How can a random encounter on a Utah mountain top lead to a transformational recovery from the insidious disease of addiction? Actually, I believe it was part of a grander plan.
My son and I met Matt Fidlow and Chris Kirby, from The Last House admissions team, in August of 2018. It was parent weekend at Legacy Wilderness Treatment Center located in Loa, Utah, where my son began his recovery journey, two months prior. Parents and their children were reunited and went on an excursion to scale down the side of a mountain. The group cautiously hiked up the steep side of the rock and we found ourselves towering high above the terrain below. Keep in mind that I had not seen my son for two months. Now I had to put my trust in him to teach me how to use the equipment and to scale down safely. Trust was something that had eluded our mother/son relationship during his addiction. It was a huge leap of faith to give him my life and safely lead me back to solid ground.
While contemplating the irony of the situation, we found ourselves in conversation with Matt Fidlow. He and Chris joined our group as part of an outreach between the two treatment facilities. Immediately there was a connection, as we were all from the Chicago area. Matt shared his story and spoke of the freedom in recovery that he found at The Last House. Matt invited my son to give him a call if he was interested in coming to Los Angeles for his next step after Legacy. And that is how it began….
In September, my son flew from Utah to LA to begin this critical transition. Through the structure of The Last House program and tough love of the staff, even in the most challenging moments, my son held on to the belief that he could change. As the days turned into months, my son gained the skills necessary to navigate life’s challenges and seek opportunities to grow. The strong and supportive community at LH was the key that finally opened the door to recovery! The Last House program brought my son back from the depths of despair and lifted him up to become the young man I’d always hoped he would be.
Since his graduation from The Last House, my son continues to rebuild his life with intention. He is giving back as a sponsor to other young men from The Last House which keeps him grounded and connected to the fellowship. He is employed with future career goals, financially independent and thriving. Most importantly, my son is genuinely happy for the first time, in a long time!
During his active addiction, I was terrified, devastated and confused. I was consumed with trying to fix, manage, control the chaos and understand the insanity. My extreme efforts seemed to be ineffective, unappreciated and I was mentally and physically exhausted. It felt as though I was walking on shifting sand, unable to gain stability and forward momentum.
It was on a recommendation from my sister that I found the Nar-anon 12 step recovery program. The program, similar to Al-anon, is for those who are affected by someone else’s addiction. Learning that addiction was a disease that I did not cause, I could not cure and I could not control brought an incredible sense of relief. Through weekly meetings, listening to members share experience, strength and hope, I gained valuable insights and tools to help me cope during each twist and turn that came my way. Trusting that my son was in good hands at The Last House helped me let go.
One of the benefits of us continuing to work on our individual recovery is the common theme of faith and reflection. Trust continues to build and strengthen our relationship. I believe this unexpected journey has made us into more than we could have been without the experiences we have endured. The disease of addiction does not define us, but it continues to transform us.
I will always be grateful to The Last House for not only changing the trajectory of my son’s life, but saving it.