Recovery Story of the Month: January 2022

Highlighting accounts of our Addiction Prevention, Treatment & Recovery clients and their journeys towards a strong and healthy future.

Below is a firsthand account of recovery and the pathway to a life untethered by the grips of addiction and substance abuse.  Through an individual's determination and commitment to recovery, strengthened by the support and guidance of FCA, a success story is shared in hopes of inspiring others on the road to a better place.

My Recovery Journey

It’s a story as old as time. An unexpected injury or illness which changes a life in a second. A mother of two that suffered multiple broken bones in a vicious car crash, a High School Quarterback that tore his ACL during a game, the CEO that slipped on a patch of ice in the parking lot of his office and is now suffering from nerve damage, or those of us that live with Chronic Illness.  Most of these people will be prescribed opioid painkillers. Some will require them only for the short term, some for longer periods depending on their condition.  Regardless of their age, race, gender, or financial status, MANY of them have and will become addicted to these painkillers. Addiction does not discriminate. 

I would like to first state that the purpose of this writing today is NOT to tell my “war story.”  My addiction story isn’t special, it isn’t unique.  There are hundreds of thousands of stories just like it.  The harsh truth is that the number one cause of death of males aged 18-49 is due to opioid overdose.  

Instead of just sharing my story, I’d like to speak directly to those suffering from addiction right now and hiding it from their friends, family, or significant others.  I want to tell you everything I know now that I wish I had known 4 years ago.  I want to help you find the courage to finally share your dark secret with those closest to you so you can start the path of recovery and a healthy way of life. I want to help save your life.  

I know how you currently spend your day.  Addiction is a full-time job.  Half of your day is spent using, the other half is spent on making plans to score more. You are constantly navigating through a web of lies constructed by you to conceal your lifestyle.  You lie to get people to lend you money.  You lie to your boss that you are going on a quick errand. You do these things because all that matters is counting down the minutes until you can finally pick up and relax for the rest of the night.  Or can you? You go against your values, ignore your instincts, and continue anyway. The risks don’t matter right now. You live hour to hour. Your life is full of drama and chaos that needs to be hidden.  All you know is no matter what, NO ONE CAN FIND OUT ABOUT MY ADDICTION. I get it. I’ve been there.

I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories from individuals about Suboxone and Methadone.  I am here to tell you that going through a medically supervised detox is not THAT bad at all.  It took me about 5 days to complete after which you need to start on a maintenance program.  Suboxone is the best thing out there (in my opinion - although there are other medications such as Sublocade and Vivitrol) that also help many people once medically detoxed.  Of course, it is no secret that detox is extremely uncomfortable. It sucks to be quite honest. One thing I can tell you for sure is that if I can do it, so can you. I believe in you. Do you believe in yourself?

Once I completed detox, I needed to find a program that was right for me.  Dr. Gelfand at FCA is one of the most brilliant Doctors I have ever seen. He is extremely knowledgeable and confident, alleviating all fears I previously had regarding Suboxone.  Dr. Gelfand doesn’t sugar coat ANYTHING, and that is EXACTLY what I (and maybe you too) need.  In addition to Dr. G, I meet with Nick (my counselor at FCA) once a week. He has been my rock through this whole journey and is one of the best men I’ve ever had the privilege of crossing paths with.  I can honestly say that there isn’t one issue that Nick has NOT been able to help me work through.  He is the consummate professional. Then there’s Denise, FCA’s ROCKSTAR Peer Advocate.  Denise was the first person I met from FCA (even though I met her on Day 1 in detox and I barely remember it).  From the time I ended detox to this very day, Denise has been a driving force in the successful navigation of my recovery.  She is extremely well versed and refreshingly passionate. A master of her craft, Denise is truly the living embodiment of honesty, humility, and empathy. I am forever in her debt. It is because of these amazing individuals that I am here today and alive.  According to my “I am Sober” app I am 1 year, 3 months, and 6 days clean.  I promise you that it is not as hard as you think it is.  

The first step is the hardest.  I know from firsthand experience.  Admitting to yourself that you are an addict is one thing, but admitting it to everyone around you is another.  I know the shame and embarrassment you are experiencing.  It is a heavy burden for sure. The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  There is a whole new life out there waiting for you full of health and happiness. People often ask me what the best part about being in recovery is. I’ll admit that for a while I had difficulty answering that question.  Now, over a year clean, I always say that the best part about being clean is finally getting your time back.  All that time spent worrying about and consuming drugs is replaced with the freedom to feel in control of how you spend your time. I can now spend my time doing the things I love with the people I love.  Time is precious and you can’t get it back. I may not be able to take back the things I did in the past, but I can focus my future on becoming the best version of myself.

I’d like to end by saying that if you are struggling out there and unsure or afraid of what to do next, call FCA Hicksville.  If you are uncomfortable talking with them, ask them to get in contact with me and I will reach out to you.  I’d be more than happy to speak with you. Addict to addict, human to human. I love you all.