My Detox Limbo

We need to check your vitals.
The IV fell out.
Lay your arm flat.

The monitor has a screaming fit
because the nodes unstick
from the boozy sweat
leaking out your pores.

You are confined by tangled wires
to a standard Stryker bed,
while machines you can’t identify
sing to each other
in beeps and blips.

You raise the mattress
lower it
raise it
lower it

Flop side to side
and onto your back.
Is there a magic position
that will bring oblivion?

Stare at the TV so long
your eyes burn.
CNN or TV Land?

There is a man behind the curtain
who bellows and moans
for water and painkillers.

Valium does nothing
to stop your legs from kicking.

Your skin wants to unglue itself
from the fool who brought it here.

You mark the time by each meal
and devour your food in two minutes
to remove the taste from your mouth
and the tray from your lap.

I am your nurse this evening.
Can you tell me your name?
Can you tell me where you are?
Can you tell me what day it is?

Please hold out your hands.

If this lasts an eternity,
Satan himself could not have designed
a better Hell.

You swore you wouldn’t be here again
and here you are again.

Please, if you need me to believe
in God,
discharge me right now.

The Steps Of Recovery Saved My Life And Showed Me How To Live

My name is Katie and I’m an alcoholic. My sobriety date is September 21st, 2015, so as of today I’m 937 days sober (a little over two and a half years). But who’s counting, right? I NEVER thought I’d grow up to be an alcoholic. I never WANTED to be an alcoholic. But, as it turns out, for whatever reason, this struggle was meant to be part of my journey. And I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can be grateful for it.

I grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota to the most amazing family I could ever dream of. Trust me, I didn’t think this all along, but I know now how lucky I am. I have one sister and two loving parents and my first memories were happy ones. I remember spending lots of time with family, enjoying elementary school and being happy-go-lucky, although all these memories are tainted with a tinge of constant anxiety.

What I remember most about my childhood, however, was my transition to middle school, when I left the small Catholic school and friends that I knew in Saint Paul to attend a Junior High and then High School in Saint Louis Park where my dad worked. It is at this time in my life that I vividly remember realizing that I was DIFFERENT. Not just because I was from Saint Paul while most students were from the suburbs and an entirely different socio-economic status, but different INTERNALLY. I became anxious and fearful. I didn’t know what the other kids were talking about in casual conversations: TV shows, movies, malls, brands of clothes, types of clothes, fashion, make-up, etc… and I constantly felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I just didn’t fit in. And I internalized it. Deeply.

I remember starting to try to fit in and that’s kind of when things get blurry. I lost whatever sense of self I had had, and started trying to be more like the people around me. Or what I thought they wanted ME to be. My life continued like that for years. I excelled in school and even had some successes in sports, but I was constantly switching friends, changing the way I looked, acted, dressed, etc… to attempt to fit in. All the while my anxiety increased and my sense of self-worth was slim to none. My approval of myself was solely based on the opinions of others.

When I finally discovered alcohol in 10th or 11th grade (I think), I couldn’t believe the magical effect that it had on me. My anxiety disappeared. My confidence grew. I didn’t worry about what I said, how I said it or who I said it too. And the people around me were more open. Carefully closed groups of friends that couldn’t be entered without “popular” ticket became more like trains of dancing people that anyone could get on and off whenever they pleased. I felt like I had finally figured it out. I had arrived.

I continued experimenting with alcohol whenever I could throughout high school. I didn’t think I drank that much, but my parents and some close friends seemed to think otherwise. Even after just a few years of drinking “casually” – as I thought – I had already developed a reputation of the girl without a cut-off switch. In hindsight, I realized that I had blacked out the first time a drank and many times after, and even when I THOUGHT I had control of my drinking, I never really did.

As you may guess, when I went off to college for the first time my drinking spiraled out of control. I ACTUALLY remember being PROUD that I drank the first seven days straight of my college experience. (After becoming a full-blown alcoholic a few years later and looking back on that week, I realized 7 days was NOTHING.) My first year of college was kind of like an extended version of high school but without parental supervision. I went to classes, did my homework, went to parties and DRANK. There were many nights (even days) of this experience that I don’t remember at all.

