We catch up with one of our alumni, Anthony, to talk to him about what got him to make the call and seek treatment and how he feels about life today.
Gina Thorne: Hi everyone, welcome to the Lakeview Podcast Series. I am very excited today to be joined by Anthony, one of our alum of our program and we’re so excited to have him back. What is it? Two years to the day?
Anthony McCauley: Two years to the day!
Gina: We’re thrilled to have you here and to talk about what life is like in recovery, but before we get into all the great stuff, let’s talk about what got you into treatment to begin with.
Anthony: Well the thing that got me in the position where I could actually start helping myself and figuring out what I want to do with my life, I hit a rock bottom. A bottom that was also a vicious cycle of repeat relapses and this one time, I figured, at my age, it’s time for me to do something different. Not only because age wise, but time out for the junk and I had to get real with myself and realize, either I’m going to live or I’m going to die. So I had to reach out to some type of professional organization, some type of health professionals to help me get my life back in order. So I hit a rock bottom, Gina.
Gina: So what moved you to finally say, “Ok, I’m making the call”?
Anthony: What really, really moved me was health reasons. I was getting a little bit older, my body just couldn’t take it anymore living out on the streets, and also, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Enough is enough. Either I’m going to get some help or I’m going die. So I decided that I’m going to get some help; some genuine help where I can remove the vail, remove the mask and stop faking it and get some real help.
Gina: And did you have support from family to help you in that process?
Anthony: I had support from family, but after I exhausted my family, their hands were kind of tied. And I can understand it because I took them down a road that was treacherous. Their support was not direct, it was indirect support and I knew they loved me because enough was enough. I’m going to say they did support me. They supported me 100%.
Gina: Did they support you in a healthy way, you think?
Anthony: They supported me in a healthy way.
Gina: That’s good.
Anthony: And they didn’t support me in a way that enabled me in no kind of way because that’s not who my parents are. They were very loving about it, but they wanted to see their son get better.
Gina: Of course. So coming in to treatment, were you nervous, were you scared?
Anthony: It wasn’t the first time I was in, and I was scared this time only because I felt different and knew that this was the test that I needed. This time was going to be different. Any other time I was in treatment, I did it because I wanted to shut everybody else’s mouth up, but this time I was nervous because it was working and it was new to me because my heart was in it. So that was the nervous part of it but as far as getting here and wanting to reach out to the program for help? No nervousness, I was ready.
Gina: You were ready.
Anthony: I was ready.
Gina: So you got people that are listening to you today and some of them are probably sitting where you were a couple years ago. What do you suggest to the family member, to the individual that’s not sure what to do?
Anthony: If you’re not sure what to do, first of all, I would ask that you just search down inside of yourself, realize who you are, and that you really genuinely need some help. Reach out to the help that you need; it’s all confidential, people are here to help you, and realize that somebody really does care about your well-being and the fact that you live an addictive-behavior lifestyle. And for that family member, don’t give up on them! I know they say “tough love” and it is tough, but sometimes that’s what we need because of who we are in our manipulative mind. But to that person who is sitting there, lonely, wanting to reach out, I encourage you; pick up the phone, get some help. The person on the other end will definitely help you do what you need to do and get you positioned where you need to be positioned so you can get the necessary help you need because it’s scary, it’s going to be tough and you may be in the midst of some darkness right now, but you need to do it. In the midst of my mess, I was at a bus station and I decided to pick up the phone anyway and I still was in the midst of it, and I did. I’m so grateful that I did because the person on the other end walked me hand in hand to make sure that I was helped.
Gina: That’s good. So what’s life like for you now?
Anthony: Oh my God. Life is so wonderful. I have an opportunity now to freely give away what was given to me and I encourage others who still might be out there struggling, that you can make it. Every day is not chipper for me; there are some times where I still have to pull out my tools, and I have them. I have a support group, I have other people that I pour into but life today for me is grand! Life is grand! I’m not exempt and I keep an awareness of who I am with my addictive behavior because at any time, I know that in my mind I know who I am and I keep that awareness and I don’t want slip back. I play the tape all the way out and I am so grateful that my life is what it is today. I encourage others, I am in school right now working on my degree requirements for this field, and also I’m an outreach minister and I help others in the local community, I help homeless people, I help those people who feel like they just can’t make it. I just share my story; I’m not any better, I don’t look down on anybody, I just share my story hoping that I can reach just one person, that person that is sitting there in the midst of darkness; grab a hold of yourself! It’s not too late! If you’re listening to me, the sound of my voice right now, it’s not too late! Pick up the phone and reach out for some help.
Gina: That’s great! Well thank you Anthony, and we’re so pleased that you’re in this amazing place and we hope that others listening today will be inspired by your story and will make that call. For those of you that are struggling with this disease and you need help right away, we invite you to reach out to us at 866-460-8416 or if you’d like more information about Lakeview, we invite you to visit us at LakeviewHealth.com or SteppingStoneCenterForRecovery.org. Thank you.
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