Get help for your addiction now, before it gets worse or it’s too late!

Here’s blog John wrote on the importance of people getting help for their addictions before it’s too late.

Thanksgiving In Treatment: A Major Holiday Away From Family

Nearly one year ago, John graduated from our Texas campus, The Treehouse. This is his first-hand account of spending Thanksgiving at The Treehouse – away from family for the holiday.


Thanksgiving In Treatment: A Major Holiday Away From Family

This time last year, I was receiving treatment at The Treehouse, Addiction Campuses’ facility in Texas – hundreds of miles from my Tennessee home. Being in treatment on Thanksgiving, away from my wife and three kids, was a terrifying thought. But the thought of continuing to spiral out of control in my disease of addiction was equally terrifying.

I have found through personal experience, the absolute best time to go to treatment is right now – whenever ‘now’ is. I learned this through a very painful loss: Several years ago, when my brother was struggling with his own addiction, he didn’t go to treatment ‘right now’. My brother died from addiction on December 6. He did not make it to Christmas that year.

 

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John (right) and his brother, Matt (left).

   “My brother died from addiction on December 6. He did not make it to Christmas that year.”

You may be thinking you will just get through the holidays and get help when things calm down. If you are considering going or sending a loved one to treatment soon, keep reading. This blog could save someone’s life.

For me, when I’m not actively working a recovery program, just the thought of the holidays causes enough angst to want to start using again. When I’m in active addiction during the holidays, I mentally check out and any hope of actually being present around the people I love the most is smashed. I either justify the stress as an excuse to use or I rationalize the celebration and festivities as an excuse to use. Either way, I add chaos to my life and the lives of everyone around me. It is a miserable place to exist. It is lonely, depressing and potentially fatal.

Thankfully, I was not given the choice to stay home for Thanksgiving last year. If it were up to me, I probably would have rationalized that I was not that bad and made excuses not to get the help I desperately needed. My family knew it was a life or death situation and bravely made the decision to put me on a plane to The Treehouse as soon as they saw I needed help. They didn’t want me to die, end up back in the hospital or in any other way ruin the holiday for everyone else. Of course, I was angry about getting sent away. But what I discovered later was that I was really angry at myself and the detrimental choices I made that lead up that point. I could not blame them for only wanting the best for me.

I made some great progress at The Treehouse. But, as Thanksgiving Day approached I hit a low point in my treatment. All of the great memories of holidays past came flooding back. I had countless memories of home cooked meals at my grandparents’ house, playing and watching football with relatives and looking through old photo albums with my cousins. My addictive mind has a great ability to forget all the horrible things I have done and only remembers the good stuff. Conversely, my family primarily recalls the chaos I created in the past and is less apt to remember the positive memories. While at The Treehouse, I was faced with feelings of guilt, shame and remorse. However, I vividly remember the staff telling me and all the clients that the Thanksgiving spread they had planned for us was going to be a memorable one. I figured it was just something they were saying to keep us all from feeling depressed that we were in treatment for such a big holiday. I was not looking forward to it. But sure enough, the loving staff and cooks came through in a huge way.

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Chef Christian Gonzalez features his Thanksgiving spread.

“Being surrounded by others going through the same struggles as me, I felt a part of God’s great plan for my life.”

It wasn’t just the amount of food that was so impressive; it was the quality and care that went into preparing and presenting the meal. It felt like I was diving into a buffet at a country club. Like my family and I would do back home, we prayed over the meal, went back for seconds and thirds, threw the football around outside and watched football on TV. I was able to call home to talk to my wife, kids and parents. I fought back tears after getting off the phone with them, but at least I knew they were safe and everything was okay at home. In fact, things were going more smoothly than if I was there.

In retrospect, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be with a genuinely caring group of people last Thanksgiving. There have been times at family gatherings where I felt alone and separated when in active addiction. Last year, being surrounded by others going through the same struggles as me, I felt a part of God’s great plan for my life. For being away from my home and family on such a big day of the year, I couldn’t have been in a better place. It was nice to see how much care and precision went into every detail of that day for all of us. The staff at Addiction Campuses definitely exceeded my expectations.

“Recovery is the best gift I’ve ever given and received.”

If you or someone you love is considering putting treatment off until after the holidays, I encourage you to get help while you can. My brother did not get the help he needed several years ago and passed away between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We would give anything to have him with us today. Do not keep putting treatment off. This year, give yourself and your family the gift of sobriety. Recovery is the best gift I’ve ever given and received.