In the winter of my freshman year of college, I attempted suicide. I think it was more of a cry for help than anything else, but I was drinking and I was depressed and I ended up being hospitalized, and forced to change colleges, all the while causing extensive and indescribable pain to my family members and friends. I’m not proud of this act of despair and I can’t make much more sense of it at this point that you can, so I’m going to leave it at that, aside from mentioning that I also went through outpatient treatment at this time, because my parents suspected that my drinking was linked to my poor mental health. Imagine that! Drinking was NOT my problem.

Fast forward through college; my drinking continued to escalate and I was drinking multiple times a week, every week. Every time I drank, I got drunk. Most times I drank, I blacked out. Drinking continued to be my outlet; my stress-relief; my crutch; the thing that I turned to when I didn’t know where else to turn. I could go on and on about incidents throughout my college career in which my drinking proved itself problematic, but I don’t have time for that tonight. What’s important to note is that none of it was enough. None of the scraps that I got myself into (including a professor questioning my drinking habits; not remembering entire classes because I was in a blackout; a concerned supervisor at an internship asking me why I smelt like alcohol, etc…) were enough to make me quit drinking. At this point, I’m pretty sure I knew I was drinking too much, but I chalked it up to being in college and still needing to work on learning how to control my drinking better.

As you might guess, my drinking continued as I entered the professional world after college and this is where I started getting more concerned. About my well-being (I had gained a LOT of weight); my mental health (I was anxious, depressed and suicidal); and my drinking (I was a daily drinker at this point). I distinctly remember applying to Grad School so I would have one night per week at class where I was forced NOT to drink. Because that’s why most people start grad school, right? Anyway, I went to grad school, worked in a school as an assistant and drank daily for 5 years. Then I got my teaching license and continued to drink every day as a teacher. My job was HARD and I justified my drinking by how hard I worked and how tough my job was. If YOU had my job, YOU would drink TOO.

In hindsight, I started my slow, painful journey of “my last days of drinking” about my second year of teaching. I had started to become physically dependent on alcohol and it wasn’t enough just to drink after work until I passed out. I was getting the shakes in the mornings and throughout the day and was becoming sick to my stomach almost daily. I’d wake up in the middle of the night in sweats with my heart pounding. The only thing that could cure these symptoms was alcohol. Alcohol had become not only my psychological crutch; but a physical necessity. I started fearing going to work; I feared going out in public ANYWHERE; I needed a drink to feel anywhere near normal. I knew I was addicted at this point and I knew I was going through withdrawal but I didn’t know how to stop it. I couldn’t just stop drinking because I thought for sure I’d die; the anxiety and the physical withdrawal symptoms were unbearable. I also knew that if I kept drinking the way I was I would die anyway. I had hit my bottom; I wanted to die.

I continued living like that, drinking like that, with that knowledge for almost a year. And then one night, I reached out for help. I called my uncle (a recovering alcoholic himself) and told him I needed help. I told him I wanted to stop drinking but I couldn’t. He picked me up at 3:00 in the morning and drove me to the hospital. From there, my recovery journey began.

My journey of recovery has been, thus far, based upon the twelve steps of recovery. Not everyone’s journey will look the same. But for me, I think I started the first step the night I reached out for help. I admitted that I was powerless over alcohol and I certainly understood that my life had become unmanageable. Later, when working with a sponsor, I discovered and came to terms with many OTHER things in life that I am powerless over. Admitting that I was powerless and ACCEPTING that fact, was actually incredibly comforting to me and it has helped me time and time again to come back to this step and remind myself of my powerlessness in this life in general.

Steps two and three weren’t quite so simple for me, but they did fall into place pretty quickly after I recognized how powerless I was. I immediately felt like I needed something or someone to turn to; to release my worries onto; to put my trust in; to help guide me. Without alcohol, and with the knowledge that I could no longer rely solely on myself, I naturally looked for another source of comfort or reliance. I’ve always had a type of faith; mainly the kind where I reached out to God for help when I got myself into trouble. But this was different. After reading about steps two and three in the Big Book and the 12 & 12, talking with a sponsor and other people at meetings, I felt confident that there was indeed a power greater than myself (I call that power God) and that my choice at that point was to turn my will over to the care of that Higher Power. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant (and I still don’t totally understand), but it felt right and saying the third step prayer meant something to me and I just kept saying it over and over until it stuck. I still say the third step prayer almost every day; and I turn to that prayer and my higher power when I feel uncertain about anything.

