By 2009, I had already been dealing with chronic pain for a few years, due to playing football in college. But that year, something changed. What had been everyday aches and pains, became a daily barrage of neck pain and migraines. At the same time, I was dealing with a very stressful work environment and personal depression. To cope with these struggles, I started to rely on prescription medications and alcohol to alleviate my physical and emotional pain.
As my addiction progressed, the pain and depression that I was experiencing also worsened. I saw doctor after doctor, and no one seemed to know how to help me with my physical and emotional problems.
I hid my addiction from everyone and became someone I didn’t want to be—dishonest and burdened with so much pain. I felt so much shame and guilt about my substance use that I didn’t know how to reach out for help. I isolated myself from my friends and family and avoided anyone who wanted to help. Unfortunately, I couldn’t face the demons that seemed to be set out to destroy me on my own.
By 2011, my neck pain had gotten much worse, and my mental state was deteriorating too. Everyday activities were challenging. I struggled at work and at home.
Finally, I was diagnosed with an infection at the top of my spinal cord that was affecting my brain function. My family was so anxious and worried. I had difficulty walking, and I fell often, which would cause me to continually re-injure my neck. It was a cycle of madness and chaos. This cycle ultimately culminated in a pair of life-saving emergency surgeries, which preserved my life but made the pain even worse.
After the surgeries, I couldn’t walk, talk, feed myself, or even think straight. I went through many months of neurological rehab, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Even as I recovered physically from my brain and spinal cord injuries, my addiction kept getting worse. I wasn’t able to work during this time and lost my job, which just discouraged me further.
About ten months after the surgery, my depression was so bad, and I felt so lost. I still struggled with the neurological implications of my injuries. My mental and physical pain was so severe that I decided I wanted to end my life. Thankfully, my wife became aware of my intention and put a rescue plan into action. I left my house in an ambulance and was placed on a 72-hour psych hold. I landed in a psychiatric facility, where I was able to detox from the drugs and alcohol and get a little bit of perspective on the depression that was plaguing me. It was just enough to convince me to go to addiction rehab.
In rehab, I learned about the addiction, why it was happening, and what the physical, mental, and emotional components of it are. I started working on healing my shame and guilt. I accepted that I was powerless over my addictions and needed help to overcome the character defects that were holding me back.
I also reconnected with my sense of self outside of the mental and physical pain. I rediscovered what I liked about myself and made goals for my life after rehab. I got a sponsor and developed a team of people who could help me when I felt triggered.
After rehab, I continued to go to therapy and 12 step meetings, I volunteered at AA meetings, both locally and at the state prison. I worked the 12 steps with my sponsor. Even with this recovery plan, I still had slip-ups and needed to course-correct often. Eventually, I hit my stride in my recovery and have been clean and sober for seven years. My wife and I facilitated recovery meetings for our church for two years. In those meetings, we saw a lot of miracles happen where people were also able to find recovery.
I am grateful to be alive, and I take my life a day at a time. I changed careers, so that I could work in addiction recovery. In my role as a Business Development Representative, I tell my recovery story on a daily basis, and that helps me stay on track, and gives me a chance to help others too.
About the Author
Marty deLannoy is a Business Development Representative at Wasatch Crest. As part of his role, Marty establishes and maintains relationships with therapists, healthcare providers, and other addiction treatment professionals. Marty has worked in sales for 25 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Marty is inspired by listening to people’s stories about why they chose to work in the addiction treatment space, and he thrives working alongside the kind and hardworking team at Wasatch Crest.
Marty was led to the addiction treatment field after surviving his own struggle with substance abuse and achieving long-term recovery. As part of his recovery journey, Marty wanted to give back to the community which has supported him during his seven years (and counting) of sobriety.
Marty loves to golf, ski, and cook. He played football and rugby in college and currently coaches a high school rugby team. Marty is the father to three children and a dog named Charlie. With his wife, Marty facilitates 12-step meetings for their church.