John And Family

John and his wife and their three children.

 

Finding fulfillment through family

Check out the latest blog by Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions. A huge thank you to Matt Bulow and his team, who have taken care of all of John’s prosthetic needs for the last 7 years.

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https://www.bulowops.com/success-stories/2016/11/10/mabry-finding-fulfillment-through-family

For John Mabry, the hardest part of being an amputee was overcoming the mental and emotional effects—the physical part was the easy part.

He became a below-the-knee amputee while still in college. During a ride in a friend’s SUV, a right rear tire blew out, causing the vehicle to roll twelve times. John’s legs became crushed from the impact.

“I literally envisioned the remaining seconds of my life as a scene from a 1920’s-style movie reel,” he said.  “However, instead of thinking my movie would end in true love and conquest, the reality was looking more like a conclusion of indescribable fear, terror, and pain.”

John was faced with the choice of another year of surgery and therapy with no guarantee of complete recovery, or to amputate his right leg below the knee.

“Nothing can really prepare you for the moment when you first look down and see an empty space where your leg used to be,” he said.

He said what helped him the most was being able to talk to another amputee, who showed him that life does go on. Just six weeks later, John walked across the stage to receive his bachelor’s degree.

John went on to earn his master’s degree and married his wife, Sarah. He acted in Hollywood for a while, appearing in movies and TV shows as Superbad, NCIS, E.R., JAG, and numerous commercials. He is also credited with inventing a revolutionary product for the prosthetics industry that allows thousands of amputees around the world to live healthier, more active lifestyles.

However, in spite of all these accomplishments, he wasn’t addressing the mental and emotional impacts that his amputation was having on him. He fell into alcoholism, which caused much strife within his family.

Eventually, he sought help for his addition. Today, he says being sober and having a loving family is a greater accomplishment than his inventions or acting ever were. He documents his wacky day-to-day life with his wife and kids on his blog, www.mabryliving.com.

In 2009, he and his family moved from California to Nashville, where he works at Addiction Campuses to help others who struggle with the same issues as he did. When he knew he was moving, he called the first amputee he ever met and asked if he knew any good prosthetists in Nashville. That was how he first came to Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions.

 

To other new amputees, he says, “It isn’t always as easy as they make it look on TV when they show the elite athletes competing. There is a rollercoaster that we go through, both physically and emotionally, that the average person doesn’t understand.”

Reconciling a Relapse by Redecorating

Our Mabry Living room has been a place where we have RE-corded many of our memories. There have been RE-actions to unforgettable moments like when we were RE-warded with healthy children and brought them home from the hospital. It is where we have RE-told joyous moments like seeing the kids scamper to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. It’s here where we can RE-count funny moments like when we thought our dog ran off with a dirty diaper and ate the goods inside (he didn’t, thank goodness). And, there have been seemingly irREconcilable moments such as telling the kids that daddy is going to be gone for their birthdays and Christmas to seek help following a RE-lapse.

When John RE-gressed in his sobriety this time last year and RE-admitted into one of Addiction Campuses’ great facilities, called The Treehouse, I knew I had to stay strong for myself and my kids. It wasn’t a choice to crumble. I HAD to RE-evaluate new ways to keep finding HOPE and JOY. Art and creativity have always been things I’ve RE-turned to as therapeutic RE-leases. So, what better way to RE-kindle hope and joy than RE-decorating my family room with my artwork?

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I wanted to RE-create a room full of light, full of hope,full of encouragement and beaming with love. I started by painting my walls with a RE-freshing color, appropriately called RE-flection, by Sherwin Williams. This lightened the room drastically. With all the decorations down and new paint RE-applied to the walls, I had the blank canvas I needed to RE-create a new beginning for my room, but also for RE-newing my hope and RE-igniting my joy. It was time to RE-create, RE-fresh, RE-juvenate, RE-do and RE-claim ME through my creativity and love for decor.

While John RE-entered treatment, I spent time RE-evaluating “Sarah.”  I RE-cognize that through the busyness of raising three kids and the RE-occurance of addiction in our marriage, I often lose pieces of myself. To RE-engage with my innermost self, I RE-flected on these simple questions:

  1. What brings me JOY? Dogs, kids, art, family, nature
  2.  What brings me HOPE? Scripture, anything angel themed- white feathers, angel wings, halos, rainbows.
  3.  How would I describe my FAITH? RE-newing my trust in GOD when times are difficult and trying to obey his RE-direction of my continually unfolding life.
  4. What does the word LOVE mean to me? This is a very difficult one to RE-call when your world gets flipped upside down. I try to RE-member that, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1  Corinthians 13:4-7

I wanted to RE-create an atmosphere that incorporated my answers to the above questions through RE-decorating. My goal  for this project was to RE-build and RE-store my broken spirit by RE-designing our Mabry Living room.

