Steffen lived through some tragic adversities as a child growing up. Although his family loved him, he felt alone in dealing with his pain. The hardship of his mental illness, bipolar disorder was also difficult to carry. He became addicted to heroin. Hear this message from the grieving family of an addict.
Steffen went to counseling and tried medication. But the medication made him feel like “a zombie.” So, he stopped taking it and turned to drugs and alcohol for relief.
Steffen grew up, got married, and had three children. But he was also nursing a severe heroin addiction throughout these years. Soon the addiction got in the way of his ability to be a husband and father.
Although he finally found his way to addiction treatment, the journey wasn’t easy. However, he left the treatment center with hope in recovery and with new lifelong friends and family.
Upon returning home, he relapsed. The small amount of heroin he took had an adverse interaction with the new medications he was on for bipolar disorder. Three days after he returned home from the treatment center, he died of a heroin overdose.
“I walked into his room to find him unresponsive,” recalls his mother. “I knew when I saw his face that I lost my oldest son.” She doesn’t want her son’s death to be in vain. Steffen’s mother shares, “If we [Steffen’s family] could save one person through our devastation, that’s our number one goal here.”
A Message from the Grieving Family of an Addict
Their advice to anyone currently struggling with a substance addiction is to “surround yourself with positive people. People who care and love you.”
“You are worth it,” she continues. “Embrace your success. Be proud of yourselves. Even though we don’t know you, we think you’re worth it.” She ends with a profound message of hope.
“And I have endured this pain totally sober. So, if I can do this, we can do this,” she says with her family by her side, “then you guys can endure anything that comes your way.”
“Just please take care of yourselves and do what you need to do.” This grieving mom certainly knows the agony of losing her child. She wants to save other moms from having to know it, too.
You’re not alone. Addiction treatment does work. If you or someone you care about needs help with substance abuse, call A Better Today Recovery Services. We’ll connect you with a treatment center that will help you find your way out and show you how to build a meaningful, joyous life in recovery.
There are almost 30,000 homeless and underserved men, women, and children in Maricopa county. Mental illness, addiction, and poverty are among the top contributors to this problem. A Better Today Recovery Services (ABTRS) is reaching out to these homeless and underserved people to offer them a hot meal, experience, strength, and hope.
Of all things that a person needs to learn in recovery, staff at ABTRS know that humility and giving back is one of the essentials. It’s about being of service to those who need it most.
Equipped with a vision, ABTRS began the search for a community organization to help establish an outreach where the recovered and newly recovered can make a real difference. Scottsdale First Baptist Church opened their doors to ABTRS, welcoming not the only the ABTRS alumni program, but those who are currently in treatment. Around 8-10 alumni, patients, and staff members gather together to feed 60-100 people each week.
Patients who are currently completing the ABTRS treatment program can also volunteer to attend. They spend the evening not only serving food but sitting together with the men and women they serve. It’s more than just handing someone a hot plate. It’s about getting outside of one’s self. Whatever it is a warm hug, random conversation, or guidance for an addict still in the grips of use.
The idea is to be a beacon of hope for those who desperately need recovery or are going through difficult life circumstances. At the end of the day, ABTRS wants these people to leave feeling grateful, refreshed, and renewed – believing that they can better their situation.
ABTRS patients are encouraged to participate in the outreach program with alumni, because the experience is that much more valuable to those in early recovery. One gentleman who was struggling with his newfound sobriety was at high risk for relapse. The experience of helping others put him back on the course for long-term recovery and he is now thriving at ABTRS.
For the ABTRS alumni and patients, the simple act of giving sparks inspiration and hope for their own journey of recovery. During active addiction, they experienced a life with nothing to give back to others. Now in recovery, the realization that they do have something to give back to world around them hits them. Realizing that they are where they are today because others poured in love, time, and care to help them and meet them right where they are. The hope is that they will continue to find ways to pay it forward long after treatment and make acts of service an ongoing part of their lives.
Because so many people who are homeless struggle with addiction, the ABTRS team is equipped with resources and places that can help with treatment including scholarships.
Approaching a stranger who is struggling and sharing experience, strength, and hope can be intimidating and even scary for some. Regardless, recovery from drugs and alcohol is about learning how to be uncomfortable and realizing that when you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing by stepping out of your comfort zone.
ABTRS’s vision for community outreach doesn’t stop here. ABTRS patients, staff, and alumni have big goals when it comes to doing more outreach.