Returning to The Field
Working with clients that suffer from addiction and all of the co-occurring issues that come with addiction is indescribably rewarding and incredibly taxing. We have the duty and the privilege to walk with families through this journey. And there is no “silver bullet” answer to cure the disease of addiction. We have seen a lot through the years and the outcomes run the gamut from miraculous to tragic. Recently I had the pleasure of welcoming a former client back to the field so he could share his experience, strength and hope with group 3 here at Cascades. Upon returning back to the front country we discussed how all of this has turned out. We chuckled as he shared, “Yeah man… this wasn’t the plan”. We hear this a lot. It is a part of my story as well. I am supposed to be teaching high school history and coaching wrestling somewhere. Alas, my plan didn’t pan out and I couldn't be more grateful for that fact. I think of Joseph Campbell’s words, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” That is what recovery means to me… If I let go of “my plan” and become honest, open and willing there is no telling what kind of amazing gifts I might find… granted they are amazing gifts that no one ever wanted. This just wasn’t the plan.
This is Peter’s summary:
I vividly remember first driving out to the field in the Evoke operated burgundy Suburban. The first time that I understood the comforts of the real world were soon to become a luxury to me was when we arrived at my first campsite. The few days I spent in detox seemed like a five star hotel to me juxtaposed to the mud brown tarp I would call home for the next few months. At the time, those days, weeks, and months seemed like eternities to me. Little did I know exactly a year later to the day, I would be driving back out to the Evoke field area with a year sobriety, a good job in Beverly Hills, a relationship with my family, and more friends that I could have ever asked for.
The nostalgia I felt was overwhelming when I first walked up to one of the camp sites my group was at less than a year earlier. Observing the group members as a fly on the wall was surreal. I saw a version of myself in these guys, and was brought back to the time that I spent out in the desert in Oregon for the first couple months of my sobriety. The fear, confusion, anxiety, and insecurity all materialized through defiance, frustration, apathy, and any other defects of character that served to protect the fragile ego that I had developed for myself over the years that I spent in my addiction. This was Ground Zero. At Evoke they found the chink in the Armor that was my ego and this program served as a mirror, and this mirror was the Kryptonite to my calloused ego.
For such a long time I had identified myself and had found a false pride in the shadowy aspects of my character. I thought I was cool for my abilities to take copious amounts of drugs. I was also under the delusion that this was an “ability.” I thought I was tough, that I was immortal, and that I was impervious to affliction. But this place took all of that away. It gave me the gift of seeing myself without all the distractions of the real world which ultimately led to my newfound desire to live a sober lifestyle.
This program gave me the desire to want to get sober. I came to Evoke simply wanting to dry out and make my parents happy, but I soon learned that there may be a better way to live. Evoke planted the seed of sobriety in me and got me to a point where I became willing to continue on in my sobriety. Because of Evoke I became willing to go to an aftercare program in California. Being from the Midwest I went to Evoke with the idea that I was going back to Ohio when I was done. But today I am thrilled with the decisions that I made to move and start my life over in a new city and community.
Today I have exactly thirteen months sober and have a solid support group comprised of the people who are in the program with me. The life I lived before coming to Evoke is a chilling nightmare that will forever haunt me. But today I feel so far removed from it that I am not willing to throw it away. None of this would be possible if it was not for Evoke and the work I did there. I will forever be grateful for what I learned there and the people I encountered on my journey.