Education Director Denise Achee: Hi! Thank you so much for wanting to share your experience here at Inspirations [teen rehab]. So is today your last day?
Michael C: Yes it is.
DA: Wow, what time are you leaving tomorrow?
MC: My flight takes off at 6:30 in the morning.
DA: Oh you have an early one. You’re going to be up very early.
MC: Oh yeah.
DA: And you’re going back to the cold?
DA: [laughs] You have a jacket I hope.
MC: Oh yes I have three of them.
DA: Oh good. You’re probably going to need all three because I’ve heard it has been snowing up there. Listen, talk to me. What brought you to Inspirations?
MC: Well I voluntarily asked my mom to give me some help after, you know, going on a long run. It ended up with me just being arrested and her having to come pick me up. Just from there I knew that I needed…like I couldn’t do this anymore by myself. The worst part was that I was going through withdrawals and at that point that was the scariest moment to where, you know, I could have died if I kept going…if I wasn’t arrested or anything.
DA: So the arrest was like a blessing in a since, right?
DA: Sometimes bad things happen for a good reason. What was your substance of choice?
MC: My substances of choice were alcohol and marijuana.
DA: You said you were detoxing, what were you detoxing from?
MC: From alcohol.
DA: Oh from alcohol? You were drinking that much?
MC: Yes I was bingeing daily.
DA: Oh wow. That can be very serious when you come off of alcohol. They say it’s sometimes more serious than heroin, even correct?
MC: Sometimes. The doctor told me my liver was inflamed and you could see my pancreas through my skin was swollen. Basically what he told me was that I was consuming so much and when I stopped my body was just screaming for it [alcohol] and that’s what detoxing is, you know, it’s withdrawal.
DA: You made it! You made it through it and you’re alive. That’s such great news. When did you start drinking?
MC: Yes. I started smoking when I was 13. And then I started… I drank every so often but then I started drinking when I was 14 and it progressed from there until eventually I went to my first rehab when I was 15. That was freshmen year, no my sophomore year. Sorry. I was okay for a couple days after I got out then I went to a party and I knew what was going to happen there. I just, you know, I was going at it with all the drinking and stuff, you know, I didn’t smoke because it came up in a drug test. Eventually I just didn’t really care and then I became reckless. I got caught again, you know, I was sent to the same rehab junior year and decided that I should go to a halfway house, sober living, and I did that for about seven months. I got 14 months clean until I finally went to my friend’s house and thought things would be okay if I just hung out with him but one thing led to another and I found myself with a beer in my hand.
DA: Yeah. Now this time, since you’ve gone to treatment a couple times, how do you feel this time? Do you feel different than when you left your other rehabs?
MC: Yeah, I feel like being here like you learn more about yourself, not necessarily through your therapist but through a lot of other people, like all the kids, and your peers, and the staff. You know they really do like the kids, you know there’s not like a specific kid that they hate or dislike or anything. When you’re like messing up they can quickly kick you in the butt about it. When I do meet with my therapist I usually talk to my mom and you know, he [the therapist] talks to my mom and he lets her in on information and she tells him some and we talk.
DA: It was a group effort, so you feel?
DA: How is your relationship with your family now? Is it better?
MC: Yeah I think it’s a lot better.
DA: It’s a work in progress; families are always a work in progress.
MC: Oh yeah. My mom is really excited to have me home because she kicked me out the day before Thanksgiving. I was on my own run until the beginning of January and that’s when she picked me up from the police station.
DA: Well so you’ve done a lot of work and you’ve done a lot of good work. You should be very proud of yourself.
MC: I am, thank you.
DA: It’s not easy, alright. So be proud because it’s not easy to expose yourself. It’s not easy to end an addiction. We saw that it kept haunting you, correct? It kept coming back.
DA: Now you feel stronger so when that little voice that starts telling you to do the wrong thing comes in you feel you’ll be stronger now to be able to stop that?
DA: Are you going to have a sponsor when you get home? Are you going to go to meetings?
MC: Yeah I kind of made it you know…not kind of, I did get the guys side to start going to the NA meetings. I just kept being persistent but also being assertive about it as well and you know, they took a couple of us the first time and then a couple of us the second time and then started taking more people and then this previous weekend we went to four meetings. We went to one on Friday, one on Saturday, and Sunday. We should be going to an AA meeting tonight.
DA: It’s helpful, isn’t it?
DA: You need those people, right, to keep you strong. Are you going to go to meetings when you go back home?
MC: Of course. The biggest thing that I struggled with was getting to meetings but now I have transportation.
DA: Yay! Well you’ve worked very, very hard and we’re proud of your progress. You’ve done a great job. Keep in touch, you know we’re here for you, even when you leave we’re still here. I hope that you come back to visit. Maybe one day you can come back to speak to the clients. That would be awesome.
MC: Yeah it would.
DA: I’m sure you would love to come back down to Florida again, right? [Laughs]
MC: Of course.
DA: Well thank you much for sharing your experience and we wish you the best of luck. We hope to hear back from you to see how you’re doing. Thank you.
MC: No problem.