“Everything your recovery/healing journey/growth blesses you with, your addiction/wounds/trauma will try and use against you.”
I suppose I got way ahead of myself. Almost 8 years ago, when I got out of jail, and began trying to put my life back together I thought I knew what it was I needed to do. I thought that as long as I didn’t go back to how I had been living before, I would be fine. I thought that I just needed to not use heroin and things would just magically heal themselves. I simply could not have been more wrong. I put my all, the best way I knew how to, into turning my life around and for the most part was wildly successful at it. There was absolutely no way that I could have possibly prepared myself for what lied ahead back in 2015. I somehow became one of those “overnight success stories” that I had always read about, and it was like a dream come true. But what I have come to learn over the years is that every gift has a cost.
In the beginning, everything seemed so surreal. I couldn’t miss. Opportunity after opportunity came my way, and I did my best to seize and capitalize on every single one. I was hungry. I was driven, and I had a lot of work to do. I was working harder at something I believed in than I had ever worked on anything in my entire life. Milestone after milestone came my way, smashing goals as they came, climbing the ladder toward success, one rung at a time. It was like a dream come true. And it still is. But the double edge to it all, is that all of the success, all of the wonderful things that were coming my way, no matter how great and beautiful they all were, they took the focus off of what it was that I was actually supposed to be doing. Which was healing. And here is the conundrum that came along with it: Healing from what? Life was amazing, I was clean, I was thriving, and I was doing so many wonderful things. Wasn’t this what healing looked like? And the answer is no. “Social acceptability, Professional accolades, achievements, etc. do not equal recovery and do not equal proper healing.” My life took off so fast and so far that I just abruptly stopped my own personal healing journey to focus on what, at the time seemed like a very reasonable set of obligations: My Growing Family, My budding career, and all of the things that came along with those things.
Initially and for the next several years, this trade off was seemingly without consequence or any negative backlash. But mental health issues, are indeed insidious. They wait, they fester, and as long as the underlying issues from my past continued to go unaddressed and unconfronted, then that left me for exactly what I was, which was untreated.
This is a very difficult, painful, and humbling thing for me to write, and to expose; but it is now also incredibly liberating and cathartic, but I believe it is now time to do so: Going back almost two years now, began a very dark time for me. And though so many of you saw the hand selected wonderful pictures on social, and those who follow me saw the wonderful things my family and I, and our company were doing to help so many throughout the country, I myself was struggling tremendously. I am not entirely sure when it began, but I tend to lean toward shortly after we bought the house, the pandemic year, the death of my brother, and many other circumstances that came our way. These are not excuses, but more of some of the things that led to what I can only describe now as a protracted mental breakdown, and my therapist would
agree. The storms of life developed into “the perfect storm” and as it pounded down onto my untreated mind, I slowly began to break, and to cope in very unhealthy ways. Things got incredibly dark for me and for my family, and I can never in a million years truly express the gratitude that I have in my heart for my wife and family for rallying around me and ensuring that I got some much needed help in the most desperate of times. No matter how hard I tried, therapist after therapist,medication after medication, change after change, I just simply could not seem to pull myself out of it. I continued to spiral in a very negative direction until ultimately I had to admit that this was something so much bigger than myself.
