What Is Alcoholism? The term alcoholism gets thrown around a... Read More
Written By Legacy Healing Center - Sep 8 2020
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During active addiction, Dennis Feinstein’s life was the epitome of chaos. His need to consume drugs spiraled to the point where he could no longer care for his children. “I was homeless, my family stopped talking to me, my wife died in active addiction,” he said.
Dennis’s parents took over his parenting responsibility, and his relationship with his children and his family became non-existent. Although he would come to his parent’s house under the guise of asking for food, his parents knew better.
“My parents would only let me in the house if my kids were awake and right there. My daughter would run to her room to hide her piggy bank from me. The only part of that that bothered me was that I may not be able to find it.”
In a word, Dennis’s life was spiraling. “I just didn’t care. I needed to get away with what I got.”
Although the pieces of Dennis’s life were falling all around him, he still did not want to get clean. He did everything he could to try to find a way to meet his need for drugs.
“That is where my disease took me.”
Like many people who struggle with substance abuse, Dennis realized he needed to take action to get himself off the streets.
“I tricked myself into recovery. I wanted a roof over my head, and I didn’t want to get sick. I still wanted to get high, I just didn’t want to have to.”
Dennis thought he would be able to recover from drug abuse in his own way. He knew he needed to take certain steps to get away from the drugs. However, he was not completely convinced he needed to give up his addiction completely. Dennis thought he could lower his drug tolerance and still be able to maintain a normal life.
“I was going to grow spiritually and get high at the same time. I was going to be the first one to do it.”
For Dennis, the turning point didn’t come all at once. He realized that he wanted a roof over his head and that he didn’t want to be sick from withdrawal. Like a lot of addicts early on he thought he could negotiate his own version of recovery, he thought he’d try to cut down on his use and he decided rehab was required to do it. An old friend came to pick him up to bring him to detox.
“For me, that’s heroic. He showed up right then and there. He looked at me and had a big genuine smile on his face. My friend said, “You know today is the first day of your life.” When he asked his friend how he could ever repay him, he said, “just help the next addict that comes along.”
Dennis’ journey toward sobriety was not always an easy one. At some point he realized he had no idea who he was. But recovery began to introduce him to himself.
“My disease manifested in so many ways. I was a junkie; I was a liar, and I was a thief. I put the drugs down, and I’m not a junkie anymore, but I’m a liar and a thief who is no longer comfortable lying and stealing. I had no choice but to start to work steps.”
Dennis took his journey toward recovery at his own pace.
“Just do it slowly. Do a question a day, two questions a day. I never got deeper than that. I would do one or two questions because I wanted to be thorough,” Dennis said.
Although Dennis was starting to put in the work toward his recovery, he still was not convinced of the process. He did what he was told on his recovery journey because he was scared. He did not want to be homeless again.
“I still wanted to get high, I just didn’t want to have to.”
One of the significant aspects of recovery that Dennis struggled with was learning more about his identity.
“I didn’t dislike myself; I just didn’t know myself. I tried to be whoever I was around. I tried to be you, not me. Wherever that took me.”
Ironically enough, this stance played a pivotal role on Dennis’ recovery. During a meeting, a fellow attendee spoke about how his sponsor told him that he was not allowed to make any decisions within the first year of recovery; he was only allowed to take suggestions.
“I liked the reaction that he got from the group.”
A few days later, Dennis made the same announcement to a different group, even though he didn’t have a sponsor at the time. It was a declaration that remained with him as he undertook his journey to work through the 12 Steps.
Dennis took his friend’s words, “just help the next addict that comes along,” to heart. He now serves as the Client Outreach and Alumni Coordinator for Legacy Healing Center and works tirelessly to connect with current and past patients in an impactful way. He looks back on his experience of his friend dropping him off at detox as a life-changing one and relishes the day, 17 months after he entered detox, when he first did the same for another homeless man.
Today Dennis lives a fulfilling life. He’s learned who he is as an individual and accepts himself fully. He has close and supportive relationships with his family and his message is simple, “just keep coming back”. He encourages those struggling with substance abuse to turn to Legacy Healing Center for help.
“The entire PHP, from the minute they walk into the door, they are greeted with a high-five,” he said. Dennis credits this personal approach as to why the Legacy Healing Center is uniquely different from other facilities. “The minute they get to Legacy, they are treated differently. You are greeted like a family member walking into our home.”
Part of Dennis’s job is to create events and activities for Legacy alumni. “You come to Legacy for treatment, but you also get a built-in support group the minute you get there because of the family approach that we have.”
“It’s not like a treatment facility you come to [where] you do your 30 days. You stay clean, or you don’t, and you’re gone, and you’re done. With Legacy, the minute you step foot in our program, you are a part of Legacy for life,” Dennis said.
If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction, call Legacy Healing Center today to learn how we can help you get on the road to successful recovery and a happy fulfilling life. Call 888.534.2295. Our intake specialists are available 24/7 and calls are completely confidential.