Don’t Delay Treatment Until the New Year When You’re in Active Addiction
by Michael Rass
Christmas is not far off. As we read in The Recovery Book, holidays can be times of tension, sadness, and depression for recovering people. For people in active addiction, the holiday season can amount to a deadly delay. Take Logan, for example. He was only 19 in the fall of 2013 but had been using heroin for several years already.
Logan grew up in Cincinnati and started using drugs in his teens. At 13 he tried marijuana and alcohol and quickly escalated to amphetamines. “I snorted crushed pills off my desktop in eighth grade. When most kids did their homework, I was sitting there crushing pills,” Logan told me.
Within seven months, he was in rehab. It lasted 21 months and was the first of many to come. Logan quickly relapsed and was arrested for selling drugs. “My addiction continued to escalate; I was in and out of juvie, in and out of rehab,” Logan remembers. When he was 17, he started to use heroin. When his teachers found out and informed Logan’s parents, they felt unable to deal with it and kicked him out of the house.
Logan quit school and stayed with a friend in what was “basically, a dope house,” he said. From then on, he was just “getting high and trying to survive.”
In October 2013, Logan reached a crisis point known to members of Alcoholics Anonymous as “incomprehensible demoralization.” “I felt so crappy and guilty and lonely and sad and hopeless,” he told me. It was the weekend before Halloween. He had quit his job and spent his whole paycheck on cocaine and heroin. “I was going to be a homeless junkie in the streets,” he realized. “I was extremely tired and just wanted the pain to stop.”
So, he looked for a rehab center and found Stepping Stone in Florida (a partner center of Lakeview Health)—“by the grace of God,” as he says today. Any treatment before Stepping Stone had been forced on Logan, but this time he himself wanted to beat the disease. Although the holidays were coming up, Logan did not want to delay treatment any longer.
“Between the ages of 13 and 19, I spent maybe two Christmases at home,” Logan said. “I wouldn’t have enjoyed the holidays at home anyway. When I was using, I only cared about myself. My body would be there but my mind wouldn’t be present. I would only think about how to get high again.”
It was much better to check into rehab before it was too late. “We aren’t promised anything,” Logan says and tells me about a friend had who had been sober for a year and had a baby daughter on the way. ”‘I’m so happy,’ he said before he decided to go out one more time … and now he’s dead.”
“If I can sacrifice one or two holidays so I can be present to experience all the other holidays of my life sober, I’ll take that sacrifice. My mom and dad were probably a lot less stressed knowing I was in a rehab and not using.”
Logan is grateful to his Higher Power for helping him change. He works as a chef and feels that his life has a purpose now. “Instead of waking up and thinking, ‘How can I get high today?’ I’m able to get up and pray and do my meditations. That’s true happiness,” he says. “This new sense of direction is a God-given miracle.”
Logan is now 21 and continues his recovery in Florida. This year, he will be home for Christmas.