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.

 

matt-clint-at-wedding

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.

the-treehouse-thanksgiving

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.

 

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Carrie Underwood & Brad Paisley duet at our home

Our simple Carrie Underwood & Brad Paisley duet turned into a fiasco with all the kids screaming in the background, the unpredictable rain, the camera falling over and the karaoke machine malfunctions. Is this a joke? Nevertheless, the show must go on. So here’s what we came up with as our Halloween entertainment for trick or treaters.

‪#‎carrieunderwood‬‪#‎bradpaisley‬ ‪#‎nashvillescene‬ ‪#‎Halloween2015‬ ‪#‎karaoke‬ ‪#‎trickortreak‬‪#‎lipsync‬ ‪#‎bloopers‬ ‪#‎thebandperry‬

Elvis didn’t survive this, but my marriage has

Hey everyone!  Thanks for stopping back by my online home.

As you may have read in a few of my recent posts, I have been lucky enough to have been given true gifts of love by my husband of 10 years and our three kids.  The first was winning an unforgettable mommy makeover from Extreme Makeover: Mabry Edition.  The second was being treated like a Princess for a Day when my son asked to take me on a date to the mall where I had to dress up like Elsa from Frozen and he dressed up like Superman.  Both were super special to me so I thought it would only be right to pay it forward and let my husband, John, be THE KING for Valentine’s Day this year.  I can’t wait to reveal the details and photos of our oddest celebration yet, which involves John dressed as Elvis, Costco and 4 lbs of king crab legs.  But before I do, let me explain how my marriage has barely survived and how I’ve come to truly LOVE this holiday.

To me, Valentine’s Day is one of the most important holidays for several simple reasons that most people, maybe even yourself, never fully grasp in their lifetime. But see, I look at life totally different from most; almost backwards in a way.  The way I see it is that LOVE is probably the most highly demanded commodity on the planet.  And the nifty thing I’ve discovered is that it’s absolutely FREE!  It doesn’t cost anything to give your spouse or loved ones a compliment, a hug, or simply to look them in the eye when you’re together instead of your TV or smartphone.

So why is Valentine’s Day so special to me? By every “normal” person’s standard – or the world’s standard for that matter – I should not still be married.  I’m embarrassed to admit this, but there were several years I thought John and I might not ever celebrate Valentine’s Day together again because of our rock and roll marriage.  After stumbling down several rocky paths, we both hit our rock bottoms.  Luckily, God’s gracious hand kept the door from shutting completely.  We have both fought hard to overcome these obstacles so it is an honor that we can celebrate our love for one another once again on February 14, 2015. That is why today I am so adamant about giving this day the respect it deserves.

Blue Suede ShoesLike Elvis, John has struggled for over a decade with alcohol and prescription drug abuse due to several traumatic events that occurred in his life.  Along with the substance abuse came lies making it hard for me to trust him and left me “All Shook Up.”  Truth be told, there have been plenty of days where I thought, “He Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog,” due to some of the stunts he pulled.  I figured that he would be dancing himself right into the “Jailhouse Rock” in his “Blue Suede Shoes” while I moved out and sobbed my way to the “Heartbreak Hotel.”  I don’t know if you know anyone who has suffered from alcoholism or addiction, but it is a relentless disease. It can fade into the background for a while but sneak back up on you in the blink of an eye. By the grace of God, he never ended up in jail but the ongoing rhythm and blues of addiction was an all too common reoccurring theme in our home.

I still struggle daily with my “Suspicious Mind” and often find myself wondering if the demon-ridden addiction has entered back into our home without me knowing.  After the last few relapses I would let him know that “It’s Now or Never” to get his addiction under control before he was living by himself in a sober living facility.  Unfortunately, it got to that point and we separated…while I was pregnant. Elvis had left the building.  We might not have lived together for several months but we still saw each other and talked several times a day.  As we lay in our separate beds at night and talked on the phone we would both usually ask, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”  The answer was usually a yes.  Since he moved back home we have both made the choice to pour our “Heart and Soul” into our marriage while focusing on the positive blessings and not the negative curses.

Rear view mirror

Anyways…the point of Mabry Living isn’t to stare at our past in the rear-view mirror of Elvis’ “Pink Cadillac.”  Our primary focus is on the present moment and having a positive outlook on the future.  Although we’ve had our share of marriage mishaps, my cup is over flowing for my Hunk-a-Hunk-a Burnin Love this year as we gratefully celebrate another Valentine’s Day together.  OK, so enough of this sappy stuff. Let’s have some fun and see how this year’s unforgettable V-Day extravaganza unfolded…

The day started out with me giving THE KING his gift.  Although this particular gift wasn’t free I knew it was something extra special that would catch John off-guard.  I mean, what better way to say “I love you” than with a random gift of a wig, for THE KING.  As I suspected, John loved his new gift.

Elvis Wig

In keeping with our annual V-Day tradition of cooking crabs legs and watching a movie at home, John THE KING had to go to Costco to buy crab legs.  He decided it would be a great idea to wear the wig while shopping.  Let’s just say he looked more like a Las Vegas performer than a father of three kids buying fresh seafood for a romantic dinner with me.  Seeing a one-legged Elvis buying crab legs at Costco made me think, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.”  Seriously, how could I possibly resist that!IMG_3167

Even Sawyer couldn’t figure out why her dad was wearing a wig (check out her face).  Honestly, Sawyer, there is absolutely no good reason.  It’s just your dad being dad.

Check out Sawyer. She's wigging out

Have you ever seen the email forwards titled, “People of Walmart?”  Well, we might have just started the Costco Crazies and THE KING will be the first one. I think it will be a hit. Look, people were lining up to take pictures with him.

IMG_3171

Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected Elvis to buy ME Costco flowers for Valentine’s Day with his precious  entourage.  One of his peeps, my sweet Austin, might have been too busy eating a Styrofoam cup to help select the perfect bouquet. Austin may have earned a spot as the second Costco Crazy.

 IMG_3183  Flower from Costco

John cooking is always an event in our home, but THE KING took it to a whole new level.

Elvis Cooking Crabs

I was starving after getting the kids to bed and started feeling crabby. So I told Elvis, “A Little Less Conversation,” so we could finally sit down to eat while watching our movie fireside.  We ended up watching the Academy Award nominated film, Boyhood. Then John noticed something lodged in my teeth. He said, “Hey babe, you’ve got some crab meat “Stuck on You.” Luckily I had a toothpick handy.  I’m so grateful for being able to spend another Valentine’s Day with John.  I don’t think we’ll forget this one anytime soon.

Feeling Crabby

Considering all we’ve been through I believe we have arrived to our own personal Graceland, at least for today.  Marriage isn’t easy. I have gotten furious at GOD often for continuously giving me signs as why I should stay in our marriage when I really wanted to call it quits.  However, I trust that the best is yet to come for the Mabry family if we can continue to put LOVE for God and our marriage above the distractions of the world.  “How Great Thou Art!”

Have you experienced any marriage-threatening events and wonder how you’re ever going to get through it? If so, you’re not alone. Finding support through trusted family members, a counselor, your church or this forum can help you get though it one day at a time. I would love to hear from you in the comments section below if you’re willing to share.

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