Sunday, January 08, 2012

In My Own Words Essay Contest Winners

NAMA Recovery is proud to announce the 3 winners of the MAT In My Own Words Essay Contest.

The winners were:

1st Darlene DeMore (PA)
2nd Louis Buchhold (CA)
Ian Christenson (MN)

The winners will receive: 1st-$500, 2nd-$250, 3rd-$100.

We are proud to announce that a recordbreaking 128 individuals
from across the US and the UK submitted essays.

And even more proud that so many of you bravely shared your story.

Here Are the Essays

First Place
A New Beginning
Darlene DeMore, Pennsylvania

Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) has supported my recovery from addiction in ways I never expected. Early in recovery my only concern was not feeling sick and having a place to sleep other than the ground or a park bench. When I became pregnant, I was terrified that I would not be able to take care of my child. MAT allowed me to become well, function normally and raise a beautiful, healthy daughter.

I am commonly asked why I have been on methadone maintenance for 14 years and my reply is because it works for me. Sadly MAT is misunderstood and stigmatized in our communities. What most people do not realize is that my medication is only a fraction of what my recovery is about. As with anyone in recovery, I needed therapy, family support, positive people and finding my passion in life. MAT is just that, assisted treatment. It’s a medication I take to treat my disease of addiction. Using drugs was only a symptom of other things I needed to learn how to cope with to be successful.

I continue to be committed to recovery because when I allowed myself to be open to the process and accept my disease I was free. Free to be a loving mother of two, free to contribute to my community, free to share my recovery experiences and free to be a woman I am proud of, honored to be, and will continue to become.

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Second Place
ATTC Essay
Louis Buchhold, California

I’ve been sober for 11 years/6 months. I could have never imagined I could experience even one day free from alcohol/drugs back then. In 8-long years I have never been able to get longer than 30-days sober, being in/out of AA, therapy, and having tried to kill myself. Then I met a psychistrist who saw past that homeless, unemployable, degenerate hope-to-die alcoholic – to a person gripped by a terrible disease with a medical solution.

At that time in 1999 Naltrexone was new. I had tried all the other clearly non-effective recovery methods, what harm could a trial be? MAT moved me for the first time to stop dissociating when triggered. I found myself being completely present, able to stop the addictive process. I got 60-days, after which, like an alcoholic/addict, my self-will tested this MAT by drinking/using. The medication worked. I stayed present and able to be recovery-committed since, knowing it is possible.

I continued taking Naltrexone for 2-years. I went off when I had built enough behavioral tools and support to ensure my ongoing recovery. I continue to live each day only 24-hours at a time, knowing thay I can return to drinking and using tomorrow. If it wasn’t for MAT I would not be here to tell my story. I am grateful that there are medical options to help oeople struggling when all else has failed them.

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Third Place
Medication Assisted Treatment (Buprenorphine / Suboxone)
Ian Christenson, Minnesota

Suboxone saved my life. I’ve been clean and sober since that day 5 years ago when I walked into my doctor’s office beaten down by my addiction and finally asked for help.

At 30 years of age, after 15 years of drug addiction I started Suboxone. I had been attending 12 step groups but after years of heroin and pill addiction, numerous drug treatments, and chronically relapsing I had to do something different. The decision was difficult. Suboxone is controversial and I feared the judgments of others in recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment is a BIG part of my recovery but staying sober depends on more than just medication. I do service work, go to meetings, stay away from drugs/alcohol, and surround myself with supportive people.

Medication-Assisted Treatment is the best decision I had made in a long time. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help from my doctors and the MAT program.

Suboxone has stopped my cravings and preoccupation with getting high. My life is no longer controlled by being high, lying, feeling miserable, then starting the cycle again.

I’m 100 % committed to my recovery. Even though some days are still hard I know I can make it though the tough times. I now have a good job, a house, and a family. Besides all that, I now have something I never thought I could, sobriety and true happiness. I owe a lot of that to MAT.

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