I began using at the age of 12. I would sneak into my parents liquor cabinet and sneak a bottle of anything I could. I would meet up with my friends and get loaded off my liquor and their marijuana. This was the beginning and gateway into a deep adventure of heavy drug use, drug dealing, many countless acts of criminal activity that would help feed my addiction at any cost.
For the next 25 years I continued to use so much that it was the only way of life I knew.
I somehow managed to stay alive and out of prison long enough to realize I was throwing away my entire life, including my children, the home I built, and especially my soul. I grew more and more tired of the chains of addiction and decided I knew only one way out, and that was to take my life. I don’t know why that shotgun didn’t go off. And although I felt even more of a failure because I failed at taking my life, something came to me. I NEEDED HELP!
Sometime later I struggled getting help from several institutions for reasons from them not returning my calls, to giving my bed away after being scheduled for intake for months. After several attempts to get treatment I finally got in contact with a facility that was serving the Jackson County area known as Comprehensive Mental Health Services.
I remember being told to be at a certain place on a certain date–I will never forget that date–because that was the last day that I ever used any mind altering / mood changing chemical.
January 24th, 2014, I was introduced to a staff of people whom claimed they wanted to help me and could get me on the right path. The day I arrived Mrs. Linda immediately made me feel welcomed and assured me I was in the right place. I had arrived at the Gateway program and I was scared and relieved at the same time.
Days into my treatment God sent an angel of a women and group educator, Lindsey. She connected with me and gave me some love, understanding, and most of all encouragement that I could complete this program and change my life.
I will never forget Mrs. Jenny checking in on us and being there the day that I completed the inpatient program. She made me feel 10ft tall and assured me that I could always find help at Comprehensive.
After leaving treatment, I utilized the tools I was given, got involved in a twelve-step program, and stay connected with CMHS by serving on the Advisory Board for the past 4-5 years.
In this time of being clean off drugs and recovering from my past I came to realize some very important things that I feel you all should know.
You not only saved my life, but you returned a son back to his mother. You returned a father to his children. You molded a man into a productive member of society that no longer causes a threat to the community you serve. Yes you. If you are part of the S.U.D team, clinic department employee, administrator, business office personnel, receptionist, house manager, or even a maintenance specialist at Comprehensive Mental Health Services, you are part of saving this man’s life and many other countless lives.
It takes many people to make it possible for someone to get this second chance.
If you are reading this you are one of those people and you are a hero to many mothers, fathers, children, and the community in a whole. The job you do does matter and if you think anything different, I suggest you go ask my kids, my mother and father, or simply look at me and see my forever gratitude for this new life you have given me.
Thank you and with infinite gratitude!
Photo is representative and does not show actual CMHS client