I continued working the steps with my sponsor and including making an inventory and sharing it with God and my sponsor. I was definitely nervous about this and procrastinated on this step longer than I probably should have; because, like most of us, I had things that I had done and said that I was very ashamed of and hadn’t told ANYONE. But, just like people before me had told me, writing these things down and sharing them with another person was an extremely “freeing” experience. My sponsor was understanding, non-judgemental and comforting. I had finally shared my deepest secrets and darkest regrets tot another human being and NOTHING HAPPENED. She didn’t scold me; she didn’t jump up in horror; she didn’t think of me differently. She JUST LISTENED. This was incredibly powerful experience for me.

I went on to make a list of the people that I had harmed and made my amends to those people. Not right away by any means. I actually just made my last amend (and biggest) to my parents just a few months ago. My sponsor had told me to wait for a time that felt right – and I’d heard from many people that they had tried to make amends TOO early and ended up hurting the people they were trying to right the wrongs with – so I took my time with this step. Making my amends was hard, but it really helped me to deepen my relationships with the people in my life that I love and to continue my journey to “clean up my side of the street;” start with a clean slate; and work towards forgiving and loving myself again.

Steps ten, eleven, and twelve – although last – are some of the most important steps of my recovery today. Mainly because I believe that I practice them on a daily basis by constantly working on improving myself, my relationship with my higher power, and my relationships with people in recovery. I work to take personal inventory every day; if I don’t catch my mistakes right away, I reflect at night before bed about the events of the day and come up with a plan to admit my wrongs the next day. I don’t do this perfectly, and to be completely honest I don’t even do it every day. But I’m working on it, and I’m getting better at admitting my mistakes and that’s the important thing.

I also work on step eleven every day. I pray every morning and night and multiple times throughout the day. Like I mentioned before, I like the third step prayer and I pray it often when I’m uncertain, don’t know what to do; or am confused. I also love the serenity prayer. I pray that prayer every morning as I walk in to work; and many times throughout the day when I get angry or frustrated. Someone said to me in a meeting the other day that the only prayer we need to say is this: “God, show me what you want me to do and give me the strength to do it.” And I found that really powerful. That’s exactly what step eleven tells us to do. To pray for the knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry that out.

Finally, on to step twelve. This step is incredibly important to my recovery: Our primary purpose is to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs. This leads me to talk about service. Service to others is a huge part of my recovery. I try to go at least once a month to a treatment center or a detox to carry the message. And these experiences are always just as powerful for me as they are for the people receiving the message. I also have sponsees. Sponsoring other women has helped me to realize that I can have a purpose; I can help others; my suffering has meaning because I can use it to help others recover. To this day, when I’m feeling down, or having a bad day; or mad about something or whatever; I reach out to someone else. I’ve heard so many people share this and it’s totally true; if we are able to get outside of ourselves and reach out to help others, we naturally help ourselves as well. If I had to pick one thing that has impacted my recovery in the most powerful way, I’d say service to others. The ability to share my story and impact the life of another struggling human being is one of the most beautiful things I’ve been a part of: in my recovery journey and in life in general.

I recently read a book called “Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank to Forget,” and I would like to end with a quote from that: “Getting sober wasn’t some giant leap into the sunlight. It was a series of small steps in the same direction. You say “I’ll do this today,” and then you say the same thing the next day, and you keep going, one foot in front of the other, until you make it out of the woods.” And that’s truly how sobriety worked – and continues – to work for me. One day at a time. One step at a time.

After Jail, I Gave Recovery Another Try. And Today, I’m 18 Months Sober.

Four and a half years ago after ending up in jail for the last time I decided to give recovery another try. After spending eleven years stuck in a cycle of sex trafficking, prostitution, addiction, and homelessness I had finally felt like my life was at rock bottom. I was completely hopeless and empty. They say the addictions only lead to a few certain things, jails, institutions and death. Well I had certainly made it there, with two prison terms, numerous overdoses, many rehab programs and many more jail terms.

