Overcoming Heroin Addiction: An Interview With Alumni Staffby baladmin | November 7, 2014
At Balboa Horizons, we have many alumni staff members that have gone through our Residential and Intensive Outpatient programs. Being recovering addicts and alcoholics themselves, they have a real understanding of how to interact with our clients. After going through our program, each alumni staff member has a true desire to give back and help each client that walks through our doors.
We sat down and interviewed Matt, one of our alumni staff, who shared his story of overcoming heroin addiction.
Q: What led you to Balboa Horizons?
Matt: I was in jail when my mother told me my father was diagnosed with Leukemia. Even after getting this news, I wasn’t ready to change my life. My parents let me stay the night at their house once I was released from jail. I felt hopeless and lost, so I decided to drink and use drugs. The next thing I remember, I woke up in a hospital bed. I had overdosed and was in a coma for three days. The doctors gave me a 2-3% chance to survive. My family was preparing to say their goodbyes – but somehow I made it through. Now, with over a year and a half of sobriety, I have my family back. I am able to be there for my mother, little brother, and most importantly, I am able to support my father through this hard time. He and I are starting to have a real father and son relationship, and now I get to be there for him, just like he was always there for me. I am grateful for everything Balboa Horizons has done for me.
Q: What were you like as a client?
Matt: I was addicted to heroin and crack, and due to long-term abuse I was an angry person. I was an extremely stubborn, bitter, and resentful human being. My disease had a hold of me and the last thing it wanted was for me to get help. So, for a long time, I would self sabotage by getting into fights and letting my temper get the best of me.
Q. What was your favorite group in treatment?
Matt: ” The “Recovery Playbook” by Paxton. This group is about a “playbook” of manipulation tactics that addicts and alcoholics use on their family members to get away with using drugs and alcohol. By understanding and recognizing this “playbook” the hope is to not use those tactics anymore.
Q. What did Balboa Horizons do differently then other treatment centers, that had an impact on your sobriety?
Matt: The staff treated clients with respect and they took the time to get to know them. All the staff members had a true interest in what was going on in each of our lives, and respectfully gave advice to help us through hard life decisions.
Q. Why did you decide to start working at Balboa Horizons?
Matt: Once I started working the program I could see what they had done for me. I wanted to give back and help the still sick and suffering alcoholic. This job is highly rewarding.
Q. What do you enjoy about working at Balboa Horizons?
Matt: I enjoy the people I work with. Many of us went through here and are alumni of this program and because of that, I feel very supported. Knowing I can rely on my coworkers for anything, and them on me – it makes us family.
Q. what makes balboa horizons’ program stand out the most to you?
Matt: The time and effort all the staff members put into each client shows the uniqueness of this facility.
Q. what is your advice for someone entering treatment?
Matt: Listen to the staff members and respect them. They really do have your best interest in mind. Many of them are recovering addicts and alcoholics and they know what they are talking about. Don’t let your ego or temper get the best of you.
Q. WHat is your advice for family members with someone entering treatment?
Matt: Having faith is the number one thing. You need to stay positive, and believe that your family member is in good hands, and to let go of control and stop enabling. Always be in communication with the case manager and be very in involved in family week. Also try out some Al-anon meetings.
Q. How are you of service To Others?
Matt: I have commitments at meetings, give rides to newcomers and I have sponsees that I take through the steps. I was taught to never say no to an AA request and that’s what I do.
Q. WHat’s something you lost in your addiction, that now being sober, you have gotten back?
Matt: My family, friends and a real life.
Q. WHat’s your favorite thing to do for fun?
Matt: Playing Cards Against Humanity, hanging out with friends, and playing sports.
Q. WHat’s something we don’t know about you?
Matt: I graduated with over a 4.0 in high school.