Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Freedom

When we moved into our newly renovated space at The Coleman Institute, one of the fun jobs I got to do was calligraphy some phrases on the walls of the treatment rooms. Dr. Coleman chose to have the first 3 Steps from the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book in three rooms, the Serenity Prayer in a 4th room, and a beautiful simple promise from the AA Big Book in the 5th room: We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

When I read this saying, I think especially about Molly, who completed a detox from heroin earlier this year.

Molly was using a lot of heroin, “3 bags at a time” she continued to remind us as she fearfully went through her screening. She was quite sure we would not be able to medicate her enough to get her through her detox. She came with her mother. Their story was not unusual to us.

Molly had grown up in a good loving home and had thrived in high school. She was a cheerleader and an excellent, promising student with college in her future. A few wrong choices (this won’t be a stretch for most of my readers) and at age 24 Molly was prostituting for heroin. After many attempts to help her daughter in every possible way, her mom finally had to let Molly go her own way.

A year had passed with no communication between them. Molly had given birth to a son 16 months earlier. When her son was taken away from her and placed in foster care, Molly crashed. She called her mom who showed up within the day and they came here for an accelerated opiate detox and naltrexone implant.

I spoke to Molly yesterday. She has immersed herself in the 12 Step Recovery process. She is devoted to earning the right to be a mother to her son. She still has occasional bouts of post acute withdrawal, but her sponsor has 24 years of recovery under her belt, and is helping her avoid the landmines.

Molly is beautiful on the inside and outside. I am hoping on one of her visits from upstate NY, she’ll bring her son, who has her green eyes and long lashes. She is truly on her way to manifesting the promise of “a new freedom and a new happiness”.

Joan Shepherd

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