– Michael, Pavillon Alumni
I’m probably not going to get any better until I stop being angry. — Mason M.
While on a brief summer holiday with my family on Lake Tuscaloosa, AL—in, literally, the blink of an eye—my foreseeable life changed in a major way. One minute I’m happily gliding across the glassy surface of an undisturbed lake on a jet ski and the next I’m bobbing up and down in the water, having been t-boned and knocked off the machine with my right leg badly broken in several places.
It’s probably a good thing, but the fact is that most of us are not constantly or acutely aware that we are all, indeed, ALWAYS just a few steps—or a single bad decision—from slipping off the narrow balance beam of security and confidence on which we unfailingly rely in order to get through life. It only takes a brief succession of moments for that mirage to dissipate, leaving in its wake a whole new set of consequences that pile up on each other like some sort of ghoulish deck of cards.
Thanks to several years of a strong Program of Recovery I remember almost immediately thinking—even through the physical and medical shock of the event—“let’s break this down into manageable chunks.” First, we’ve gotta get fished out of this water (thank GOD I kept my life jacket on after all!); then we have to get to the hospital (wherever THAT is); next we’ve got to figure out what the actual problems really are; and, finally, we have to face how to deal with these issues—in both the short and long-term.
Now here’s the Recovery analogy/“angle” on all of this: none of these things could I possibly do on my own. Not even a little bit. I was going to have to put myself in the care of a whole bunch of strangers who weren’t me and who didn’t even know me.
And that’s not all. A few days later, as I found myself at the start of a three week hospital stay, I realized that in order to really get well I was going to have to put down my anger—the endless and growing list of whys and what-if’s that naturally follow such a traumatic occurrence.
My healing process is still not completely finished. I still find it necessary to break the journey down into doable segments; some days are better and easier than others. One thing I can say for sure: I’ve never been more grateful to be drug and alcohol free than I have been during the past five months.