Ben | Longterm Recovery Is Possible
My story is a very common one. Addiction runs on both sides of my family. My parents’ divorce at twelve years old was hard on me. I was on Ritalin for many years for ADHD. With so much energy, I was always an athlete, always active. I wanted to be the cool kid and wanted kids to like me. In middle school I started smoking cigarettes and then pot in the 9th grade. By my senior year in high school I started going to raves with my friends and experimenting with everything and anything.
As an adult I became a workout health nut. For many years I would drink beers on Thursday and Friday evenings, occasionally indulging in a hard night of a cocaine and beer combo. I was in amazing shape, playing flag football two to three times a week, as if I was going somewhere with the sport – I loved it.
Everything changed when I collided with a couple guys, broke two ribs, and dislocated cartilage. I went right to the ER. The doctor prescribed sixty 512’s (acetaminophen/oxycodone) with refills. I remember it to this day because I left that ER feeling like a million bucks.
Most folks feel drowsy and lethargic on pain pills but not me, I had energy, felt so good, and had this awesome buzz. When I got home, I mowed the lawn, did all my laundry, dishes, and cleaned my dad’s house!!
Before I knew it the sixty tablets were gone so I needed to wait a couple days for the refill. Those couple days stunk but when I got the refill I was back on track. This was followed by some of my best years selling because I was stoned all day on the phone and could sit in a chair and bust my tail. Unfortunately, I needed more and more, it got worse and worse. Abuse got deeper and deeper.
Eventually, I was spending $1,200-$1,500 a week and was just a complete mess – out of control.
In 2011 I finally had enough and was crying while I drove to Farnum in Manchester, which I heard about through opiate friends. I considered driving head on into another car on 101 but thought about who I might hit and the damage I would do to them and their family. Otherwise, I would have easily killed myself that morning.
Farnum SAVED MY LIFE!!! At least that’s what I assumed.
That first day wasn’t easy, I balled my eyes out while Dr Kirby asked me questions. Then he gave me my meds and I thought this everlasting quest to destroy myself was over…but it wasn’t.
I soon found myself playing the game of getting banged up and then using Suboxone in between days off of trying to sober up, all while going to AA meetings. This lasted for a year and a half until I was caught in 2012 when Kevin and Dr. Lavallee sat me down for a heart-to-heart. I denied everything over and over but the test didn’t lie. I had to make a change or be terminated from the program. Not only did this scare the complete crap out of me but I was at the breaking point. The party cannot go on. It has to end. Changing my life was in my hands so that day I ended it.
I’ve been sober for almost 8 years now and feel amazing. I’m still on a daily dosage of Suboxone through Farnum’s MAT program and attending Farnum’s outpatient group meetings. I deleted all my contacts from my phone. I told anyone who contacted me to buzz off. I avoid any friends involved with opioids unless they need help. We have two daughters, a house, and a completely different lifestyle. I can be around drinkers, my wife has wine or beer now and again, but nothing bothers me or makes me miss anything.
The program works and works amazingly. It’s so simple and makes sense but you still need to do the work which took me a couple years to figure out. For EVERYONE who is addicted like me, you will need to fight substance abuse for the rest of your life to stay sober. I know that one slip can put me back to where I was in days, maybe even hours, or DEAD. Farnum has saved my life and I continue to contribute as much as possible and go to my meetings. I went to Al-Anon with my Mom as a kid, and Alateen, then AA meetings. While my Mom and Step Dad are big into AA it doesn’t work for me. The Farnum meetings help tremendously and everyone who runs them does an amazing job at keeping me on track, I walk away with something new, positive and helpful. Farnum family has evolved over the years I want to thank Dr. Lavallee and his amazing staff. His background, understanding, and education as well as his passion to do the right thing greatly contributes to Farnum’s success.
While my story is probably common, my resolve isn’t. I work at this daily and really put in the effort. Like everyone else my mind races and goes places I can’t control; it’s about what you hold on to and the added stress you bring into your life by thinking too far ahead and spending too much time in the past. My advice is to let go, enjoy each moment because they fly by as we get older. Be like a kid in the here and now. Enjoy the air, wind, trees, the day, the season, feelings, smells, each and every minute, and take it all in. Don’t take the here and now for granted. Don’t allow the useless feelings and “things” to ruin your day. Make life work for you and make it start today – right now!
