Somerset Woman Finds Hope After Alcohol Addiction Treatment   

Somerset Woman Finds Hope After Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Adriana smelling flowers outside in a field.

September 05, 2023

At the height of her alcohol addiction, Adriana T. felt like two women. One insisted she didn’t need to drink, while the other whispered, “Yes, but I want more.” 

The Somerset, New Jersey, wife and mother was painfully aware of her alcohol dependence, and—despite her efforts to conceal it—so were her family and friends. The problem crept up gradually: Adriana had been a social drinker for years, sipping wine at parties before realizing in her late 40s it was no longer “doing the job.” She then switched to vodka, hiding bottles around her home so they would be readily accessible yet out of sight for her husband and family. 

Adriana was the textbook definition of a “functioning alcoholic.” She maintained a full-time job, never missed family commitments and believed she was successfully hiding her increasing alcohol use from her family and friends. Not surprisingly, many people with addiction issues believe the same thing.

However, by late 2021, Adriana saw dramatic changes in the mirror that she could no longer deny. Her hair had thinned dramatically, to the point where people assumed she was on chemotherapy. She saw a gray paleness on her face. She became a skilled makeup artist using heavy concealer to cover bruises from bumping into things while drunk.

The toll on her body was more than external. Routine health tests such as blood pressure and cholesterol revealed her body was going haywire. “Those test results were definitely a sign I needed to do something, but I was so deep into the addiction that I couldn’t function without alcohol,” recalls Adriana, now 57. “I wanted to change my life, because I had no life.” 

Structured, Tailored Addiction Treatment Program

On Christmas Day 2021, Adriana told her husband, John, that she was packing a bag and would check in the next morning at nearby Blake Recovery Center, a nationally recognized leader in addiction treatment with inpatient detox and rehab at Carrier Clinic in Somerset County. “‘I need to go. I want my life back. Please take me there,’” she asked him.

Like others with alcohol use disorder, Adriana’s first phase of her 28-day inpatient treatment protocol involved a medically monitored detox process. After her physical dependence began to ebb, Adriana participated in structured daily group and individual counseling sessions. In the evenings, persons in recovery attend Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Smart Recovery meetings—the latter an alternative to higher power-based group paradigms.

“We tailor everyone’s plan to the individual because everyone is different,” explains Michele Scasserra, LCSW, LCADC, CCS, director of substance abuse counseling services at Blake Recovery Center. “Like so many people who take the difficult and courageous step to change their lives, Adriana was passionately motivated and engaged. She wanted to learn and have this be ‘it’ for her—she didn’t want to come back.”

The caring and supportive staff also made an indelible impression on Adriana, which Michele says is the norm. “I’ve had patients tell me this is the safest they’ve felt, when they’re here,” she says. “After feeling so alone and isolated in their addiction for so long, when people arrive here, they are instantly welcomed into a caring community that knows what they are feeling and going through. That is huge for them.”

Reveling in Normal Moments

Adriana knew a structured plan and support system would be critical to maintain her sobriety when she went home. She continued to attend 12-step recovery program meetings, along with one-on-one counseling sessions.

“I know now that a drink isn’t going to make things better,” she says. “I sacrificed years of my life and health for a drink. Now, I’ve put that chapter behind me to get back my life. I got my wings back, and I am able to fly again.” 

Like many who reclaim their lives through recovery, Adriana is now “paying it forward” in any way she can. As a frequent speaker at Blake Recovery Center, welcoming people newly entering treatment, Adriana helps others find their wings. She revels in ordinary moments that she previously missed out on, spending time with her husband and grown daughter and enjoying hobbies that include needlepoint and photography.

“I now feel fulfilled with the everyday moments of joy, peace and beauty that I was missing when I was consumed by thoughts of the next drink, and I got a second chance to enjoy them,” she says.

Watch Adriana share her story of overcoming alcohol addiction.


Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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