By: Marc McMahon
I find myself a completely different person, just 54 days removed from addiction. It’s a transformation that only seems possible from someone coming out of addiction. Things are changing rapidly, maybe this is the “pink cloud effect”, but it feels permanent. It is happening in my subconscious, meaning that it’s happening without me having to think about it.
I haven’t even had to set a course of specific actions to follow in order to bring all this about, other than the formula I’ve been given to stay sober. I mean, I expected change, but is this all from the cessation of drugs/alcohol? I just know that it is there and that it’s creating a different me on a level that I never knew existed and that I can’t fully describe with words.
I have been finding myself this past week listening to the words that come out of my mouth. I hear myself and begin to wonder where the hell did the formation of these eloquent words and thoughts come from?
All of this leaves me wondering, who the heck this new guy is, and where does has he been all my life? I mean what happened to just being irresponsible and acting on impulse? Seriously, who hired this new guy and is this the way things are going to be from here on out? I do fear that this life could get boring, what will I do with the mundane nature of being grown up, and having a routine?
Ever since I walked into the office of my towns local recovery service agency, I have been blessed. I say blessed because had I not received the help I was asking for that early Monday morning in April I do not think I would be here right now. I would not have made it through that week. As a matter of fact, I would not have made it to that next morning. I would not be seeing this new version of myself and I would definitely not be writing this article right now. What a shame that would be, to have not been able to experience the world as the way I have the past 54 days.
I have a higher power, what I choose to call him is irrelevant to me, but this is a prime example of how he works in my life. Allow me to explain. You see I had made a couple attempts at getting into the detox center here in my town and tried going to the E.R. at the University Hospital a few days prior to this. Much to my surprise, I was met with a very unwelcoming response from both places. The reason for this is sad and shows me a clear example of why so few people looking for help with addiction get the aid they really need. I only had medicare insurance and not the coveted Oregon Health Plan that these facilities wanted! I was sent away from both places, angry, confused and defeated. How are we going to address this
epidemic if those looking for help are left to fill in the puzzle?
How could these facilities in good conscious let an addict who is asking for treatment walk out of there like that? Especially one who is saying if he doesn’t get immediate help he is fearful he will do something foolish. Ya foolish, like take his own life simply to stop the emotional pain that his horrible addiction is putting him through. I understand these places need to make a profit, but I wasn’t even given help finding somewhere else to go.
As I was leaving that detox center I told the counselor there (the one who informed me they couldn’t help me) that I’d try somewhere else. Then after attempt #2, I walked out of that parking lot of the Buckley House in tears because I knew what was next! I was done trying and if my higher power did not see fit to have one of these places help me then the hell with it, I was done. So all I needed to do now was get my hands on a bottle of somebodies fairly strong prescription medicine, walk far enough out into the woods where no one would find me and where It would be too far for me to walk back to get help after I had taken them. To make sure that this time, on suicide attempt number three, I would not fail. That even if I changed my mind after I swallowed a bottle of pills that they would drop me dead long before I could ever reach assistance.
This never happened, though, just another example of my higher power having a different plan for me. As I was scouring the homeless community in my area for anybody with a bottle of psych meds or pain pills to get my hands on, I overheard a conversation about a clinic nearby with a mental health crisis line. With barely any fight left in me, I decided to call. I talked to a man who told me about this treatment agency nearby and how to get there. He told me that if they wouldn’t help me to come see him and he gave me his address just in case I needed it. He must have heard the desperation in my voice and believed me wholeheartedly when I told him if they don’t help me I am done asking sir. I mean done for keeps. He replied, “son if they won’t help you, you come to my office and I will not let you leave until you get the help you need…if I have to take you home with me to keep you safe until you find some help then that’s what I will do.”
I was completely taken back, so I said o.k. and the next morning I walked into that recovery center. Even though they didn’t accept my insurance like everyone else in this town, they wanted to help!
I walked out of that office four hours later not only signed up to start intensive outpatient treatment 3 days a week starting that following day, but it was all being paid for by some obscure grant that they had available. They told me to worry no more. Just make sure I come to my groups and don’t use in between. I was able to make it through those next 24 hours, and I’ve been sober ever since!
That is my higher power at work at his finest. I mean a recovery grant? Never heard of one before. I was blessed, and I was given the opportunity to get to these groups and learn how to help myself and learn how to help each other. I was blessed to have the most amazing counselor I could have hoped for.
This young lady can not only be sympathetic and teach material in a way that few ever have. She doesn’t realize it I don’t think, but she has pretty much saved my life. Given me the best boundary setting skills anyone could ever have and give me a platform to share these experiences I write. She also encourages me to pursue my dream of helping others in a way similar to hers. Between my counselor, the guy on the other end of the crises helpline, and the online recovery community, I have experienced love in a way I didn’t know existed.
Who am I then? I am not sure if I really know that part yet, but let me tell you what I do know. I know who I want to become now. I know I want to help others just as others have helped me. I know that deep down inside I have always had a heart for helping people. I want to be a guy who people can count on, who has integrity, and who always does what he says he’s going to do to the best of his ability. I want to be a guy who much like the gentleman on the crisis line, realizes a sincere final cry for help, and is willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure that person does not die. At least not on my watch.
Simply put, I want to combine my personal experience with academic study, and become an ambassador for the truly unexplainable transformation that can happen in a single moment of love and care. So for those that read through this today, just remember, you could be the difference maker in someone’s life today…How incredible is that???
About The Author: Marc is a 50-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!”