The last treatment program I went into saved my life. They taught me how to deal with the root issue of my addiction which was my childhood trauma, sexual abuse. After I was able to release that pain and forgive my offenders, I realized I didn’t need to cover my feelings with drugs.

Most of all I realized that God had a purpose and a plan for my life. He had been pursuing me for those entire 11 years. He pulled me out of the pit and made me promises. Those promises have been coming true and will continue to as long as I continue to include Him in all of my plans.

Today I have 4 1/2 years clean because after losing everything I found out that I have everything to gain. I keep what I have and stay clean every day by helping others. Ever since I got clean I developed a deep passion to help others. This I believe is the recovering addicts purpose in life. To share our stories of recovery in order to give others that extra ounce of hope they need to get through their day.

I share my story with those willing to listen, but most of all I listen more than I share. I’m working on my degree so that I’m more capable of helping people. I get to work alongside of recovering addicts everyday and share my recovery with them. I couldn’t think of a more perfect job. I’m so excited to see where this recovery journey leads me next!

After My Addiction, I Found Purpose In Recovery Helping Women Inmates Re-Enter Society With Opportunity

Though often asked, I cannot define the moment my desire for sobriety trumped that of the reckless path I had travelled the two decades prior. There was no crisis, tragedy, health fright, family incident, or legal issue. The day was just the day. I simply made a choice and a promise to me, for me.

A Texas native, following graduation from Richardson High School, I hooked ‘em straight to the University of Texas, Austin. Exiting Longhorn country with a sheepskin in Education, the next 15 years were spent teaching, leading, and molding the lives of young people. It became not only my vocation, but largely my only identity. Seeking a career change, I entered the residential real estate arena. Working independently, and with very little accountability, the seeds of my unhealthy habits took even deeper root until ‘the day’ my promise to myself became my fulltime occupation.

At 39, a brief in-patient treatment program left me with a better understanding of my disease, but few tools to make any permanent transformation. Relapse, even multiples, is more common than not in the newly-sober, and I did my part to keep those statistics in play. Yet—by the Grace of God—August 25, 2007, I made the bold choice to this time, GET IT & KEEP IT. Less than a year later, bold choice number two … met with trepidation by my care team and family due to my sober-newbie status. The teacher became the student as I returned to college in a quest to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC).

Following a 2+ year internship toward full-fledged LCDC licensure, I opted to become an employee for the provider with whom I’d served as intern. During my employ, I was required to attend and present, on behalf of our clients, within the Collin County Drug Court Program … an assignment that would change the course of my practice.

Understand, before that experience, my intention was to counsel ‘good addicts’ like myself; nice people who desired sobriety, but surely free of any pesky legal or other complicating issues often associated with ‘bad addicts’. My plan, a simple 9-to-5 weekday practice, nestled in a cozy office near home, shopping & good restaurants. God, however, diverted my plan for His, moving my feet down a different avenue altogether.

Desirous of offering a more whole-life-encompassing treatment—reaching further toward counseling, supporting and improving the lives of Collin County residents actively pursuing a life free from addiction—and seeking the flexibility to do so, led to another bold choice … GRACEtoCHANGE. Within our outpatient treatment facility in McKinney, Texas, we provide sobriety-targeted individual, family, and group counseling. Through GRACEtoCHANGE, expanding my work within the Collin county judicial system, I began teaching Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) to women inmates. During the process of getting to know them and following their progress, time and again I witnessed the same post-release-reality. She leaves with nothing in her pocket but a felony conviction. No money. No employment prospects. No options for safe housing. No treatment. No counseling. Little to no hope or chance for long-term success on the other side of incarceration. Thus, she returns to her former life; full of the same people, places and things that muddied her path originally. Hence, another bold choice, GRACEtoGROW, a non-profit corporation established to support the underserved community of those desiring recovery, yet limited in their options to meet the basic needs of daily life.

GRACEtoGROW lends a hand-up, providing therapeutic, group support, and other assistance necessary for successful, productive reintegration into our community. GTG/GTC offers scholarships for treatment, counseling, personal and financial assistance for qualified recipients to help underwrite our clients’ healthy new lifestyle. As it is most assuredly utilized and appreciated, the great tragedy remained with the inability to secure safe, affordable housing. In this region, as most others, a person with a felony conviction will most likely be denied the option of leasing an apartment. Should she also have a charge of violence, or an open Child Protective Services case, our only county homeless shelter is also off-limits.

