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2 December 2014

Moving Beyond the Label of Substance use

Bio: The following is a guest post by Saint Jude Retreats, an alternative to traditional substance use treatment. Saint Jude Retreats provides a program for people with substance use problems that concentrates on self-directed positive and permanent change. Through the program, we offer the opportunity for individuals to self-evaluate and explore avenues for life enhancement.

Moving Beyond the Label of Substance use
When a person becomes entrapped with substance use, their life becomes completely focused on getting that next high. Nothing else matters, family, children, nothing at all except what I need to feel better. Eventually, for most, there comes a time when the substance user finally comes to the realization that they have a problem and they need help. The question is where can I get the help I need?

Choices in Life
There are many programs available today that are working hard to help people become free from their substance use. The most important factor for true success is for the substance user to realize that they have the power within themselves to make the choice to come clean and be free of their substance use. It is equally important for them to realize that this is not a sickness or a disease, but it was a decision on my part to enter this world. It will be an equally important decision to come away from this world and begin life anew.

I'm Clean, Now What?
I have made great strides, as hard as it was, to move beyond my substance use and that label. It was time to make decisions about what needs to be changed in my life. It was important to map out some goals that helped me to succeed in the future. Through this evaluation I decided my best option was to complete my education, go back to school to get my high school degree, and then go on to college to seek a career in life
I found the best way for me to choose my future career was to do a talent evaluation. This evaluation showed where my strengths and interests were. It helped me to see where my best options were for a future career taking into consideration my interests, talents, strengths, likes, and dislikes.

I knew I had to make and stick to new choices for the direction of my life. I had to steer clear of anything and everything to avoid old habits and the lifestyle I abhorred so deeply. I must never return to places, so-called friends, or lifestyles that come even close to where I was at before to pursue the goals and life I really wanted.

Rather I had to stay focused on my future, and the future of those I love most, to reach better goals for my life. If I ever wanted to be reunited or even be a part of my five sonsí lives again, I must prove that I'm worthy of that association. The most important part of this was setting proper goals. I had to have a deadline to finish college with my degree.

Past Indiscretions
Even with my education moving forward positively, I was well aware that with my past record, I could have a hard time breaking into the career of my choice. I am labeled as a substance user, a felon, and many other titles that I'm not very proud to speak of. Yes, during the time I was engaged in substance use, I resorted to any means I could to get my next high. I was arrested on several occasions and spent jail time because of it.

Seeking Employment
Most any field that I chose to go into, potential employers would do a background check and would discover substance use in my past due to my legal record. How could I get around this, and be able to finally move forward? I have learned to be truthful regarding my past and use it as a positive that I recognized I needed to change and that I am no longer using. Employers can ask me to do a pre-employment screening which I am happy to do as I am clean and sober. Some employers may disqualify me but all I can do is move beyond and prove through my new life and goals that I am determined to work hard to achieve the life I want to lead. It isn't easy but persistence will pay off in the end.
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