“I have potential, and I’m proud!” – A Powerful Client Story
by Michael Walsh
The toughest part of this story was where to start. I suppose I will start with the moment I met Michael Walsh.
It was early August 2020, I’m not sure the exact date but it would have been around the 7th, so we’ll say it was then. I had just quit smoking cigarettes, (I quit on August 2/2020), and I was freshly out of the craving stage and was feeling sort of empowered on the day I met with Michael, at a local Victoria coffee shop near Uptown shopping centre. I still remember walking across the parking lot and seeing him outside with sunglasses on — it didn’t take long at all before we were in deep conversation, me on the verge of tears, merely scratching the surface of my life and current situation. I was done with the way I had been living my life, for the most part at least. I was ready to give up basically everything, but not quite everything. It had been years since I’d spent a day not altering my consciousness with a substance, and I wasn’t quite ready to do that, I honestly didn’t think I could do it. A day or two maybe, but for weeks, months, possibly years? No fucking chance. I agreed to meet with Michael on a weekly basis, as well as connecting with Psychologist Dr. Michael Berry. This went on for a few months, I was making some progress, but not nearly enough, I wasn’t abstaining from use, nor was I following through on dealing with the root of my problems.
By November 2020, I had stopped seeing Michael, as well as Dr. Berry. I was satisfied with the small amount of progress I had made and wasn’t willing to take the next steps needed to actually facilitate some major change in my life. By mid to late December, I had basically relapsed to my old self, had stopped going to work, and was basically back in my old comfortable hole that I had spent years digging myself into. The dirt walls surrounding me, were my shield, how I hid from my friends, my family, for judgement was my biggest guilt. Hiding from it, instead of actually making steps to progress myself out of this fear, seemed easier, I had been doing it for many years, I was content with it. Skipping ahead to early January, the night of the 8th to be specific. My mother peered into my dirt hole of a room that I was living in, with tears in her eyes she told me that she had planned a meeting for me in the morning at 10am. I quickly agreed and focused my attention back to my video games. I could tell there was more to what she was telling me, but just getting her out of my space seemed better than actually asking what was happening, I never looked more than a few hours ahead. Short term gain for long term pain was basically my motto. I went to bed that night in great fear.
That next fateful morning I woke up hearing the familiar sounds of Michael Walsh in my family home, I knew whatever was coming would not be enjoyable. We proceeded to have a ‘meeting’, I would argue it was more of an intervention, whatever it was, turned out to be the choice of change.
By the end of the meeting, I had the option to just keep doing what I was doing, living in addiction, with no prospects of a future, a family, a life. Or to take 50 days and go to a treatment centre called Edgewood up Island in Nanaimo. On the surface I would say I didn’t have an option to say no, but what really made me go was a moment where I was talking to my sister on Zoom, (she lives in Europe), and I caught myself in the reflection of the laptop. My sister was almost in tears whilst I had zero emotion on my face, nothing. I had an out of body experience some would say, and I just was thinking “look at you, you can’t even find it in you to care, what is wrong with you?!” I knew then that I had to go.
My time at Edgewood was essential for building confidence in speaking my mind, over 50 days I proceeded to talk about my life, my shortcomings, my deceit, everything that was holding me where I was. I realized that without being open about my past, and my mistakes, that I was just letting it bury me in the ground, in my hole. I used to think that since I had done so many wrongs, I deserved to punish myself forever for it. I learned that my family just wanted to see me move forward, they didn’t want me to just give up and stay miserable. They loved me, despite my flaws and mishaps. I learned how truly lucky I am, that I was holding myself back for reasons I had concocted in my imagination. I learned that I can easily go through life on life's terms, without substance, without escapes. Facing life actually is rewarding, the positive feelings I receive from productivity, and facing fears and challenges, are extremely motivating. My fear of failure was an illusion my mind would focus on, I saw it as an end, when failure is just a part of the circle of learning. It’s essential. I now know how confident I can be, how much I care about others, and how others truly care about me, which is really special.
In the past 7 months of sobriety, I have found my own place to live, have a loving family that cares about me, I have friends back in my life that I had pushed away for years, I have a beautiful girlfriend who’s nothing but supportive, I’ve cleared up all my financial debt, I have potential, and I’m proud of that.
If anyone reads this, if you need help, you may not want it in the moment, for many reasons. I urge you to reach out to Michael, or to someone, because just holding it in, that feeling, will never go away. It sucks to deal with, but man is it fucking worth it. I’m so damn thankful that I had the help that I did, so please, reach out.
Creating an Empowering Recovery Plan
It can be overwhelming trying to decide what’s best for you and how all the pieces fit together into an actionable support plan.
Having someone with personal and professional experience as your guide makes the whole dang process a lot less overwhelming. As a recovery coach, I help build an empowering recovery plan that supports you in building a substance-free life you love.
If you’re ready to explore the potential of working together, I’d love to chat. Michael is based in Victoria British Columbia Canada and as of June 26, 2022 the other Recovery Coaches on the team are based in Nanaimo, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Because we all work virtually — we can work with anyone no matter what city, province or country around the world. We have clients in Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, New York City, Denver, Nashville, Berlin, Tel Aviv, London, Singapore and Australia.
— Michael Walsh
This story gratefully written by a 29 year old client who has a great future ahead of him.