Again, with the bold choice … TINY HOUSE BIG RECOVERY. THBR is a master-planned, sober-living tiny house development soon under construction in our county. With a 23-acre land parcel donated by a local family, a site planning professional, and a host of other generous, like-spirited benefactors and volunteers, Tiny House Big Recovery will be the first community of its kind in the area.

THBR is a three-phase, (Phase I/Quad; Phase II/Double; Phase III/Single), progressive program for women as they are released from county incarceration. In addition to conforming & contributing successfully to the community, meticulously vetted residents will be required to remain clean & sober, continue treatment, procure employment, while supporting and mentoring fellow residents.

Grace Changes Everything. We believe if You Change a Life, You Change your Community! www.gracetochange.com

I’m A Mom, A Daughter, And A Friend Again. I’m Also A Woman Living In Recovery.

Hi Y’all I’m Kelly Procter and I’m a person in long term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

By the grace of God my sobriety date is 4/6/15!

Born and raised in Austin,TX along with a large circle of people who loved and cared about me. I was always involved in extracurricular activities. Always wanting to have more and do more, trying to fill a space I felt blank in my life. As I grew older I experimented with alcohol and drugs which lead to more people, places, and things into my life which made me feel more a part of something but little did I know that something about just me being active in my addiction. It was fun at first thinking I was this living the ideal role of a human being, working two jobs to support any and all of my habits while looking like I was in control. Which I was or thought I was but it didn’t last for long it just lead into a huge delusion that everyone could see but myself.

One day I tried to prove that heroin wasn’t addictive leading me to become dope sick which lead me to never wanting to feel sick again and to not stop using but to never run out..Spoiler alert I always ran out of dope there is no way not too and no such thing as using wisely, but I tried. Heroin become my everything, not just because I was destroyed every relationship I had leaving me just with just the small circle of my using buddies.Imagine being on a vacation and not even being present for it, well that was my life.I was on probation at the time from a DWI when I first went to rehab but was so embarrassed and ashamed to tell my PO or my job at the time so I went with this I’m going on a medical testing trip to find a cure for Hep C thing. Feeling like I was at one of my lowest times of my life in rehab I quickly found out rehab wasn’t bad at all and it’s very helpful and that I wouldn’t get in trouble with the courts for taking myself to rehab for help. They looked at it as a good thing and were happy I was there.

I was introduced to the big book but I didn’t trust too many people so I thought it would be best if instead of finding a sponsor I just sponsored myself. Another spoiler alert, It doesn’t work, I learned that I’m the last person I used with and not all of my ideas are the best and its best to talk to someone else and to put pen to paper.My sobriety lasted a few months until I was back into the same pattern of hopeless and numbness this time pregnant and trying to hide it and pretend that I wasn’t to everyone but my family and their friends. As soon as I had my daughter I had CPS in my life, which was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was offered a choice to keep using and lose my newborn child or to turn into a life of recovery and do all that is suggested for my child and I.

I got sober a few days after having her and went into a 90 rehab with my newborn daughter at my side . I was truly tired of being sick and tired and was so miserable I was finally willing to do this for my own self. I wanted to be present in my life again, to be a mom, a daughter, a friend again. I cut off all ends with negative people and have never looked back. I was finally focusing on myself and learning things about myself I didn’t even know. I didn’t want to miss out on anything, but the one thing that surprised me the most was having fun in recovery, I mean who would of known!

Today I am grateful for all my struggles that lead me to where I’m at today. I get to inspire others and continue to grow and push my recovery forward and be part of a movement. All the shame and guilt from my past I get to wear as an armor to help others be strong and love themselves until they can. I never pictured to be where I’m at today as a strong beautiful mom in recovery, and I wouldn’t change it for the world! There is so much more to come, ups downs, you name it but today I’m able to face any situation that comes my way and I’m surrounded by my tribe along with spiritual tools I get to use to move forward with. I’ve done a lot of bad and good in my life but I get to be an example. If I can do it, you can do it, please don’t be afraid to reach out. Recovery is possible and you’re worth it. Thank you for my Recovery and allowing me to spread the message.