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  1. I created a cozy dog bed for my RE-scue pups by placing a sheep wool rug under our coffee table. I mixed and match pillow covers from Pottery Barn (sale rack of course).
  2. I RE-purposed a stick I found on a nature walk as a statement piece for my mantel. I decorated it by stringing multi colored beads from it. The teal green jar looks like beach glass. It RE-minds me of my summers spent hunting for colored glass “treasures” along Lake Michigan. My abstract painting was inspired from the Michigan beach where I spend my summers, which I often call, “Heaven on Earth”. Can you tell I love Michigan beaches?!?
  3. I designed the LOVE sign to RE-mind me of the 1 Corinthians scripture.
  4. My angel feather painting allows me to RE-call that God’s angels are always watching over me. I RE-placed our old entertainment center with one from Wayfair.com.
  5. I REad the following quote and knew I had to make an arrow themed piece of work: “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.” This quote RE-news my HOPE for better times ahead.
  6. Canvas painting with a family rule: “As for  me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”Joshua 24:15. I found this piece at Hobby Lobby. I RE-placed the mirror with mirrors from Ballard Design.
  7.  Angel candle holders from John’s grandmother, plus a picture of Michigan that says, “Happy Place,” very fitting.
  8. I added a shell covered end table (Home Goods), an ottoman (West Elm), and changed out our old rug for a new jute rug (Wayfair.com).
  9. I found these angel wings at Hobby Lobby. They were turquoise but I RE-painted them white.

Now for the fun part, BEFORE and AFTER pictures. Who doesn’t love RE-decorating transformation pictures??

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Like RE-making an old, darker room light again, we have the ability to chose to RE-invent ourselves. If these walls could talk, my HOPE is that they would tell you a story of continued RE-commitment, RE-demption and the RE-vival of a soul that has RE-ceived, through God’s grace, the willingness to RE-main open to RE-conciling a marriage following RE-lapse.

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More journaling I haven’t posted due to the chaos of the season #2

These are a short, meaningful posts I’ve recently put up on our Mabry Living Facebook page. I want them to live on this blog as well. Although I journal publicly for others to hopefully gain strength and courage, I write and post the blogs as reminders to myself to live each day with gladness and hope in my heart, no matter what my external life temporarily looks like.

December 4, 2015

December 5, 2015

Last night when I arrived home from my craft show John and I sat down and attempted to converse. It didn’t take long before the conversation went south due to my tongue saying too many words. The discussion was not helpful or healthy for our recovery. I have to give John credit for ending our powwow quickly.

Now is a great time to take what I have learned from reading the Bible and apply it to my everyday life. For example…

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” –James 1:19

This verse is going to take a lot of practice for me! The foolish woman within me want to keep talking while the wise woman within understands the power of my words as well as my silence. There is probably a good reason that the words “LISTEN” and “SILENT” are spelled with the same letters…THINK about it!

So the next time John and I attempt to converse…

I am going to T.H.I.N.K. before I open my big mouth!

T- is it True?

H- is it Helpful?

I- is it Inspiring?

N- is it Nice?

K- is it Kind?

#james1 #quicktolisten #slowtospeak #onestepatatime #learningtoloveagain #healing #recovery #marriage #zipit #thinkbeforeyouspeak

December 7, 2015

I just saw this morning that the band Brothers Osborne received a Grammy nomination for their song, “Stay A Little Longer.”

Back in June, John and I were part of the music video for this song. It was quite a learning experience as I was forced to step WAY out of my comfort zone. This past year I have been diligent about facing any fears that come before me. Lets just say that making out with a camera right up in my business falls into my “fear” category…next on my fear list is public speaking (yikes!). I believe that in order for me to grow as a person, I cannot allow my fears to have a grip on me. Life begins at the end of my comfort zone. Its only when I face my fears that I can bury them for good. Since Mabry Living has a lot of new life cheerleaders following us I thought I would share a blog post I wrote about our experience (music video included in blog).

https://mabryliving.com/2015/10/09/the-behind-the-scenes-of-our-music-video-debut/

#facingfear #goodbyecomfortzone #grammys #brothersosborne #countrymusic #stayalittlelonger

 

December 7, 2015

John and I are taking things one day at a time as we adjust to being around each other again and rebuild our relationship. It isn’t an easy transition by any means. This experience has been extremely humbling and embarrassing for me as I am sure John would agree. I find myself thinking, “are we seriously dealing with active addiction again?!?” I struggle with patience while I crave long term sobriety in our marriage. This journey is hard and it is very sad.

