How One Client's Success Encouraged Others on Their Own Journey to Recovery

A few months ago, I was asked to speak with four women, all heroin addicts newly entered into rehab, and encourage them in their recovery. We met at a restaurant near their treatment facility, along with two counselors from their program, one of my drug abuse experts, and a former client now clean and sober.

Seated at the table, we discussed the steps to recovery and the commitment required to succeed. As I was speaking, my attention was drawn to a man several tables away who looked familiar. He was staring at me, and suddenly got up from his table and walked directly toward me. As he approached he held out his hand. I shook it, and he said, “I love you, Mr. Freeberg. You saved my life.”

It was then that I realized he had placed an object in my hand. To my surprise, it was a 26-year AA chip.

To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I asked him to join us and share his story. As the women peppered him with questions, he related in detail the steps and missteps along his road to recovery. It is not coincidental that since that evening, each of the women there that night has successfully continued in treatment. To see this example of long-term success certainly had a positive effect on them. People in rehab refer to these happenings as "God Shots," as if the event was a message from their Higher Power to help them understand the process of sobriety.

This event was not about me. It was about how grateful people feel when they have the courage and determination to successfully deal with their issues. My team and I played a role in that success, but my client from all those years ago deserves the credit for such an amazing accomplishment. As a famous rock star once described his recovery from years of drug abuse, "The road down is shorter than you think. It's the road back that is long." I will be forever thankful for my client's sobriety, and for the encouragement it was to these four women on their own road back.

If you or a loved one is struggling on the road down or needs guidance on the road back, call us. We stand ready to help...