I have been wrestling with alcoholism for 20 years. Over that time I have been through more than a dozen detoxes, rehabs, outpatient programs, psychiatric hospitals & recovery homes only to return to my alcoholic lifestyle within months of successful completion. Along with my family, friends and everyone else who knew me, I had lost hope in my recovery and began to except that there wasn’t anything that was going to save me from this condition. It was just a matter of time before alcoholism would take my life. Then in September 2017 I was lying in a hospital bed barely surviving alcohol withdrawal, wanting nothing besides a bottle of whiskey, when I received a call from the clinical team at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center. They asked me if I would come back.

The question running through my mind was “What are they going to do?” but what I said was yes. Why I don’t know. You see, MARC was one of the 20 pitstops that I successfully completed and yet here I was in the hospital again, barely alive and dying from alcoholism. The team at MARC made all of the arrangements for me to go from that hospital to a detox facility and then to the MARC facility. I arrived coincidentally on 9/11 beat up, broken, angry, confused, hopeless and afraid. I made it very clear that I wasn’t done drinking and they made it very clear that they weren’t giving up on me. Over the next few months MARC pushed, prodded and challenged me like no person or institution ever has. No matter what my complaint, fear, hurt or delusion of the day was they only offered me the truth and forced me to make a decision based on that truth.

The residential program at MARC really served in a powerful way to fully immerse me in a process where recovery is dealt with in every facet of my life. This program fostered an environment which forced me to face and deal with recovery physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Where the willingness came from to face the truth, fear, wreckage of my life and let go I don’t know. What I do know is that once I had it MARC was there to help me walk it out every step of the way like no place I’ve ever been. Everyone from the TA’s to the therapists to the executive team and even alumni became involved in my recovery process.

As hard as they were on me they were equally as compassionate, encouraging and supportive as I begin to change how I lived. From there I began to lean that changing how I lived had nothing to do with my circumstances or situations and had everything to do with my choices and decisions. I began to live with authentic freedom even though from the outside my circumstances may have appeared as though I lived in captivity/rehab.

It has been 10 months since I hobbled into the doors at MARC. At the age of 39 this has been the hardest year of my life without question. I am still sober and I am now starting to experience some joy and peace without whiskey for the first time in 20 years. MARC has helped me make recovery a way of life rather than a part of life. Now I continue to pass on what I’ve been given as an alumnus to the new patients arriving every month in hopes that they will find the freedom that I have found.