Today, I am clinging to the following Bible verse,

“Always be HUMBLE, GENTLE, and PATIENT while accepting each other in LOVE.” Ephesians 4:2

As hard as this process is, I know humility opens a door for personal growth. Releasing the pain that is weighing me down will allow my broken wings to be healed with LOVE so that one day I can and will FLY again.

I have hope and a sense of peace as I continue to trust God’s plan for my life. I know one day all of these trials will make perfect sense. It’s in God’s timing, not mine…that’s a hard concept for me to grasp. Oh how I wish I could push fast forward on the “life” remote.

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‪#‎patienceisavirtue‬ ‪#‎humble‬ ‪#‎humility‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎recovery‬ ‪#‎ephesians4‬‪#‎lovewins‬ ‪#‎brokenwings‬ ‪#‎addiction‬ ‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬ ‪#‎rebuild‬ ‪#‎reconstruct‬‪#‎hope‬ ‪#‎faith‬ ‪#‎truelove‬ ‪#‎7×70‬ ‪#‎forgiveness‬ ‪#‎sobriety‬ ‪#‎marriage‬


Diamonds in the Rough

A friend of mine posted this saying on her Facebook page today…
“TODAY is a GREAT day to have a GREAT DAY!”

How simple and accurate is this quote?!? It’s not too late in the day to choose happiness and joy.


This morning my family went on a treasure hunt at what I consider to be my “happy” place in Sawyer, Michigan.

  It was just our family as we walked quietly along the wide open beaches. The sun was not shining and mist filled the air but the atmosphere was just as beautiful as it always proves to be…according to me! ☺️


We scanned hundreds of thousands of wet dark rocks in hopes to find a few shimmering ‘diamonds’ in the rough…a.k.a. beach glass. Please understand, beach glass is as precious as diamonds up here in Michigan. We filled our pockets full of loot and filled our hearts with joy in the middle of overcast gloomy weather.


Today turned out to be a great day to have a great day!
HOPE is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness.


#seekjoy #happiness #hope #followthelight #greatlakesgreattimes #treasure #nature

Posts you don’t want to miss! #1

With all of life’s craziness, I’ve gotten behind on my a number of my popular posts. Here are some I’ll string together for you all into a tidy post package…

Mabry Living's photo.

November 29, 2015

My courage and bravery were tested this morning when I saw a little black thing move across my kitchen floor and under my refrigerator. I am pretty sure it was a mouse…and I don’t handle those little critters well at all. I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about them. Eek! I finished cooking breakfast on top of the kitchen counters just in case our new home resident decided to come out and play for a little bit. Today I am thankful for my dad. He doesn’t know it yet but he will be setting traps this afternoon to try to catch that little booger. I pray that the mouse is trapped before my dad heads home tomorrow. Catching mice is a man’s job in my book!‪#‎myweakness‬ ‪#‎keepingitreal‬ ‪#‎morningpanic‬ ‪#‎mansjob‬ ‪#‎mice‬ ‪#‎grossmeout‬‪#‎bedhead‬ ‪#‎makeupfree‬

November 30, 2015

How is it going to be December already tomorrow?!? We decided that tonight was a great time to bring a little holiday cheer into our home. I love when the tree and angel are lit up.🎄

Mabry Living's photo.

The kids and I are entering our 4th week of John being away. Over the last several weeks we have been adjusting to our new normal. It has been a growing experience for all of the Mabry family and I pray we come out stronger because of this transition.

John returns back to the Nashville area on Friday. Being that I have become adjusted to my new normal, I am a little nervous of the upcoming transition of him entering back into our every day lives again. The last time I saw John at the beginning of November was a day I wish I could erase from my memory. He was not healthy, addiction had stolen his soul. I plan to continue living one day at a time upon his return. I know TIME will be our friend as we slowly adapt once again.

Its always hard to know who the person is going to be when they come back from treatment. I am praying that the man I pick up from the airport greets me with clear eyes and a renewed spirit. Hopefully we will both be able to see clearly now that the rain is gone!

