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After slight step back, it's forward from here

It's crazy how much you learn to love the little things when you have nothing. My life has been absolutely crazy since I turned 18, and it all started on Dec. 18 when I checked myself into ShareHouse residential treatment, in Fargo.

I relapsed on my birthday, and things just weren't going in the right direction for me, so I figured one last go at it definitely couldn't hurt anything. My two in-patients in the past weren't necessarily something I would have called an enjoyable experience. I was forced to be there, and it was basically like being in a juvenile facility. It was really strict, and I didn't take to it real well.

I got to ShareHouse and I was pretty freaked out, being 18 for a little over two weeks, and going to an adult facility where I was going to be clearly the youngest person there. But, it didn't take long for me to fit in, even though the residents were all a lot older than me.

The housing there was probably the coolest thing I had ever experienced, especially in something like a treatment center. I walked through the doors, and they showed me to my own one-bedroom apartment with cable TV, a living room, full kitchen and bathroom. I instantly knew I was going to fit in great there, and I instantly felt comfortable.

I did my intake evaluation, and they let me pick the groups I wanted to do. The individualization made me feel incredibly confident; I knew it was the perfect place for me within the first three days.

I started going to all of The NA (Narcotics Anonymous), and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings I could possibly fit in, and I've absolutely fallen in love with them. There are typically about 100 recovering addicts there, and I've come to meet so many amazing people that I don't want to leave the Fargo-Moorhead area, but I have to.

I'm getting discharged on Friday, and I'm honestly still debating if it's even the right thing for me to do. I know I need to finish my senior year of high school, but I've made more true, amazing friends in the last 30 days, than I even have here in Detroit Lakes. Leaving the safe walls of ShareHouse is something that is going to be incredibly difficult for me, but I feel like I'm ready.

The 20 days I've spent at ShareHouse have already been enough to completely change my life. I feel so excited and nervous for the opportunity I've given myself, to live a free and happy life.

I'm excited to come home, I guess, but I also know it's going to be a lot different than the previous 18 years I've spent in Detroit Lakes. But, I'm confident I can make things work out with a little support from my friends in Fargo. I still plan on going up there every Tuesday and Thursday for The NA meetings I've come to love so much. And I'm excited to move on to the bigger and better things in life.

I'd like to encourage anyone who is also struggling with a chemical addiction (when they are ready) to give ShareHouse or another residential treatment a chance. I can already feel it changing my life, and it might do the same for you.

Jonah Bowe is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.