BY: Marc McMahon
I may not be what I want to be, I may not be what I could be. But thank God, I'm not what I used to be. Those words were posted one each to small wooden signs as we meandered, down the long winding driveway to what was my very first inpatient treatment stay some 21 years ago. One of those sayings that are etched into your brain the first time you read them and memorized instantly. That statement is just as profound of a statement to me today as it was when I first read it. In not so many words it speaks to me about victories and losses, successes and failures, and the trials and tribulations that are all a part of trudging the road to happy destiny.
I guess nobody ever said recovery was going to be easy. Nor did they mention it would be pain-free or without a struggle. The only real thing that I was promised when I walked into recovery for the first time was that things would definitely, with time, get better. I am going to have to be honest with you all, the first 6 or 7 years I tried to stay clean and sober were not easy. Many things continued to get worse, every time I would relapse it would be more horrific than the previous one. My desire to use would increase exponentially and in a very short time on several occasions, I found myself depressed, suicidal and just wanting to put myself out of my misery. I also firmly believed that I would be doing my family and anyone who was remotely close to me a favor by killing myself. So I could guarantee finally that I would not cause anybody else, any more pain than I already had.
By the grace of God, I was able to get through that period of time in my life and I began writing about my recovery, by accident really. I simply wrote a couple paragraphs for my outpatient treatment counselor and when I got done reading what had just come out of me I was like wow! Where did all that come from? I submitted it and it got published right away and that was my first ever published piece of writing for my favorite addiction and recovery website, Addiction Unscripted. It was a really awesome and gratifying feeling, it also was one of the most therapeutic experiences I had ever had as an individual. So I kept writing and a year later almost, I'm still here.
If you knew me at all before I started writing you would know that a years time in the life of Marc McMahon is not going to probably go by without a relapse of some sort. It has happened in the past, but more times than not there is a slip in there somewhere, somehow. This year was no different than the last 21 years I have been trying to string together something that resembles long term recovery. I can safely say that although I seem to stumble a time every year that every year I gain more days clean than the year before so there is great progress along those lines. Relapses get much shorter, and the damage caused by them not as severe as in years past. Most definitely heading in the right direction even though those types of setbacks can often time be fatal mistakes to those of us in recovery.
With my last relapse still being fresh enough to taste, I have been kind of trying to find my sense of direction again. Short of the article I wrote upon coming back sharing about the past two months of my life this will be only the second one I have written in the past month and a half. It has been kind of head game being one who writes about his recovery and boldly I might say. To come back after a relapse and feel comfortable, confident, and poised enough to sit down and start writing again.
To be quite honest with you, it was downright frightening at first. I was a well-oiled writing machine before I left, writing just about 30,000 words a week with my school work included in that. Where now I find myself staring at my computer screen wondering what to write about and then in which direction to go with it, second guessing myself the whole time. Instead of getting an idea, sitting down, and an hour later having a finished ready to publish article. I sit down wonder, stare, wonder some more, and tell myself that's a stupid idea. All before writing a paragraph and walking away from my laptop. Very, very different than it was before.
Not different because I have lost the gift of being able to write and share my heart. Different because my self-confidence as a writer took a direct hit, by the blitzkrieg of relapse back in October. It has taken me all this time to get my mind and body free of chemicals. To get my confidence as a writer and a Soldier fighting the disease of addiction back to a productive level. Where I could confidently wake up in the morning, grab my weapon, and without concern step foot out onto the battlefield of my day, with my head held high.
I am not going anywhere, other than where it is I have been destined to be, and that is right here. Taking all of my good days and all of my bad and sharing them in hopes that it might help somebody along the way. That is my mission, the God-given purpose for my life at this point. I had a man who I consider not only a person I look up to as a writer but a person who I am now beginning to consider a good friend. Comment on a recent article as he always does, and he said along the lines of. It is amazing to me Marc, how natural you make all of what you have been through seem to be. Almost as if the reason you went through it was so that you could share your experiences from it with others. Almost as if, it was always supposed to be this way so that many others would be able to benefit from just one man's struggle.
I replied along the lines of you know I am just really glad God has given me a healthy dose of optimism, to where most of the times I can see the good even in a really bad situation. Combine that with the faith that everything happens for a reason and if that reason is driven by God then a good one. With that being said then all I have gone through. All the heartache I have caused others, cannot be for not, no way. There has to be able to be good that comes from it so I look at it and I think to myself that's it. I went through all of this so that hopefully I can take what I have learned from it and hopefully use it to help stop someone else from having to go through it as severely as I did.
The gift of writing would not have been sufficient enough for me to take on this task that God has set before me. I needed to also be imparted with a supernatural sized portion of optimism that sees the good in most all situations. In order to keep my head screwed on tight enough, to be able to go through it, reflect on it. Then present it in such a way that it is not only healing me but inspiring, encouraging, and delivering hope. To the ones who need it most, those who have come looking for it, for the last time!
Be blessed, my friends.
About the Author:
Marc is a 48 yr. old Author, speaker, and soldier against the disease of addiction. He resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Marc's hobbies include writing, Mt. biking, hiking, and drinking large amounts of coffee. Marc is also the proud father, of one very outstanding young man.