BENEFITING: Community Impact, Inc.
ORGANIZER: THE IRONMAN FOUNDATION
EVENT: Your Journey Your Cause 2016
On October 22, 2016 Team Tri Sobriety will be racing Ironman North Carolina in celebration of our family's personal journey from addiction to recovery. In doing so, we hope to bring attention to the growing drug problem in our hometown in, Delta County, Michigan, and raise funds through the Ironman Foundation, Your Journey, Your Cause program to help those battling addiction in our community. (ALL proceeds go directly towards the fight against substance abuse, NOT towards our participation in this event.)
Like many, I used to believe that only certain types of people from certain types of homes did drugs. It wasn't until addiction affected my family that I realized that no one is immune.
My son, Mike, was a great kid growing up, he was involved in baseball, football, and hockey, but more than anything he loved to ride his dirt bike and race motocross. He was very energetic, outgoing, adventurous and loved to make others laugh.
After graduating from high school and college Mike took a job that involved lots of travel and strenuous hours of work. As things began to wear on him one of his friends offered him a pill that would "make him feel better." One drug led to another until drugs took control of his life, altered his personality and turned my son into someone completely unrecognizable.
After several family interventions and multiple failed attempts to quit on his own, we decided to enroll Mike in a inpatient treatment facility in St. Louis. After completing 3 months (of the 12-month program) Mike left to start what he hoped would be a new life in the state of Ohio. It wasn't long before addiction took over his life again, only this time it became much worse. Feeling completely hopeless and frustrated; I prayed for his life.
Desperate for help and treatment options, a friend told me about a facility called Teen Challenge, a 12-month faith based program that had excellent success rates. Miraculously, that day Mike was accepted into the program at Western Michigan Teen Challenge (WMTC) in Muskegon, MI. Days before our departure to WMTC l received a startling phone call at 3am, Mike had been arrested.
Relieved that he was finally somewhere safe, I poured my heart out into a letter that I sent to Mike's attorney. I informed him of Mike's life before drugs and his journey through addiction. I explained that prior to being arrested Mike had been accepted into WMTC. I pleaded with him to help my son get the treatment he desperately needed.
Thankfully Mahoning County, Ohio, had a sobriety court which allowed his attorney to file a request for an intervention in lieu of conviction. This gave Mike the opportunity of court supervised probation along with treatment for his addiction versus a conviction and jail. However, we were unsure if our request would be granted.
During the final hearing the judge was stern in describing the seriousness of the charges and the risk involved in allowing Mike to attend a facility in another state. The highly anticipated verdict came as the judge said these words "Mike, I believe that faith based treatment facilities give you the best possible chance at success and with God on your side you can do anything. Good luck, son." Mike was released into my custody and we headed directly to WMTC. http://www.wm-tc.com/
With strict daily responsibilities and requirements to uphold, life at WMTC was not an easy road. Teen Challenge is founded on the firm moral principles grounded in the Bible. They believe and promote theses principles as the basis for healing, restoration, and life recovery.
During my first visit I was amazed to see the transformation in Mike's mindset, for the first time in years I heard my son talk about his future with hope. The shame and guilt that held him captive began to leave as he experienced forgiveness and true freedom from his addiction. He learned the value of personal discipline and a healthy lifestyle physically, spiritually and emotionally. Running and working out became an important part of his everyday routine. On June 4, 2015 all of Mike's hard work and determination was rewarded as he graduated from WMTC and moved home.
The transitional process of rebuilding his life was overwhelming; the consequences of addiction had destroyed everything. It is only through our faith, the love and support of our family and many friends that I can proudly say: Mike has been clean for over 2 1/2 years now. Many relationships have been restored, he's able to see his son twice a week, he has a job, his own car and so much more. Mike has completed 3 sprint triathlons, 2 half ironman distance triathlons, 2 adventure races, a 50-mile ultra-marathon, a 50k relay and many 5k/10k races. Four months ago Mike fulfilled all of the requirements of the Mahoney County Drug Court and his entire record was wiped clean.
With a fire in our hearts to help others Mike and I regularly speak to the kids at Bay Pines Juvenile Detention Center, along with being active members of the Delta County Task Force Against Substance Abuse.
In an effort to help others in our community who struggle with addiction the Delta County Task Force, led by Prosecuting Attorney Phil Strom, has implemented four initiatives to help drug users overcome their addictions as well as lowering the recidivism rate in our jail and court system. The four initiatives can be found at http://fightingdrugabuse.org
While progress has been made through community efforts there are still many needs to be met, these include: Additional efforts to raise public awareness of the growing drug problem, gather and consolidate information on applicable resources available, aid in the development of long-term treatment and mentoring programs to encourage successful re-entry into society and healthy living. There is also a need to assist those who go through our drug court, angel program or other treatment options. It is our hope that no one is turned away due to lack of finances or resources.
Please join us in the fight against substance abuse by sponsoring Team Tri Sobriety during Ironman North Carolina. Please note: All donations made through the Ironman Foundation will be accepted into a non-profit organization called Community Impact, who serves on the Delta County Task Force Against Substance Abuse.
Team Tri Sobriety: