Todd's Recovery Story | The Palm Beach Institute
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Todd’s Recovery Story

“Almost everything that came out of my mouth was a lie to protect my disease,” says Todd, a Case Manager at The Palm Beach Institute (PBI). Well dressed, neatly groomed and highly articulate, I’m struck by Todd’s words. Once defined by lies and addiction, Todd’s reality is now defined by truth and his relationship with a higher power. As Case Manager at PBI Todd acts as advocate, interventionist and aftercare/discharge planner.

The lies began long before Todd started drinking. They began with Todd’s parents, who were both addicts. Raised in an atmosphere of chaos, instability and addiction, young Todd was not developmentally ready to deal with his parents’ disease and the trauma it created. So, Todd did what many children do, he adapted to his surroundings and situation the best he could. He stuffed his feelings and bore the weight of secrets no child should have to carry.

“Our secrets make us sick. When we stuff our feelings the subconscious eats away at us from deep inside.”

By the time he was 11 years old, Todd began drinking as a means to escape. A young child, with two parents afflicted by the disease of addiction, Todd knew no other way to cope with his feelings of sadness, loneliness, fear and anger. Over the years Todd spiraled further and further into despair as his alcoholism progressed into heroine abuse. A full blow alcoholic, heroin and cocaine user, Todd found himself lying and stealing to feed and protect his disease. In and out of detox and rehab five times, Todd’s life seemed destined to follow the tragic path of so many he grew up with…. a path that led to either death or prison.

“Little things mean so much to me now.”

12 years after his first drink, at age 23, Todd entered detox for the sixth time. Homeless for over a year, alienated from friends and family, and ‘tired of being sick-and-tired’ Todd was determined to make it work this time. And he did. During his 78 days at the drug and alcohol rehab facility Todd began to finally face feelings that he had locked away for years. With the support of his therapists, fellow addicts and mentors, Todd was able to work through emotional pain, physical pain, and the pain of withdrawl within a safe and healing environment. After leaving the rehab center he stayed fiercely committed to sobriety, found a sponsor and completed 90 meetings in 90 days. No longer on a path of destruction, Todd now walks with his head high and his heart at peace. Todd tells me that the 12 step program is not just rehab. “It’s a lifestyle” he declares. Then, with a serene demeanor, Todd says, “Little things mean so much to me now. I can get up and go to work every day and love what I do. I pay all my bills on time, and am able to support my wife and two children.” The pride and gratitude in his voice clearly indicate that Todd truly appreciates the many gifts he now enjoys as a result of sobriety.

“I used to wonder why… why me? I understand now.”

I asked Todd why the sixth time in rehab worked for him, while all his previous rehab efforts failed. The answer he gave was simple, “I never gave rehab a chance before. I always wanted to leave something out…to do it my way.“ Like so many addicts in recovery, Todd’s success is a direct result of him realizing that to heal he needed help. To recover he needed to put his faith in something higher than himself; to trust the program; and to accept the outreached hands that so eagerly wanted to help.

As we wrap up our talk together Todd leaves me with one last thought, “I used to wonder why… why me? I understand now. My experience prepared me for my purpose in life; helping others. I’m able to give back and help other people get through I went through in the past.”

Just as addiction is a disease that can be tragically passed from one generation to the next, recovery is a healing that is lovingly passed from one addict to another. Through a structured residential 12 step based program like PBI’s Olive House program, people like Todd are able to transform their lives. Then, pass the gift of recovery on to the next person in need.

Recovery is hard work that requires honesty and commitment. But for those who are willing to open their hearts and minds, recovery brings many wonderful gifts.

Take a moment, right now to be honest with yourself.

Are you happy with the way things are in your life? If the answer is no, pick up the phone and call PBI today.

Open yourself to hope, healing and happiness.

Call us now at 800.433.5098.

One Response to “Todd’s Recovery Story”

  1. Kathy S

    I can so relate to Todd’s story. Your story made me cry with happiness and hope.

    I have been a hard core drug addict for almost 15 years. Cocaine, crack, heroin, pills (uppers and downers 14 years of benzos and opiods), pot. Pretty much whatever I needed to get through whatever and trying to control a sleep cycle, and get through faking to everyone that I am perfectly normal and pulling it off.