I Lost My Son To An Accidental Heroin Overdose. Today, I Am His Voice.

Hello, this is my story about my son Torin who was a Heroin addict, I say was not because he is a success story but because he lost his battle with Heroin.

Torin was the typical Southern California kid. Born and raised in Orange County, to middle class parents. Torin started sports when he was 5 and continued organized sports until he was 14. Torin loved to snowboard, skateboard, MotorSports, water sports, surfing, fishing, sky diving, he tried everything.

The beginning of his addiction started with injuries due to his extreme sports enthusiasm. Broken arm 2 times, lacerated ankle which required 27 stitches, lacerated chin twice, broken shoulder requiring surgery and all the prescription drugs that came with it. Torin’s story is not much different than any other kid who played sports and had injuries.

Like most heroin addicts, it all started with the over prescribing of the opiates and then when the prescription is finished, they’re already hooked by then requiring the addict to go on the street and purchase the pills. And then the pills become too expensive so they turn to heroin.

I am my sons voice now. I will never give up the fight against doctors and their over prescribing turning our children into heroin addicts. I will always fight the fight against heroin – because I am my sons voice and he deserves to be heard.

The Disease Of Addiction Hit Me Young And Hard

The disease of addiction hit me young and hard. I was a painfully shy, insecure 13 year old in the 1970’s, when my parents sent me to live in NYC to go to a private school. At 14, I was introduced to marijuana, at 15, LSD and at 17 a man injected me with heroin and I became it’s slave for almost a year. I crashed and burned and ended up in a psych ward/rehab by 18.

I thought I was crazy, defective and worthless. I didn’t know my main problem was drugs and alcohol.Back in the 70’s there were not a lot of private school, white , female teenagers involved with heroin and my shame was immeasurable. I never did heroin again but I spent the next 8 years struggling with alcohol and every other drug . I like to call myself a “garbage head.”

From age 24 to 26 I woke up every morning swearing I would not drink or drug that day, but by 5:00 I would break that promise to myself. I was desperate and scared. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t.I have never known such fear and the only thing that relieved the fear was drugs and alcohol.

By the grace of God, I walked into an AA meeting at age 26 and knew I was where I belonged. I still didn’t share about the heroin in AA meetings because my shame was too great. I got married, had 2 beautiful children and the promises came true. After 18 years of sobriety and 27 years off opiates I had to have numerous oral surgeries involving extractions, implants and 108 stitches in my mouth over a 1 year period. I told my MD, I was in recovery. I was given opiates which I took as prescribed. I didn’t like the feeling of being drugged, until one day I did. The cravings returned, the mental obsession became overwhelming and I began abusing them. Fortunately I was in AA and I became honest about it.

I had to start my day count over and that still fills me with shame. So out of 33 years of sobriety I have 32 clean years. My relapse was the best thing that ever happened to me because I threw myself into AA and the steps again. I am acutely aware of my character defects. I know now that the only thing I can control is my attitude . Terrible things happen in life but peace of mind is a choice and takes work.

Today I am a substance abuse counselor. My deep, dark past that I was so ashamed of is now my greatest gift. Everything I have been through has made me the woman I am today and I am proud of that woman!!!

One Year Sober, My Old Drug Den is Now My Safe Haven

Huffing nitrous was my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I liked popping pills and smoking weed as much as the next addict, but inflating my lungs with freezing cold laughing gas really hit the spot for me. I huffed in my room, I huffed on the freeway, I huffed at the drive-thru – I’d huff and puff and blow your house down. My lifestyle was not sustainable, and I found myself in rehab again. How could nitrous oxide take a guy like me; an intelligent, driven, handsome devil destined for greatness, and devolve him into the s-s-stuttering, sheet-white, eye-contact avoidant mouse that checked into rehab in 2017? I’ll give you a hint: contrary to popular belief, depriving your brain of oxygen for hours upon days upon months at a time doesn’t increase your odds of winning Jeopardy. I really tried hard not to expose my habit to anyone, but sometimes it was necessary. For example, when my friends discovered me outside in my car sucking up balloons after I disappeared for hours at a time during a movie, party, dinner etc. Exposure to my addiction usually prompted the worried onlooker(s) to tell me, in case I wasn’t aware, that I was huffing millions of innocent brain cells to death – I was the axis of evil in the WWII of my brain. Of course, I knew that. Nobody could initiate a genocide and not know exactly who or what they were destroying (brain cells or otherwise). In fact, my friends notified of my cellular abuse so often, that I came up with something to diffuse their worry, something to lighten up the mood: “I’m too smart, it’s only fair to even the playing field out a little so others have a chance.” I bragged that I was popping my brain so others could have a chance. A chance of what? Jesus Christ I was sick.

