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A Healing Place success story

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 11:35 PM

Paul McDanald is a graduate of The Healing Place, a substance abuse treatment facility in Huntington's East End. Here is his story:

The second time I ever drank alcohol I ended up in the Intensive Care Unit with alcohol poisoning. I almost died. I was in a blackout for about 8 hours. Even though I was walking around and talking to people, I cannot recollect any of it. I was 13 years old. My drinking subsided for a while from fear, but I started using drugs.

The drug use progressed until I found myself sitting in my 93-year-old grandmother's house three days after Christmas realizing that I hadn't seen a family member for 3 months or so.

I was alone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my 31st birthday. My grandmother was in the hospital for pneumonia and we weren't sure if she was going to make it and I still couldn't quit stealing from her to support my habit.

Something happened and I went to detox Dec. 29, 2010. I didn't really want to quit using but I did want the pain and consequences to go away. I felt so guilty for all of the bad things I had done to such good people. I finally realized that I was not alone for the first time and that other people had done what I had done, but they had been around a while and their families were talking to them. They had smiles on their faces that seemed sincere. The people that facilitated classes at The Healing Place of Huntington had all been through the same program I was in. They had felt the same as I do and had been where I was. I wanted what they had so for the first time in my life. I didn't have all the answers. I began to listen to what they had done. I went to meetings and got a sponsor. We worked steps together. I became OK with who I was and what I had done because I realized I wasn't a bad person, but a sick person.

Today I have paid back my grandmother for the things I stole from her and I am allowed in each of my families houses. I work as a recovery coach for Prestera Center and volunteer at The Healing Place. I get to see the new guy that comes into detox and I remember what I felt like the day I came in. I am enrolled in college and will finish my degree online while working. None of this would have been possible without the opportunity I have had at The Healing Place of Huntington which I am eternally grateful for.