Matthew’s Story: The Decision to Give Recovery a Chance

By The Fix staff 10/07/19

After receiving treatment at Ardú Recovery Center in Utah, Matthew is clean and sober. This is his story.

Image: 
close up of a man determined to beat his addiction to alcohol

I was born and raised in a good family in southeastern Utah. We were very religious, but my parents believed that kids should have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from their own experiences, so I had a lot of freedom. Both of my parents worked hard to raise me well.

I grew up in a ranching community and was very active in sports. For the most part I was successful and popular. It was around this time that I began experimenting with alcohol. I also began chewing tobacco, a cowboy thing that was common in the ranching community. In high school I began drinking more regularly. It was done periodically. I didn't experiment with other drugs. During this time I was very successful on the outside, but on the inside I was miserable and felt like I was failing. I was a straight-A student when I started high school, but my GPA was below 2.0 near the end. 

Upon graduation, because of my grades, I didn't have many options, so I moved to Provo with my best friend from high school. I got a job doing countertop construction. My friend from high school and I ended up getting married and I put her through college doing countertop construction. During this time I also started drinking more frequently. I worked hard and drank hard.

Once she finished school I decided to quit doing countertops and go back to school. My drinking slowed down at this point. I was drinking less but I began using it as a tool. I found that it helped loosen my brain up. It also helped me deal with anxiety.

The Slide From Functioning Alcoholic to Rock Bottom

The first month after graduating school and reentering the workforce was a big transitional period for me and my wife. I was making less money than I was before I went back to school, but I kept at it and began to have a lot of success at work. At this point my drinking was much worse. I was drinking to get drunk and passing out every night. It wasn't uncommon for me to go through 18 beers and a fifth of whiskey at night. In spite of my drinking I continued to get promoted. I was living a dual life of being completely obliterated at night, but up and at work early the next morning. I ended up working my way up to a very high position in that company and had a lot of responsibilities.

During this time I began to have more serious physical consequences from drinking. I had stopped eating, and was getting all my calories from alcohol. I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and having blackouts. My wife and I also had three kids now, and I was not even trying to hide it from them. They knew I was a drunk. I felt guilty for setting a bad example for my kids and started to try and quit drinking without success. It was also causing more problems between me and my wife.

Time passed and I'd gone from drinking good whiskey to drinking a fifth of 100 proof peppermint schnapps every night. My marriage was falling apart, and I became completely isolated. All I did was drink. I finally told my doctor what was going on—he kind of knew. My insurance offered very limited options. The only place I could go was what turned out to be a psychiatric facility that was three to four hours away. My wife drove me out there and I was admitted. This was a devastating experience for a guy who has always been able to pull himself up by his bootstraps and accomplish anything he set his mind to. I talked my way out of that place 18 hours after being admitted. My wife came back and got me.

I was right back to drinking after I left that place. Soon after getting out I found out that a friend's wife was working at Ardú Recovery Center. We reached out to her, but my insurance would not cover the cost of treatment. I continued to drink. Then, in the middle of a bender my wife told me she had worked out admittance to Ardú through a scholarship. She told me that if I didn't agree to go that IT WAS OVER between us. I didn't think she was serious, but I said okay and I checked into Ardú Recovery Center

This was the best thing that ever happened to me and the hardest thing i’d ever had to do in my life. 

I Decided to Give Recovery a Chance

The minute I was at Ardú I didn't feel like anyone was looking at me with judgment. It was also an extremely comfortable environment. I think that's a blessing because if that hadn't been the case I would have gotten out of there. I agreed to stay for 30 days. In my mind I thought I would be in there for a week. When I got out I would be better at controlling my drinking. I'd never been able to control it before, but that's what was in my mind then. I began trying to manipulate things by talking to people and setting things up so that I could get out in a week and have my wife pick me up. When I tried to arrange a pick up with my wife she said, “No, i am not coming to get you!” This kind of pissed me off. I'd been planning my next drink and return to work. All I could think about was getting out and what kind of beer I would get. While in Ardú I also got a letter from my boss. My wife had reached out to him and let him know what was going on with me. In the letter he let me know that I had nothing to worry about. He would welcome me back with open arms. These two events were big game changers for me. I went back to my room and balled, which is something I hadn't done in a very long time.

At this point I decided I would give recovery a chance, and participate in the program at Ardú. I went to all the groups and was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. They let us go to outside recovery meetings at night and I really started to do some self reflection. I started to think about what was going on with me. I couldn't figure out why I drank. I was just an average Joe who was wasting all this potential through drinking and I couldn't figure out why. I'd left the church that I was raised in due to an incident that occurred when I was younger, but I remembered that I had prayed for the first 20 years of my life. So I went back to praying and started to work on a relationship with MY higher power again.

There were a number of people at Ardú Recovery Center, from the chefs to the counselors, who were phenomenal. They were all supportive and guided me as I figured things out on my own. The environment created by the staff at Ardú was one where the process of self discovery and recovery could take place. I was there for 19 days. At that point I realized I had done all I could inpatient and that it was time to get back to life. The staff expressed some concern about me leaving after only 19 days, but I knew it was time for me to go. It's funny—I felt good about my decision to leave, but the night before I left, I got really scared because I knew I was about to leave a safe, comfortable, warm environment. I needed a plan. So I committed to continue participating in Alcoholics Anonymous and to not be afraid to ask for help. I re-entered the world outside of Ardú and began to actively work on a relationship with a Higher Power, and to get out of my own way.

Having gone through treatment at Ardú Recovery Center and embarked on this journey in recovery I've found that my instincts are more in line with my core values. It may sound dramatic, but this really saved my life! Before checking into treatment and getting sober things were okay in my life from a material standpoint, but I'd put myself in a personal prison through self medicating with alcohol. I was in my own personal hell. Through the process of getting sober a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I used to measure my life by the things I had. Now I measure my life by what I did today, who I helped today? I currently have 7 months sober right now, and for the first time in my life I'm actively trying to be a better person.

Learn more about Ardú Recovery Center at www.ardurecoverycenter.com. Reach Ardú Recovery Center by phone at (801) 823-6781. Find Ardú Recovery Center on Facebook

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