Thank you, Farnum, for all you have done for me and my family.
Chris | A Letter of Hope
Never, I mean never stop believing… You, I, Us, we ARE better than what we are, you never have to go back. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been clean for 7 days or 7 years. You are worth it. You are the creator of your own thoughts, your future is and will be bright, just make a choice, just decide to be great. You are great, I believe in you, millions in the world believe in you. Life is beautiful, no matter the ups and downs we experience, life is worth it, you’re worth it, remember a thought is just a thought. I’m writing this for you just as much as for myself. Courage, strength, wisdom, awareness, love, compassion, all these things are inside you. It’s time, open your hearts, open your eyes, believe. Don’t let fears consume you, they are illusions self-created, you’re better than that. Pain is temporary, allow yourself to move past it, you’ve lived it already, feel it, embrace it, put it aside, and follow your dreams. Just believe, believe in yourselves, you’re worth more. Don’t be afraid to fail we all fail, but use it. Use it as the fire that you have inside you to overcome it all. Why can’t you be the best at whatever it is you want to do or be, why? Pick yourselves up, like get up, stay up, and don’t ever give up. It’s time to show everyone just how great we are. Never stop believing. I CAN, I WILL, I MUST! Love you all!
I drank, I drank some more, I got drunk and blacked out, over and over, again and again. I couldn’t stop the insanity, quitting everyday but doing it all over again. I was hopeless and full of guilt, shame, and remorse. When I came to Webster Place, I was scared and full of fear. I arrived a broken woman. Webster Place taught me that there was a solution to my insanity. I began my journey in recovery. Despite myself I slowly began to learn about me and my allergy to alcohol. I was safe and I belonged. That was enough in the beginning. I listened, I shared, and I grew. I made friends who understood me even when I didn’t understand myself. Webster Place gave me a good, strong foundation to work upon. When the time came for me to leave I was once again filled with fear. How would I continue this journey on the outside? I did what I was told…go to meetings, get a sponsor, join a group, work on my conscious contact with my Higher Power, and give back what has been so freely given. Sobriety has been and continues to be amazing. It’s not easy but it truly is simple. Work my program, do Gods will, change my thinking from negative to positive, love and be kind. I don’t maintain this all the time, I am not perfect, but when life gets unmanageable I recognize I am not doing my program. I get back to doing Gods will not mine. I have peace and serenity, I am happy, joyous, and free. I wouldn’t trade my worst day of sobriety for my best day drunk. I am grateful for Webster Place starting me on this journey. I am grateful for my Higher Power and a simple program that keeps me sober, one day at a time.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the donors, Farnum staff, and the Board of Directors for allowing me this second chance at life. Without your financial assistance, they would have just locked me up. Instead, I have the chance to find a way to combat my addiction and learn why I have these thoughts and impulses to use drugs, now I am gaining the knowledge to fight back and begin my life anew. I would like to thank Chris, Danielle, and Tony for showing me that I have all the mental tools I need inside me to live a sober life.
I came to Webster Place in February of 2010. I was immediately greeted by friendly staff and residents. I found people I could connect with and relate on a level I hadn’t really experienced before. It all served to better myself and my recovery. I felt at home at Webster Place and still do when I go back to visit. The staff are all in recovery with multiple years of sobriety. Whenever I was having problems and went to one of them, they knew exactly what I was talking about. Webster Place was the fourth and, by far, the best recovery center I’d ever been too. Before that, I struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction for a long time and figured myself to be completely hopeless. After spending three months as a resident and another six months in the senior advocate program, I was able to understand my addiction and learn how to recover from it. Since then, I’ve been sober for two and a half years and live a full and happy life. I still keep in touch with Webster Place and the residents so that I might be able to pass on this gift that was given to me.
