Joseph has been a recovery addict/alcoholic since January 19th, 2013
Hello, My Name is Joseph Mitsch. I have been a recovering addict/alcoholic since 1/19/13. I now know that addiction has been with me my entire life. I was always an extremist. I was always up or down, happy or sad. I could never find an even balance. I always felt out of place. I was an only child and my mother was my best friend as she played the role of both mother and father. My father was hardly ever around until he left for good when I was 12.
The first time I picked up a mind altering substance was when I was 16. I was an athlete and was prescribed pain meds for injuries. Now I realize that was the beginning of justification excuses for my drug use. I harbored a lot of anger towards my father at the time and the drugs just brought me to another place, a place where I wouldn’t have to confront anyone or be forced to relive any pain. So I continued to use and pretended to feel normal.
My real struggles with drugs and alcohol addiction began when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2000, and spiraled out of control with her passing in 2007. In no way was I capable, nor did I have the tools, to cope with her passing. Instead of seeking or asking for help, I began to self medicate to the extreme. But it was too late, depression had already taken over.
Soon after my mother’s passing I lost my grandmother. Then a year later my grandfather. The final blow was on my birthday in 2010 when my best friend of close to 30 year passed away from cancer as well. Without being able to properly grieve my mother’s death I became weighed down with sorrow and depression. My 1st of several suicide attempts took place the day of my best friend’s funeral as countless trips to crisis and arrests followed. Disorderly conduct, DUI, harassment and restraining orders, etc… I had become a thief, a liar and a cheater.
I was a monster who was out of control and destroying everyone in my life. I was 36 years old addict with a 6 year old daughter who I had lost custody of as well as parental rights to. I was allowed 5 hour supervised visits one day a week. I had lost everything, including my self-respect. I hated myself. I had DT’s so bad I couldn’t walk. I didn’t want to live, but I was afraid to die. I knew I needed help so I checked into a 44 day program at Maryville Addiction Treatment Center.
In treatment I learned that I was not alone. I did not have to lie about who I was there. I did not have to pretend that I was ok when I wasn’t. There were others out there who could identify with the pain, struggles and emptiness that I was going through on a day to day basis. I found great comfort in the fact that I was not alone anymore. I could go to anyone in my rehab and we would be able to identify with one another’s story. I began to listen to others. I was able to share feelings for the first time. I openly wept in my counselor’s office in front of seven guys I did not know a week prior.
With each day that passed, I learned more and more about myself. I learned not only what an addict was but I learned that I was one and that I wasn’t alone. I humbled myself and learned how to take directions. To not only ask for help, but to accept it as well. I learned to not only trust others again, but most importantly I learned how to trust myself again. I learned who I was and who I now wanted to be. I wanted to honor my mother’s memory by becoming the man that she raised me to be and celebrate her life, not to drown myself in the sorrow of her passing. I wanted to be the best father to my little girl. I was learning to deal with the trauma that my father caused me and in no way did I ever want my daughter to suffer as I had. I learned that change is possible if I wanted it bad enough.
I now work as a C.I.T (counselor in training) at the very same rehab I called home for 44 days. I do my best to help others not to make the same mistakes that I made. My goal now is to educate families about addiction awareness and let them know that hope is possible. I picked up a new hobby in my recovery as a lapidary artist, rock shaper and polisher, and recently started a recovery inspired jewelry business called Revived Recovery. I am now able to see inner beauty in a way that I was never able to before.
Today I am happy. I have my daughter everyday now and our relationship continues to grow and strengthen. I have found balance in my life. I don’t regret my past other than the pain I caused others. As I approach my 4 years, I now have so much to not only be happy for but so very much to look forward to. In addiction, I was terrified at what tomorrow would bring. In recovery I know that no matter what tomorrow brings, as long as I don’t pick up, it's going to be a great day.