I’m celebrating a year clean today (3/18/18) because I’m surrounded by people who love me. My girlfriend helps me plan my schedule weeks ahead of time, my Mom keeps me accountable, and my sister has my back no matter what (they all help me WAY more than that, I’d need fifty more pages of words to describe even a quarter of how much they do to keep me functional and healthy). I get to work as a music producer, record label, and entrepreneur every day – my artists depend on me, and I depend on the love of my family and girlfriend. The once drug den studio is now my sober safe haven. I thought the new zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy would dramatically decrease the number of studio renters- it did. It deterred artists who used to rent out the studio to get fucked up and waste time. Now, I have a smaller group of clients – but they rent my space consistently, and don’t vomit on my monitors. My business has matured more throughout this past year than it has throughout the prior three years combined. And I am happy.

I dedicate this year of sobriety to my love, Frankie, my Mom, Barbara, my sister, Alex, my dad Steven, my Mom’s partner, Louise and my dog, Leo.

If you are a musician in LA and don’t want to risk your sobriety recording in an unsafe environment, you can reach me via my website: thelodgerecords.com

My Son Was Killed By A Lethal Dose of Methadone in Rehab.

My name is Lee Ann McDaniel.

My son Daniel was an addict. As some know, there is so much helplessness, frustration, heartbreak, and pain caused for the family and the person suffering.

Finally, after several years of trying to get help, Daniel made the decision to go into a 90-day inpatient program. I was so relieved and thought that this was going to be the best thing to ever happen to him and our family. I was so proud of him.

Daniel checked-in on December 19, 2014. On December 21, 2014 – he was dead. A lethal dose of methadone was given to him during detox. He was killed in a South Florida rehab center three days after checking in.

Daniel had a 2-year old son that he loved so very much. He was a great dad. His son was his life. He wanted to get well, not only for himself but for his son also. In my heart, I really thought this might be the time he finally grabs ahold of recovery.

Yes, I know addiction is so tricky. What I am angry about is my son never got the chance to find recovery. We trusted people who should have known what they were doing.

Daniel was a 25 year old beautiful & caring young man. Today is his Birthday. Happy Birthday son. Mom loves & misses you so much!

I Got An Attitude Adjustment and Got Out Of My Spiritual Funk

5 years and 2 months sober as of 3/1/18. I would love to tell you that I am loving life all the time and all things are great, but the reality is that the stressors of the responsibilities of life do have a negative effect on me. I occasionally get into an emotional and spiritual funk where I do think about my drugs of choice.

I struggled through years in denial of my feelings on a daily basis, choosing to numb myself or give myself what I called an “attitude adjustment”. I smoked pot every day for 30 years with alcohol, and LSD being my other drugs of choice during my younger years where quantities varied depending on what was going on in my life. I suffered through 10 plus years of suicidal depression where I planned out how I was to end my life on three different occasions. Those 3 occasions were my “bottoms” and it is with reflection on those bottoms that give me the appreciation for the life that I have now. I also had support from 3 people who saw through my darkness and helped me get the help I needed; a detox program, 5 “meetings” a week for 3 years, and a type of unconditional love that we all need in situations of addiction.

Although I have addictive issues with certain substances, there are other things that I know I am addicted to as well that are less harmful but are still things that I am constantly working on such as the smart phone, the Dunkin Donuts experience, and “feeling bad” to name a few.

I am now an avid reader of “self-help” books that are about recovery and spiritual awareness and I have created a group and business that incorporates support through community, listening, drumming and story telling.

www.matthewscommunitydrumming.com