New Patterns, New Habits

The outpatient program at Cedar House is designed to give clients flexibility while providing a structured path to recovery. After 18 years of abusing drugs, Sean learned that the best way to stay clean is to be accountable to a structured routine. By working a day shift and requiring himself to attend 6:30 p.m. meetings at Cedar House, he discovered new patterns and new habits for success in life.

At the age of 18, Sean left his parents’ house and moved to Texas to live with his grandmother. His girlfriend convinced him to return to California on a greyhound bus just a few months later. When he returned, he noticed that something was different about her but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. His friends all appeared thinner and behaved differently around him. One day, he walked in on them in a restroom smoking a pipe. Sean’s first instinct was to walk away, but his girlfriend was very persuasive and told him that trying meth with her would prove his love to her. Young and easily influenced, Sean tried meth. Reflecting back on that moment, he said, “I put that pipe to my lips and pulled the trigger. I blew my brains out. After that, it was use, after use, after use.”

For the next three years, Sean was homeless and deep in his addiction. He said his behavior when he was high “changed his family dynamic forever,” especially when he frightened his brother at home one day while manically running through their parents’ house with a samurai sword because of a meth-induced hallucination.

His first son was born when Sean was 21. He managed to stop using for a year and a half to get a job and provide for his family. But, when his son’s mother left him, Sean began using again and continued to use off and on until the age of 25. He started dating someone new and brought her into meth addiction with him. When they struggled to find jobs, they moved to Oklahoma, had a son together, and stayed sober for over a year. They fought regularly though and, realizing they were incompatible when they weren’t on drugs, decided to get a divorce.

Sean moved back in with his parents and started using again. At the age of 29, he met his current girlfriend and attempted to conceal his addiction. Continuing to go to the gym and maintain his physical appearance gave him an outer shell that hid his brokenness inside. But his girlfriend was concerned about his behavior and undiagnosed bipolar episodes, and even caught him using twice. He said that his drug abuse “did nothing but destroy me mentally and emotionally.”

When he finally began therapy around the age of 36, Sean started uncovering a lot about his mental condition. He found the Cedar House outpatient program and realized he had much more to learn. He said, “Cedar House helped me to regain my mental state and live with integrity. You stand much taller when you live with integrity. They helped me wake up to see I was worth something. I had spent so much time looking for self-worth in other people, which made me easy to manipulate.”

He completed the 90-day outpatient program on November 15. During that time, he found that “accountability to be there in groups three times a week made me accountable for my job. It was pretty convenient. It helped me develop a new pattern and better habits.

Now, Sean works as a store room clerk for a roofing shingle producer and says he enjoys his job. He maintains healthy relationships and continues to be an active part of his sons’ lives.

Sean said, “The outpatient program at Cedar House helped me reinforce my sense of self and ended a long streak of 18 years of using. I would encourage people to seek therapy. Use all your options. What’s the worst that could happen? You could get better!”

Man standing at microphone with big smile.