addiction & recovery
I used to live in the moment, and that moment was usually an all-consuming desire not to just escape, but to annihilate -- to numb everything inside of me. I was suicidal and wanted nothing more than oblivion. I can remember the morning I walked out of that hospital like it was yesterday, but in fact, it was 7,328 days ago, and I've been clean and sober ever since.
When I reached the bottom with my own addiction to pot and prescription drugs almost 30 years ago, I too realized that I had to change my life or I would die. I knew that I didn't really want to die, but that I couldn't go on living the way I was at that point. I had grown quite tired of being a caterpillar, though I had no idea how to become a butterfly.
Tania DaSilva of Thrive Therapy @thrive.therapy had the pleasure of sitting down with Benn Young @bennyoungbennyoung in the
In my practice, I have seen the terrible impact addiction can have on people of all backgrounds. It destroys jobs, families and personal health, often in the span of just a few months. This level of complexity and quick-moving consequence is something you don't often see in many other conditions, which makes finding solutions that much harder. Addressing addiction requires approaching treatment in a much more integrated fashion across different parts of the health care system and groups of providers.
I may not be popular for saying this, but guess what -- people relapse; that's a reality on the path to recovery. And if anything, over the years, I've discovered that the more people who know I'm in recovery, the more support I'm exposed to when I might be struggling and prone for a relapse.
I'm coming up to my 19th anniversary of becoming clean and sober, and this time of the year for me is typically a moment of reflection. I'm still not sure how I went from standing alone on a subway platform with the intention of taking my life 20 years ago, to standing in front of an audience of 200 people looking to me for guidance and hope.
If anyone you care about is struggling, it's so important to let them know you care and are there for them. These conversations aren't easy, but if you need to determine if you or a loved one has an alcohol addiction, the 20-questions assessment from Johns Hopkins University is a strong indication of a drinking problem.
It has taken me almost my entire lifetime to realize that what I thought was the "worst of me", was in fact the "best of me". And all those years I spent escaping to the margins of society have been a beautiful blessing in disguise.
If, by some miracle, she makes it to age eighteen still sound of mind, it's time to bask in her glory! Sure, throw the big graduation party, but make sure it's all about you, baby!
For anyone who truly feels stuck, who lacks motivation, or who honestly doesn't see a way out, here's an adage to take to heart: "The anticipation of change is worse than actually undergoing change." I should know. I am the poster child for turning around a ravaged life.