Finding Inner Happiness

I moved to Oklahoma about 7 years ago for college. During that time, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science and began graduate school for a Master's Degree in the science field. I had always been a social drinker, so I used my weekends to let go of the stress of the week and party with friends. During graduate school, my work and school responsibilities had tripled and so did the stress. In turn, I had progressively become unhappier and used the weekend and partying as my major escape. I had hit a very low point in my life and wanted a change. I had always felt like Oklahoma was the reason for my unhappiness and if I could just get out, I could be happy again. I thought I had turned my life around and was six weeks away from moving back to my hometown when I got arrested for a DUI. I found myself in a deeper hole than I had ever imagined, my dreams of a different life had been crushed. I felt like I was stuck in Oklahoma and felt forced to finish a program that I thought had made me extremely unhappy.

Throughout the DUI court process, I was led to The Virtue Center. At that point I knew that I was miserable in my situation but never thought I needed help. At first I was reluctant to start treatment, because I never saw my substance abuse as the problem. I always thought my problem was my environment, but I was proved wrong. Within my first month of individual counseling, I discovered that it wasn’t my surroundings that were the root of my unhappiness, but internal turmoil I had felt within myself and chose to ignore, and no location would change that. At the time of my DUI, I had just felt like I was unlucky. Now after six months of treatment, I have discovered it was my higher power telling me that to be successful in the future I had to work on myself, which includes those feelings of helplessness, worthless, and sadness that I had ignored.

Six months later, I am still in treatment and have never been happier. Not only did I graduate with my Master's Degree, I am no longer miserable in my environment. I found inner happiness and continue to work on it every day, because I know it’s a process I will have to resume in order to be the best person I can be. I believe that many people think their substance abuse is just a way to let go of stress and feel relief. However, now that I am 7 months sober, I know that I used alcohol as a way to ignore emotions and forget about my problems. Treatment has taught me a new way of thinking, feeling, and acting that is invaluable for anyone in any circumstance. The new coping mechanisms I have learned have led me to a better life. The coping mechanisms have also given me the confidence to face my problems head on and continue to make me the best version of me.

I now look to the future as a bright light instead of a dark unknown hole, and that is priceless.

Emily- daughter, student, and friend in recovery

Melissa Simpson