Client’s Story - For Real!

by Michael Walsh

“Client’s Story - For Real!” - article by Michael Walsh

Recovery Coaching helped changed my life. For 8 years I had been in steady recovery from a substance use disorder and with my anxiety and depression under control. In the summer of 2019 I relapsed. My wife, who is very supportive and understanding, was considering whether it would be best for my recovery, for her and our children — to end our marriage.

Interestingly, this was all happening in the middle of some very positive events. Before my relapse, our marriage was fairly healthy, our young adult and teenage kids were doing great, and I had just succeeded in moving a new business venture past a major milestone with a financial windfall around the corner. Apparently relapse can spring back to life in good times and bad. I felt vulnerable once again, confused as to why I had failed and the way forward seemed very unclear.

I was told about a Recovery Coach named Michael Walsh. 

"My initial meeting with Michael was not dramatic. I appreciated that he didn't over-promise or hit me with hype and emotion. A key part of our conversation was to establish some basic goals with a realistic timeline. The initial goal was to try and stay abstinent for one month. I remember driving away feeling a glimmer of hope — knowing that I needed to be realistic and take responsibility."

My life is busy and complex; a full time career plus a new business venture outside of that, marriage, kid’s schools and sports, investments, debt — as well as periods of depression and anxiety compounded by the ups and downs of trying to find an effective medication. I felt relieved when Michael assured me that we would deal with all those things in the coming months but for now I should just focus on not drinking or consuming drugs for 30 days. Michael suggested connecting with Psychologist Dr. Michael Berry in Victoria, B.C. to help with underlying issues that were unresolved and so I did that. At a certain point Michael recommended I work with his colleague Dylan and that we alternate coaching styles. I did that. 

After re-establishing my sobriety we began to work on other things. I am goal oriented and usually discontent with the status quo. I find it difficult to get organized and figure out my priorities. My brain tends to think obsessively about some fantastic goal or idea then swing wildly back to thoughts of failure, fear and self-doubt. Obviously that is a dangerous emotional cycle for someone prone to addictive behaviours — and escaping to the shallow numbness of alcohol and drugs can seem attractive. Michael and Dylan helped me to do an audit of my life, prioritize the important things, and put a one, three, six, nine and 12 month plan in place. 

One of the initial exercises that Michael had me do was a cost-benefit analysis of using drugs and alcohol. I have returned to this page a few times to remind myself that life is way better now and full of hope and true contentment, compared to the false promise of an escape to booze and drugs.

Michael and Dylan pointed me towards some tools and provided some solid advice along with built in accountability. They didn't hold my hand or try to manipulate me. My recovery coaches are there to guide me and encourage me but I know I have to step up, make good decisions and do the work. The future comes one day at a time. Setting attainable goals, determining a realistic timeline and planning each step, has moved me forward not just in my recovery but in the other important parts of my life. Today life is really good and I am at six months of complete abstinence as of May 2020.

This blog post was written by the client and posted by Michael.