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My Challenge with Addiction

By Adrienne Santaularia

Our success rate at Dallas 24 Hour Club hovers around 18% which seems low, but compared to the National Average of 10%, it’s actually high. I can assure you though, it never gets easy hearing stories of our residents, past or present, relapsing.

My desk sits in our Community Room, which has been converted to office space during the day. Being so close in proximity to the residents, I naturally get to know them. I attend workshops with them and I help them draft resumes and look for employment. I learn their names, history and life stories. Heck, some of them I can even tell you their soda of choice or their favorite meal. Our residents have become part of my family – even the ones that are only here for a few days.

Last week, we lost one of our residents to addiction. She stayed at The 24 in 2013, so I never knew her personally, but I feel the pain of others that did. Another resident relapsed last week and is currently at rock bottom drugging. I’ve spoken to her and tried to convince her to come back to The 24, but I can’t pressure her or make her come back. I can’t force her to get clean. She has to do it herself, which is one of the hardest parts about this line of work. I have to remind myself that I can’t fix every problem or solve every solution. The only thing I can do is provide the resources for help and support them when they are ready.

I’m naturally a go-getter. If there is an issue, I solve it. And not only do I solve it, I solve it immediately, quickly and efficiently. I get things done, however, I’ve had to step back and teach myself to remain patient and calm, because I can’t fix the issue of addiction. No matter how badly I want to.

My heart hurts every time someone relapses. I have a strong physical reaction to relapsing and it never gets easier. I want to beg people to stay safe and clean. I want to shake them into recovery. I lost my brother-in-law, Jack, to this horrific disease in June 2018 and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. I can still hear his laugh and see his smile. He had the best smile. It could charm an entire room. Every time one of our residents goes back out, I think of Jack and what he could have become if he could have beat this disease. It’s a shame because he was great at everything. His heart was good; just naturally good like so many of our residents.

Even as I type this, I remind myself that I cannot control the lives of my loved ones. I have to let them make their own decisions even though their decisions often cause me gut wrenching fear and sadness. I can’t choose for them and that’s my challenge within this disastrous disease.  

Adrienne Santaularia is the Marketing Director for Dallas 24 Hour Club.


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