What got me there? Complete and absolute insanity! The months leading up to me checking in were something out of a Stephen king novel. My disease first revealed itself in the form of a very strong vice, gambling. Over a span of 10 years, I destroyed relationships, stopped caring for myself and put a maximum load of stress on my loved ones. My ability to keep gambling was slowed down drastically by the dramatic decrease in funds. My life was no longer manageable. I went to get a psychiatric evaluation; the depression was too much to bear. I was at the end of my rope. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
That was my 30th birthday. I tried to take the disease serious; there was a constant change in medication. The lack of understanding on my part and my family was a lot to bear.
I thought I found the answer on the way to a Casino one night; a friend of mine introduced me to Molly. I was completely hesitant to try it and I thought it was ridiculous. After comparing getting high to gambling, I figured what the hell. I would never of thought the next year of my life I would be fighting to keep my family and to truly stay alive. If I thought gambling had me as low as I could be, drugs brought me to a new kind of low – truly to my knees. Combining the drugs with my illness brought me straight into a manic episode. I was no longer depressed while I was high. I was impulsive and dangerous. I once used a sugar bowl to explain how much I was doing towards the end.
I was in the hospital 3 times in one year. I was mixing psychiatric medication with Molly and alcohol truly playing Russian roulette every time I tried to go to sleep. I spent thousands of dollars. That year things would change forever, my father who was sick with cancer would take a turn for the worst. I couldn’t even go see him unless I was high. When my father died, he left behind an assortment of medication and I graduated to trying new drugs, OxyContin and Dilaudid. When I think about the lowest I ever was one specific night comes to mind: It was the week my father passed away and I had taken a combination of painkillers OxyContin, Dilaudid, Klonopin and drank 3/4 a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table one hand on the neck of the bottle. The other on my knee, my heart rate slowed down. I started to breath heavy and I knew that I was about to die. Something gave me the strength to make it to the bathroom. I turned the shower on full blast and stuck my fingers down my throat and stuck my head under the running water. I survived.
It was a Couple of days later I was sitting in a McDonald’s parking lot with a bag of Molly that I finally broke. I grabbed my phone and started googling for help. I called the national hotline. Someone walked me through throwing whatever drugs I had access to in the garbage and recovery begun. We spoke for 2 hours I decided I was going to rehab. That night when I got home my mother, brother and wife were waiting for me, coincidentally they had planned an intervention. I think in my head that they thought it was going to be a battle for them to get me to go. It wasn’t I was completely beaten totally out of my mind and felt hopeless. My brother is Assistant Director of Psychology at Colombia and he helped me find The Watershed. After speaking to the advisors in intake, I boarded a plane with my wife and mother the very next day. It was the beginning of me fighting to save my life.
My experience at The Watershed was one of healing I was welcomed with open arms. The professionals there helped me get a grip on my bipolar disorder my disease of addiction and introduced me to the program of AA and NA. I have had many bumps in the road since I came home from the program. But at the end of the day I am clean, and I no longer smoke, use drugs, gamble or drink. My day consist of work, exercise, making meetings and coming home to my beautiful family. We have a newborn son, Marco, who is the light of our life. My relationship with my immediate family has never been better.
To wrap it up a lot will change in recovery. You will strengthen old relationships make new ones and lose a lot of dead weight. You will learn that the sober life is about sacrifice. It is not about doing whatever you want; self-entitlement has no place in recovery. It is truly one day at a time. However long it takes you to sink into the abyss it will probably take just as long to get the hell out of there. I will leave you with this -
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
Mark B., Clean & Sober since 01/04/2015