Hi, my name is Ken I’m from a small town north of Cincy, Ohio called Camden. My story is not much but my experience at The Watershed was life changing. I’m 1 of 6 kids raised in a good home. In the late 60’s and 70’s, I did my share of partying and I will tell you I had fun! My addiction was to: Quaaludes, hash oil, red bud, California gold, Hawaiian red bud speed that would keep you up for 12 hours it was all-good. Then I met my wife we got married and had a family and I gave up the partying and raised my family we had two girls and three boys. I raised my family clean and sober I mean I was one of them out there that could drink on a holiday or a wedding and be fine for months. After my kids grew up, they started getting married and moving out. My wife and I started to swing dance and I use to run 3 or 4 times a week I could run up to 4 1/2 hours. Then from too many years of farm work and construction, I had to have some surgeries on my shoulder and my back twice. I was still trying to dance with my wife, and they had me on oxycontin but they didn’t help much one day while we were out dancing I got something to drink, figured that would loosen me up and it did next thing I knew two drinks turned into five then I was drinking to self medicate. I had crossed the line! My addiction started again. Things got worse, and every time I tried to quit the drinking got worse so I decided I had to do something. I started to call around local, but then I called The Watershed they sounded great they said they could take care of me, said there place had a pool and all the doctors I would need. Oxycontin addiction took over me.
Then one day my back doctor put me on OxyContin this was great I thought I could quit drinking now but I couldn’t!
I ended up at Boca and the pool there wasn’t as big as I thought. They told me not to stop drinking so I didn’t I bumped myself up to first class on the plane and I was pretty well lit by the time I go there. Now keep in mind I only went there for detox and to quit drinking so they had told me to bring my medication with me so I got down there with two bottles of OxyContin, they started to take them and I was like “wait a minute here those aren’t the problem and they said yes they are.” They won that one. I don’t remember much of the first few days except walking out in the hallway the first night at the medication line and screaming, they said they would give me something so I wouldn’t have these withdraws. If my wife saw, what I was going through she would be down here to get me in a minute. The other thing I remember is all the people in my face saying it will get better just give it a couple of days and always smiling. I kept thinking they were high! They were right after a couple of day’s things got better and I started to go to all my groups and started to learn some stuff. I took myself off detox a day early and realized I needed to learn more and I was self-paid so I talked to my wife and decided to stay another week.
When I got there, I didn’t know anything about Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and it was great that they brought those meetings in and I didn’t know what my prescription pills were doing to me. Everyone was so great and I was learning so much I decided I needed to stay longer and I am glad I did if I had left after just detox I don’t think I would have made it. All I can say is listen to what they have to say. Thanks to the Alumni, speakers that take there time to come in for us. After I came out of the fog and started feeling better, I found myself falling back into old habits like waking up at 5 AM. I would go down stairs to the black couch. I would write in my book, I found myself writing about all the people that were there and how they had helped me. The people leaving I would miss them all. I wrote to all the people coming in and if I had helped any of them, I just didn’t want to forget anyone and I never will. My seventh grand daughter was born the first day I was in Boca I didn’t want to leave home until she was born but my son told me to get some help so I could be there for her later.
One day I called my wife it was a Saturday, she was in a store, and she started crying because she couldn’t find her way to our son’s house in Indiana to see the new baby. She said she was so stupid she couldn’t remember how to get there, she couldn’t use the GPS, and this is when she needed me. I told her I was going to come home she said no she would be O.K. That night I prayed for her and all the other people I had met there. On Sunday night, I did the same thing but this time I prayed for myself, that I had never done that before. I asked God to guide me and give me a sign if I needed to stay or go home. That Monday I got a box from my wife and inside was a card on the outside it said, “know what” and on the inside, it said “All I want for you is to be healthy-healthy and happy with yourself. Please take it one day at a time until you are, and know that I support you.” That was my sign were she found that card I don’t know but it was what I needed.
One day we were sitting out side talking about when we were getting out and someone asked me. I said they want to keep me here 3 or 4 more weeks one of the guys said aren’t you self paid? You can leave any time you want! I told them why I would want too I see a Dr. and therapist everyday, go to classes, have a clean room and eating at a 5 star restaurant hell I’m making reservations for next year!
That was my sign were she found that card I don’t know but it was what I needed.
On my last day there, I had gotten use to getting up at 5 am so by 8 PM I couldn’t keep my eyes open so when the outside NA meeting came in I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I told the tech I was going to bed. He looked at me and said “go to the meeting”, and he was right if I had a reason not to go to that meeting what would I do when I got home. I went, I listened, and the last girl to talk said something at the end “If I don’t drink or drug today its OK.” The next day I left at 7 am. At the airport we sat on the taxiway for 2 1/2 hours because it was raining in Atlanta when I got there I didn’t know if I had missed my connecting flight. I couldn’t get any help I felt like I had walked 2 miles trying to get to my gate by this time I was cussing under my breath mad as hell walking past all these bars. Then I came to a gate with many seats and sat down and what that girl had said the night before “If I don’t drink or drug today its OK.” It was like a peace came over me and I thought to myself there will always be another plane so always listen to what people have to say you never know when it might help you.
I keep my book from Boca with me every day I wrote down what a lot people said down there and I read it every now and then. When I was down there they told me to go to 90 meetings in 90 days but someone told me if that was too hard to just do a meeting a day and that has worked for me. I still go to a meeting every day I don’t know if I need to but it’s a lot easier to go to a meeting then get stuck in my own head.
I could go on and on about how The Watershed helped me but I have rambled enough just take the tools they give you and use them you will be amazed before you are half way through! I thank God every day for the Watershed and the people I met there, they gave me my life back! Just a few more things I went though the shed in march 2009 when I left they had me on non narcotic back pain medication I got them refilled 1 time and my back hasn’t felt this good in 10 years. In July, I came back down to Florida to the Boca facility on a Saturday for the Alumni meeting. I saw a lot of people from my stay in 2009. My wife and I went to a concert with everyone. I can’t end without talking about the peer group when I got out of the fog, I was so impressed with them. I was the kind of person that you couldn’t pay enough money to get up and speak or read in fount of a group or people. They brought something out in me, they asked me to be on the peer group and I was honored to do it these people helped me so much and I can only hope that maybe one day I could help someone. Most of all I want to thank my wife Deb of 29 years for her support and being there for me in the good times and the bad I would not be where I am without her.
Thanks for everything Ken O