Hope Dealer Week 10

At GateHouse Treatment, many of the alumni end up coming back to work because of how much it changed their lives. On week 10 of the Hope Dealer series Ed McDonough, CEO brings on guests Joe Kennedy GateHouse alumni and House Manager and Matt Lee, alumni and now Case Manager for GateHouse Treatment. These two men came into GateHouse Treatment and the sober living houses shattered and confused. They are now two walking examples of hope and change from active addiction to long-term recovery. 

As it usually starts with most struggling with substance abuse and alcoholism it was the allure of excitement. As a child Joe only saw the positives of drinking, it was around him in his family as a child, and once he took that first drink, he had the feeling of an “arrival” that many experience when they first try drinking or drugs. Soon it became using alcohol and drugs for a way to get him outside of his head and feeling a part of something.  

Matt can enjoy the simplicity of his life now such as following a schedule and being able to show up for his kids and be present now that he is free from the mental obsession that overtook him while in active addiction.  

The mental obsession that overcomes our loved ones when they’re in active addiction is something that people outside of those in recovery don’t understand. The mental obsession starts the moment you wake up, the first thought before even opening your eyes is how do I get more. It doesn’t matter what other obligations there is that day, not a job, family, anything. If an active addict or alcoholic doesn’t have the substance, they need everything else falls by the wayside. It isn’t a want; it becomes a survival instinct in the brain that you NEED this substance to get through even the smallest tasks. When it comes to certain substances such as opiates and alcohol the physical withdrawal can be so intense that users really cannot function throughout the day without a substance. 

“Even when I had it (drug of choice), it was how do I get more,” Ed said. Driving home the point of the mental obsession that it’s not something that someone in active addiction ever gets free of until deciding to get treatment and do the work needed on oneself.  

Joe noticed that something had to be done about how he was living when he kept making empty promises that he meant at the moment but kept being pulled away by his mental obsession. The most profound moment was when his daughter would be looking at him with eyes full of love, but all he could think about was his next fix.  

Matt had been to approximately 15 treatment centers before coming across GateHouse. After doing 30 days at an inpatient facility, deciding that years of damage and lies weren’t fixed in a month, he entered sober living seeking long-term recovery and finally started doing the work on himself.  Joe had an experience he said he wouldn’t wish upon everyone. 

“My God took everything from me, so I could see the light” Joe had run entirely out of other options, he had been to countless detoxes, tried methadone maintenance, suboxone maintenance, and swearing substances off for good. Joe never wanted to maintain his sobriety, he didn’t want to go to treatment or to go to 12 step fellowships, he never considered long-term abstinence a viable option until he spoke with Nathan Irvine, GateHouse Founder. When Nathan asked Joe if he was ready to save his own life Joe was baffled. He had never realized that he had a choice in this  

Many of those struggling with substance abuse finally decide to give treatment a chance when they’re asked what do you have left to lose. Most have nothing left, all their family and friends stop enabling them, and they have no other avenues left to turn down.  

Coming to GateHouse Treatment, both men were introduced to or reintroduced to 12 step fellowships, the comradery of the house and the structure that’s implemented. The structure and accountability also carry over to the families of those in treatment through GateHouse’s family program. The work and the firm boundaries that are put in place by the families have helped Matt and Joe both maintain their long-term recovery. 

GateHouse Treatments intensive and educational family program has been crucial for the healing in the family and in the ones struggling with substance abuse, for more information on getting your loved one and your family started on the healing process visit https://www.gatehousetreatment.com/ 

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