As I write this letter, I have been sober for more than two years. I am a free and happy man. I no longer suffer from the obsessive thoughts and behaviors of active addiction. My life is more wonderful than I ever could have imagined and it all began with a small amount of willingness when I walked through the doors at Webster Place.
Webster Place taught me an important attribute in life; how to become the observer of my addiction. With this tool, I was set free from the confines of my addiction by a very simple trait; honesty. Honesty is the foundation of accountability and accountability is what has helped me continue on my path of sobriety. The staff are sensitive to the thought processes during early recovery and cater to that without minimizing what you are feeling. You learn that everything is important. Every tear, every gut-wrenching laugh and prior regret are all important in early recovery. All the little cliches like, “Stay in the day” and “One day at a time” seem trite, but become a mantra of sorts. Recovery has been like chasing a moving train car down a track. If I run too fast, I’ll likely exhaust myself and give up. But if I keep a steady pace and ask for help when I am tired, I’ll stay on that track. Webster Place helped me ask for help and because of that I am celebrating 7 months of sobriety today. Without my peers and the staff at Webster Place I would still exist in the darkness that my life had become. There is life outside of addiction and we are all worthy of living it.
Sober was the last thing on earth I wanted to be nor thought I would be. I loved the lifestyle and lived to use. It came to a point though where it was controlling my life each and every day. After having a love of alcohol for years and drinking each and every day like it was my last I tried opiates and my life change tenfold for the worst. I became that liar, cheater, thief that I thought I would never be. I was brought up in a great family and my value was set at that point. Once I entered the hell of opiates they went out the window. Like every junkies story, I was out every day seeking the next high. I found that no matter what, I went to any length to get it. It wasn’t until 2003 that people started approaching me and telling me I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. I thought I was fine but decided to start my Detox and Rehab Binge. I entered detox after detox- rehab after rehab from New Hampshire down to Florida and nothing worked nor did I want it to work. I never listened so every time I got out I went back to the same crowd same old thing over and over again and expected a different result. After Years of utter hell on earth using every day between rehab and detox binges, It was getting bad. I was homeless, jobless, heartless and I didn’t care about anything or anyone but my habit.
I went to Webster Place for the first time in the summer of 2008 and I actually listened. it was a different approach that I have seen before and I found it interesting. They didn’t force feed you like other rehabs. It was a subtle yet prominent approach that works. I got out around August and didn’t use the day I got out! I thought it was the best thing as I actually went to AA meeting and did 90 in 90 like suggested and also got a sponsor. Around 5 months I lost a job and received a large paycheck in my hand and had a quick thought to get high and I did. The next year or so was the worst year of my life. I couldn’t stop I had a head full of AA and a belly full of booze as they say. Every day got worse and worse. I hid it for awhile but it got to that point again where I didn’t care. I got arrested a couple times and sent to jail for a long weekend action stay and detoxed in the jail cell and again it topped one of my worst experiences on this earth.
I had two choices when I got out of Jail one go get suboxone which I knew at the time would just delay the inevitable of using again. I’m glad I choose option two. A choice to call the Director at Webster Place that truly saved my life. He asked me if I was done and for the first time, I truly could say yes. I have had enough I couldn’t do this anymore. He took me back into Webster place for a second go around and I jumped right in head first. Took all suggestions I could and did the drill. This time I stayed there 72 days and left. The 73rd day I went to a meeting and have not stopped going to meetings ever since. I went to a meeting a day for two years. I got involved doing service work making coffee, secretary, treasurer, bookie and everything else under the sun and again that’s what I needed to do.
In my three plus years of sobriety, I have gotten married. I have opened a Successful Business in the Area. I help other alcoholic/addicts that need help. I pray today, I go to church, I love my Family, I have a sponsor. I have a 4-year-old step son and he has a baby brother or sister on the way in Feb 13′. Most important I STILL go to meetings as much as I can. AA and the 12 steps is the foundation of my recovery!
All those I’s you see above I could not have gotten done without the Fellowship and the “WE” of the program
I am more and more grateful every day. YOU don’t have to do it alone. If this rock bottom addict/alcoholic can do it then you can too!