By Daniel Walters NCC, LCDC
Are you looking for recovery from multiple addictions? Long term recovery from mental illness, multiple personality disorder and addictions, multiple addictions, generalized anxiety disorder or PTSD is possible. And we hope that you can relate to this story. Here, Daniel Walters tells us about his personal journey which has led to more than forty years of recovery from psychotic paranoid schizophrenia and poly substance dependence. Then, we invite your questions, comments, and feedback at the end.
The sixties were a time of great change and upheaval in society, especially in the United States, and especially among the young, including the kids I grew up with. I did very well in school up until the eleventh grade when I joined a garage band hoping to become the next big thing. Eventually, it led to me dropping out of school, and later, I began using marijuana, which I believed at the time, would enhance my creative abilities.
Coming into contact with other users who had access to heavier drugs, I began experimenting with more serious drugs eventually resulting in addiction to every mood changing chemical possible. I fell down the rabbit hole farther and farther ending up using hash, speed, methamphetamine, barbiturates, sedatives, heroin, and hundreds of doses of psychedelics such as LSD, Psilocybin, and Mescaline.
Psychosis = hell
After seven years of heavy abuse of mind altering chemicals, and owing in part to a predisposition to mental illness, I became psychotic and was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic with co-occurring poly substance dependence, meaning I was a crazy drug addict. It was hell. I was insanely self conscious, nervous, disoriented, dysfunctional, and couldn’t hold down a job or do any structured task. It was obvious to everyone around and I was out of touch with reality and delusional. I also became suicidal and made three serious attempts.
I was hospitalized after each attempt and was involuntarily committed to the State Mental Hospital three times in a period of five years for a total of thirteen months on locked wards, quite insane. Mega doses of anti-psychotic drugs were largely ineffectual and I remained psychotic and delusional for years of treatment, and therapy not working. I had one last chance, during my last commitment, in a last ditch effort, I was given six electro-convulsive therapy sessions, shock treatment.
It worked! I remember finding myself playing volleyball in the courtyard of our ward keeping score and having a good time, in touch with my surroundings and interacting with my peers and staff members.
Long term recovery from mental illness and multiple addictions
I was released from the hospital on March 27, 1974, and never returned. I stopped taking illegal drugs with the help of my counselors and therapists, remained on my meds until last year, and regained my life and mind back after long years of hard work, education, and gainful employment, including nursing and chemical dependency counseling, which I do now as a drug rehabilitation professional working on my Licensed Professional Counselor title.
I am now dedicated to helping my fellow dually diagnosed peers and clients and know that I can bring hope and healing to others suffering from addiction and mental illness. I am deeply indebted to Doctors, therapists, counselors, caseworkers, and a host of others who have aided me in my recovery and believed in me. The greatest glory goes to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom without, I would not exist.