Who knows, it could be a bright, bright, bright sunshiny day!

‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬‪#‎onedayatatime‬‪#‎sobriety‬‪#‎healing‬‪#‎recovery‬‪#‎seekjoy‬‪#‎alcoholism‬‪#‎substanceabuse‬‪#‎prescriptionpills‬‪#‎hope‬‪#‎prayerwarriors‬‪#‎addiction‬

December 2, 2015

I love seeing God’s work in progress. A new circle of friendship has blossomed! This morning I hosted a little get-together with new friends that I met by sharing my journey through Mabry Living. These ladies are walking along a similar “valley” in their own lives. I believe our paths were meant to cross, it was no accident. All of us are wounded and are leaning on our faith by trusting God’s plan for our futures. It was nice to witness our pain shift to power as we sat and encouraged one another with hope. We have already decided to call ourselves, “The Valley Girls.” Like new adventures, I never know what life lessons these new friendships may teach me as we continue to support each other one day at a time!


Today I am thankful for friendships-old and new. Like I used to sing when I was a Girl Scout in the 80’s, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.”
‪#‎valleygirls‬ ‪#‎newfriendship‬ ‪#‎hope‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎encourage‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬‪#‎friendship‬ ‪#‎godsplan‬ ‪#‎trust‬

Mabry Living's photo.
December 3, 2015

Today marks the Eve of John’s return to the Nashville area from treatment in Texas. I am still anxious about reuniting with him tomorrow morning at the airport. It’s always awkward to see him after treatment. It’s kind of like going on a first date with someone you never met before yet having the guy be your husband and the father of your kids. What will he look like? How will he act? Will we get along? Oh Lordy, I don’t feel ready to ‘date’ again and rebuild from ground zero.

I never liked dating. It was not something I desired…like EVER! It makes me so uncomfortable. Seriously, look at how silly John and I look in this picture! It’s hard to tell if we are siblings on a family vacation or a couple. We definitely respected each other’s personal space. Don’t even get me started on my pants! This was taken on one of our first dates back in 2002 when John lived in San Diego.

From what I heard, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. So, cheers to attempting to fall in love for the 35th time throughout 11 years of marriage (that may or may not be an exaggeration). Prayers will be necessary for this love story.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬ ‪#‎loveispatient‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎recovery‬‪#‎1corinthians13‬ ‪#‎firstdate‬ ‪#‎addiction‬ ‪#‎substanceabuse‬ ‪#‎alcoholism‬‪#‎prescriptionpills‬ ‪#‎learningtoloveagain‬ ‪#‎7×70‬ ‪#‎forgiveness‬

December 4, 2015

When I was in college I had a framed picture of John on my nightstand…because that’s what you do when love is in the air. The frame (with hearts on it) joined me in Tx, moved with me to California and then onto Tennessee. Eight years ago, a baby intercom took over the frame’s home on my nightstand. It now resides in a drawer full of other unused framed pictures.

Mabry Living's photo.

Since John left for treatment, Sawyer has been sneaking into that drawer on numerous occasions retrieving the framed photo. I have observed her saying “Dada” while pointing at his face and then giving the picture a kiss. It’s pretty sweet to witness! I think it’s safe to say that the kiddos are ready to see their daddy!

I got the boys off to school and now Sawyer and I are getting ready to drive up to the airport to get John. Carrie Underwood’s lyrics keep coming to my mind…

🎶“Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go”🎶

It’s time for me to LET GO AND LET GOD do his mighty work. I’m trusting that he’s got things under control.

***side note…I wrote a lot of this post last night knowing that this morning was going to be hectic. This morning I woke up to TWO people sending me encouraging messages that included the lyrics to “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Coincidence, I think not!

‪#‎letgoandletgod‬ ‪#‎onedayatatime‬ ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎recovery‬ ‪#‎wifeofanaddict‬‪#‎reunite‬ ‪#‎trust‬ ‪#‎marriage‬ ‪#‎learningtoloveagain‬ ‪#‎jesustakethewheel‬

Mabry Living's photo.

Thought you knew everything about us? Here’s our story of presented in a way you’ve never seen or heard it

Check out this short, powerful video the amazing people at Redemption City Church put together on the struggles and redemptive nature of John’s journey. Life throws us all extremely difficult choices and we don’t always make the right decisions when faced with adversity. But, we can be forgiven by a God who loves us more than we can comprehend. Grab a tissue and click PLAY.

Redemption Story