It was time to put EVERYTHING that was important to me, the Wife, the children, the career, the mortgage, EVERYTHING on hold and do what needed to be done. “If I am able to preach it, I am able to practice it.” And so I did. I got on a plane and traveled across the country and checked myself into a facility to get my mental health struggles in check and finally find out what it was that was going on. And it was the single most important thing I have ever done for myself, and for my family. It is something that I am more proud of for myself than anything. Though it began with much humiliation and fear, it turned into some of the most revealing and restorative insight that I could ever possibly imagine. And though I had not used heroin in many years, I believe that this is when my healing journey truly began. For it was during this time, that I was finally, after 37.5 years able to confront the things that drove me to using so many years ago. It was during this time, that I was finally able to examine my life through a truly adequate clinical lens, and once and for all process my life. It was revealed to me during my lengthy stay that I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and stemming from that, Borderline Personality Disorder. And receiving these diagnoses, was like a door unlocking. I was finally getting answers that I have been searching for for quite some time. And none of these findings are in any way some kind of cop out, or rationalization to things, but they are reasons and they are the answers that I have needed for so so long. I finally feel like I can truly breathe, and truly be my most authentic self. I finally feel like I have some acceptance, and some forgiveness in my life, and can now go on to be the best version of myself, and for my family. I now have a better understanding and new perspective on my life and can finally say that I believe the generational chains in my lineage are breaking. Going to treatment for my struggles was the absolute best thing I could have ever done, and I am not ashamed to admit that I went. I am proud, and I am very much relieved. I simply could not take suffering in silence, suffering internally the way that I was. It all just continued to fester and manifest itself in various ways, until I ultimately collapsed and imploded.
It is very interesting how going and processing my life through a therapeutic lens the way I did, brought forth so much clarity, understanding, and forgiveness in my heart. I had been carrying with me such a warped, callused, a bitter heart with me for so long and I didn’t even know it. I had lived my life in survival mode for so long that I didn’t know how not to. I had to go and finally confront some parts of myself that I had been hiding and compartmentalizing for so long. I had to finally open up and examine the contents of “Those old dusty boxes”, those secret parts of me that I hadn’t acknowledged in forever. I had to talk about my trauma, I had to fully process
the most secret and vulnerable places within or I was going to die, most likely at my own hand. And it was the scariest and bravest thing that I have ever done.
And though, my heart absolutely aches for the process it took for me to hit a mental bottom, and to finally get to a point of waving yet another white flag, I am so grateful that I was able to, with the support and encouragement of an amazing support system, finally swallow my pride, and take some serious action to work on myself from the inside out. I honestly don’t think that I would still be here, or be alive quite frankly if it weren’t for my Wife, children, Parents, little brother, my business partner Brian, and my colleagues in the field. It was truly one of the most humbling, powerful, and beautiful things I have ever experienced, the way they all banded together to save me when all I did was push them away. But they could all see how badly I was struggling and trying to hold it all together on my own. I just simply could not.
I had to take a serious break away from all outside stressors, all associations, social media, relationships in general, and anything that could divert my focus away from my primary purpose, which was getting myself healthy and healing somethings that needed healing. I sequestered myself into a period of several months to reflect, continue various therapies, and once again begin a path towards atonement and harmony. I know that it is not going to take a mere several months to accomplish, but I had to take the months to once again build a firm foundation that this time cannot be shaken to the core by the storms of life. And it has been the single most important thing that I have ever done.
I just want to extend a heartfelt and tear filled thank you and acknowledgement to my Wife and Children, My Parents, My little brother Lucas, My business partner with Genesis Brian, Michelle, Alex, and Krystal at treatment, Dave Mangel, Ken Elwood and to all who reached out to check on me. I do not deserve such grace, love, tolerance, acceptance, love or kindness. But I am so grateful to have such things from all of you. We truly are a product of our environment and I am so thankful to have such an amazing support system around me. These people pulled me out of one of the darkest and most depressing times in my life, and it will not be soon forgotten.
Life is truly a bittersweet process. It can only be lived forwards and understood backwards. I am incredibly thankful to have some understanding today as I continue to march forth into many tomorrows, God Willing.
Recovering is not about not using drugs. And contrary to the popular meme circulating the internet, it is not about “sitting with your feelings”. At least not for me. Detox is the only portion of things that addresses “The Drugs”. The rest from there is all about “why the drugs” And for me, my recovering, my healing, my journey, was rooted in trauma, and the remedy has been processing, and finding forgiveness. And I have that today. My heart finally feels free and light, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was hurting and struggling and needed help and got it. Because that in fact, is what we are supposed to do.
Thank you to everyone who has shown their love and support to Me and My family. I love you all more than you may ever know. There really are some amazing people around here, don’t forget to be one.
If you want to truly help someone, the most important thing you can do is listen to them, for we never truly know what another human being is actually going through.