It’s funny, but when I walked into LICADD’s offices on July 26, 2004, in my heart I guess I knew that I was an alcoholic — but I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself, let alone to anyone else.
The counselor I met with that day was nothing like what I had expected. He told me all about himself, and was very straightforward about being an alcoholic himself, but he didn’t try to shove anything down my throat. I was amazed to hear myself telling him all about me, in turn. I started to talk to him about what might be possible if I put the drink down.
Before I left that day he asked me what lengths I’d be willing to go to get well. And I said, “Whatever it takes!” But I wasn’t sure I meant it. Maybe he could see it in my eyes. He said, “You’re thinking that if you put down the drink, that will be the end — aren’t you?” I didn’t answer him. Then he said, “Well, it won’t be. But it will be a beginning.”
And that’s the moment that changed my life.
My life until then had begun to feel like I was sliding down a hill. My wife was threatening to leave me, and take the kids. I had lost my driver’s license. And my boss stopped talking to me altogether.
It didn’t turn around all at once, either. There were rough times — hell, there are still rough times. But today I’m almost 14 months sober. It’s hard — I’ve never done anything harder. But this is my new beginning, and I’m not going to let myself start to slide again.
The people at LICADD have been with me every step of the way. They’re professionals, but they are more than that — they’ve seen it all before, been through most of it themselves. They’ve helped me, and they’ve helped my family. And they taught me my biggest lesson, that alcoholism is not a weakness — it’s a disease.
I’m starting to think about what I can do to help other people like me. My heart breaks when I think what my family has been through — my wife, my kids. How great would it be to reach out to other families, to pull them back from the brink, to help take away some of that pain? How great would that be?
— A grateful LICADD client
You literally saved my life. I was headed down the wrong path and you helped me — kicking and screaming — get into treatment. I’ve been clean and sober for a little more than a year and am living life in a way I never dreamed possible.
— Dave, age 19, Manorville
I would like to take this opportunity to thank your staff member, Steven H. Chassman, for helping me in a crisis situation with my son who is a drug and alcohol abuser. Mr. Chassman was not only kind and understanding, he was professional, caring and “right on target” with the situation. I am grateful and thankful that there is LICADD – a place where mothers can go. Thank you.
— A grateful mother from Post Washington
How can someone express the amount of thanks and appreciation as I have for you and for all that you have done? I don’t think I can ever show you the gratitude I have for you and LICADD, as you have helped so much during this hard time for our family and friends.
From our first meeting you made me feel as if you were part of the family and struggling along side of us. I could tell that your concern and compassion were genuine and that you had love for what you do and for helping people understand the problems of drug and alcohol addiction and abuse.
This is something I knew nothing about and felt as if I had no place to go when my cousin was going through the most difficult time in his life. There were times when I thought that every organization in existence that dealt with addiction were only there to make a profit. I called dozens of intervention “companies” and rehabilitation clinics. The reason why I call them companies is because when I called I felt as if I was getting an estimate on a new roof. They had no emotion or understanding. It seemed as if the bottom line was how much they charge and how it is going to be paid for.
Feeling as if I had no other place to go I came across the number for LICADD. When we first spoke I remember hearing the tone of your voice and I somehow knew that you really cared. You listened to my situation completely and I never felt rushed or that you were disinterested in any way. When we met in person those feelings were confirmed. You were the warmest, most caring and most calming person I have met in a long time. While speaking with you I got the feeling that it would all be ok. You explained to me why people get addicted and how it affects their bodies and minds.
You were willing to be completely involved, wanting to meet with myself, friends and family to get a full understanding of the problem. This means the world to all of us. Early mornings, late nights, weekends, you made yourself completely available.
Very rarely in life do you come across people with a heart of gold. You are one of those people. Someone that you can speak to for 5 minutes and feel as comfortable with as someone you’ve known your whole life. This is a special gift you have and I can’t think of a better place for you to use it than at LICADD. The help and support that you provide to families in need is invaluable. With the addiction epidemic growing stronger with each passing year it’s nice to know that there is a place to go and someone like you to turn to.
I know that we have spoke about this in the past, but I just want to remind you that if I can help in any way it would be my honor. It would be my pleasure to volunteer at LICADD and be able to show my deep appreciation for all that you have done.
— Clifford L.
It’s David and I just wanted to let you know that I just celebrated by 100th day clean. Things were terrible earlier this year. I mean they really sucked. I was using heroin every day all day. I was stealing from my parents and running myself into the ground. I remember calling place after place, trying to get some help. I have to be honest – I wasn’t completely ready but I was willing to talk to a counselor in order to shut my parents up. But no-one would talk to me! I couldn’t even get past a secretary. They said I needed to schedule an appointment and that it would take weeks to see a counselor. I was kind of relieved and disappointed at the same time if that makes any sense. I called LICADD and spoke to someone right away. They called my bluff and told me to come down now. I didn’t plan to go, but there I was two hours later spilling my guts. They got me to detox that day and I did 30 days inpatient. I still go to outpatient twice a week. I can’t believe my life now compared to what is was around Christmas time. My recovery is my own, but I owe much of it to you guys for being the first and only ones to reach out a hand.
– David D.