribly mistaken, my use got worse, I became distanced from my family, I even on one occasion borrowed money from my brother to purchase my drugs. 

Using and Abusing

I was trying to run away from the ever-increasing wave of shit that was amounting behind me as a result of my use. I used to make myself believe that everything was ok, to take away my problems. I wholeheartedly embraced the hold drugs had on me as it was easier than facing the real world and dealing with my problems. 

Another year had passed of my using, my lying to those closest to me, my not living up to my potential and most importantly my lying to myself. After continuous failure after failure, something clicked inside me. I did not want this life anymore, I didn’t want to lie to my parents, to my brothers, to my partner and to myself anymore. I was tired. I think this is a very important phrase as I did not hit my rock bottom, this stage in my life was by no means my rock bottom, that for me would have been death. I was tired of living a life that I knew I was not meant to live. I was tired of trying to control everything around me. I was tired of being stagnant. I realised I needed help. 

Thus began my path to recovery. I knew I needed help and was willing to do whatever I needed to do to get it…with a little persuasion of course. I went for an interview with one of the co-founders of Houghton House and upon my arrival, he immediately remarked that I looked familiar. Through some conversation, we discovered that my father had been to this very treatment facility over a decade before. It was at that point that I knew I was in the right place, and that it was no coincidence that I landed up there. 

The Recovery Process First Days in Rehab

Recovery Process

I checked into Houghton Houses primary facility on the 22nd of July 2019. I thought I would feel anxious being completely shut off from the outside world, staying in a strange place with people I have never met. I had a sense of calmness over me, however, a feeling of ‘I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be’. I thought I was alone in my difficulties with addiction but in my first group session, I realised that I could not be more wrong. There are other people like me struggling with this disease of addiction and I opened up about stuff I had never told anyone before in my life. And the more I spoke about it the better I felt and the lighter my shoulders became. I became close to a couple of people, one person, in particular, had a particularly special role in my Recovery Process, the one who threw my bed on the roof. 

I went through the primary programme and secondary programme known as “GAP” as well as “Aftercare” for a couple of months and then “Recovery Maintenance” and I still have my weekly Recovery Process sessions with my councillor. 

My experience during the first month was mostly about establishing the fact that I have a problem with drugs and that I cannot do anything about it by myself. Through the steps and the Houghton Houses programme, I confronted the damage that my addiction had caused to those around me and to my life. 

The second phase of my treatment is really where I started to deal with the character defects that led me to have a dependency on drugs in the first place. In “GAP” I started to learn how to really reconnect with myself and be aware of my emotions and how to deal with them. This was critical not only for my recovery but for my life in general as I was not only dealing with problems caused by my addictions but problems that stemmed from all the trauma in my life. 

Recovery Process Aftercare Maintenance Programme

The “Aftercare” programme was a continuation of the group sessions where I got to continue to delve into my personal issues and receive help to deal with life as it happened. 

The “Recovery Maintenance” programme is a long-term programme that helped me keep my recovery principles in check and stay in contact with a support system that helps me see things in my Recovery Process from a different perspective.

While I was in primary, the councillors were telling us about all the programmes that Houghton House offers and at the time I was honestly apprehensive about following the full programme. But after being nearly 2 years sober now and still being part of the system, I can’t say I could have done this without all the programmes and group sessions that were sometimes tough but were exactly what I needed. Of all the people that I spent time within my first month in treatment, I would estimate that only 2 to 3 people are still clean to this day including myself. Of those 2, one is one of my best friends and we are both still part of the Houghton House system.

I gained so much from my experience in my Recovery Process, and I am so grateful to those closest to me for helping me on this journey, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today, clean and sober living one day at a time. 

Cochise Jones

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