    For me, sleep and mood has a lot to do with why I use. I try to control those two things constantly.


    I am 41 WF and just stopped a methadone maintenance program pretty much cold turkey after exactly one year. Everyone said I was crazy and now on day 8, I get that.

    I am crazy. WTH was I thinking. So arragant, I was dosing down 10 mg a day from 90 mg down to 30 mg and cold turkey stopped. I hadn’t even broken a sweat, those methadone junkies are a bunch of cry babies I proudly told the clinic on my last day. I’m too ashamed to tell them they were right I can’t even bring myslef to call them; how stupid is that? I keep saying I’ll do it later.

    For me right now in this mode, later means never. I can’t beleive how lazy and disorganized I am now. Why can’t I just F-ing give up??? Like Todd described, maybe I have the gift of desperation. I hope I do because this is hell and I know I am going to die if I don’t stop.

    I always tried to stop to get things back. Newsflash: My son is away in college, (Thank you God, he is the perfect child even with me as a mother and loosing his father to a DUI at 2 years old.)He is doing so well I couldn’t wish for more. He is ok. He doesn’t need me anymore. My partner has accepted the fact that I am a junkie and he has never done a drug in his life. He has been in this thing with me for 5 years but he is tired too. The truth is, no one cares if I use or not, and I have enough money to do it (for now anyway). I can’t get high no matter what I do, I am in hell! The only one ultimately who can make or break this is me. Everyone else will be ok regardless. I’m not in trouble. No one is asking me to do this. Is that the gift of desperation? I mean why use? I’ll just be sick again, rippin and roaring. I’m too tired to do it anymore.

    Bottom line, I have tried everything and my way is not working.

    For the record, this is the most hellish detox ever. Worse than benzos. I quit those after 14 years of use and shook for over a month when I went ON methadone. No pills for almost the whole time and no desire to. Well, no desire to do ANYTHING. I just checked out emotionally. I was wrong when I called the methadone clients crybabies, saying they were exaggerating their symptoms to get more drugs. I was so wrong.

    Look who is crying now Bi**ches. So fricking smart. I know everything, do it MY WAY. Todd’s explanation about giving up his will hit me in his story. Am I smart enough to do that? My track record certainly doesn’t show that. I was in the rooms for nearly 10 years at least 3 times a week. I have been through the steps with three different sponsors and have sponsored others. But I wasn’t done, I couldn’t let go of my pills, my pot, my SOMETHING. I still can’t. I am not dead because in addition to learning what to do not to use, I watched a lot of people make mistakes and die. But I am stubborn. If there was a way to use with impunity I would find it.

    I have never been sober longer than 11 months. I am 41 and have been “trying to quit” since I was 27 years old. I have been using KNOWING I am an addict for a long time and I have seen a lot of stuff. I’ve seen a lot of death. I lost track of how may funerals I have been to for my addict friends. In a period of the last 3 years I lost every using partner to this disease. I’m the last one standing.

    I cried all day today, I’m climbing out of my skin, and I am scared to death. The last time I slept I dreamt I died from an overdose and landed in hell/purgatory. I remember all of it with such clarity and have never been so scared.

    I haven’t slept since that nightmare.

    I haven’t slept in two days and I cry all the time. I feel everything and everything hurts. I could go back, I am pretty high functioning. I have a home a car a boyfriend a good job and enough money in the bank to get high but I can’t get high anymore. I am either asleep or deathly ill without methadone and so disconnected on it that I am on the verge of loosing everything including my mind. Its like a cruel joke, I figured out a way to use, get away with it, and afford it. And now I can’t even do it anymore. I go between laughing amd crying at the irony as the days pass. I have lost my sons father, my mother, my step father, and my best friend of 20 years to this disease.

    I’m just tired. I’m so sick, so tired, so done. I beleive with all my heart that I will be dead in less than a year if this behavior continues. Methadone was successful, sort of. It made me an even more functional alcoholic and addict in a way, I could cover everything from everyone. But now, I can’t do it anymore. I’m so tired.

    Thanks for reading, and thank you Todd for your story. Can I do this? Am I out of my mind and just torturing myself doing it this way? I will go through the pain of this detox as long as I am not being stupid. I’ll do anything. Please help. Thank you.


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