Peer Recovery Coach Mark Jachym | Connecting Point | Feb. 24, 2020

Peer Recovery Coach Mark Jachym | Connecting Point | Feb. 24, 2020


>>AS LAW ENFORCEMENT, LAWMAKERS
AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WORK TO COMBAT THE OPIOID CRISIS —
THOSE WHO HAVE DEALT WITH ADDICTION CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND
THE STRUGGLE AND THE PAIN — AND IN MANY CASES — HOW TO HELP
OTHERS. CAROLEE MCGRATH SAT DOWN WITH
RECOVERY COACH MARK YAH-COME TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROFESSION
AND HIS RECOVERY.>>I FIRST STARTED EXPERIMENTING
BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL, YOU KNOW, 13, 14 YEARS OLD, SNEAKING
ALCOHOL, BEERS FROM MY FAMILY’S CABINETS AND THINGS LIKE THAT. I HAD TYPICAL HIGH SCHOOL
EXPERIENCE, TYPICAL COLLEGE EXPERIENCE. IT WAS JUST PARTY TIME
THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE THING. WHAT HAPPENED WAS I EXPERIMENT A
LITTLE BIT WITH MARIJUANA. I DIDN’T REALLY — WASN’T MY
THING. AS IT INTO COLLEGE — AS I GOT
INTO COLLEGE THERE WAS A LITTLE COCAINE AND ALCOHOL WAS THE MAIN
THING THAT CONTINUED ALL THE WAY THROUGHOUT BASICALLY MY ENTIRE
LIFE. AND THE SUBSTANCES THAT I TRIED
OUTSIDE OF ALCOHOL WHENEVER I WANTED TO JUST BE DONE AND SAY I
WAS ALL DONE WITH THESE, I WAS FINISHED AND NEVER AGAIN BUT
WHEN IT CAME TO ALCOHOL I COULDN’T STOP DOING THAT. THAT WAS — THAT WAS MY THING
FROM THE TIME I WAS PROBABLY 13 YEARS OLD UNTIL I WAS 45. AND THAT WAS JUST ABOUT 5 YEARS
AGO.>>AND YOU BECAME A CORRECTIONS
OFFICER.>>YES.>>TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE
PRESSURES OF THAT JOB AND THE DRINKING AS WELL.>>THAT — I SAW ALL COULD I
HAVE SEEN THINGS THERE WERE FIGHTS, SUICIDE ATTEMPTS, YOU
NAME IT I SAW IT. I DON’T THINK IT GOT TO ME
DURING THE DAY BUT I THINK IT MAY HAVE BEEN WHY I WAS
UNWINDING STILL AHEAD CALL IT JUST TO SAY WELL, IF YOU HAD A
DAY LIKE I HAD TODAY YOU WOULD HAVE A FEW DRINKS OR YOU WOULD
NEED TO UNWIND WHATEVER I WAS DOING AT THE TIME. IT WAS PRETTY STRESSFUL. SOME DAYS WERE JUST ANOTHER DAY
AND THERE WERE DAYS IT WAS PRETTY HARDCORE VIOLENCE AGAIN
SEEING PEOPLE ATTEMPT SUICIDES OR CUT THEMSELVES — IT’S PRETTY
TRAUMATIC TO SEE AND, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS — THAT WAS LIKE AN
EVERYDAY THING.>>DID YOU EVER THINK THAT YOU
HAD A PROBLEM OR WERE YOU JUST UNWINDING AT NIGHT.>>I THOUGHT I WAS JUST
UNWINDING. I NEVER THOUGHT THERE WAS A
PROBLEM UNTIL MY LIFE — INTO MY 40s I STARTED HAVING DAYS
WRITE — I’M JUST GOING TO HAVE ONE OR TWO DRINKS AND I’LL STOP
THERE AND I WOULD END UP BLACKING OUT, PASSING OUT AND IT
BECAME LIKE A DAILY THING. I COULDN’T STOP DOING THAT.>>AND SO THIS LED TO A FEW
ARRESTS AS WELL?>>YES. I WAS ARRESTED FOR OPERATING
UNDER THE INFLUENCE IN OCTOBER OF 2013 AND THAT WAS BASICALLY
THE BEGINNING OF A HANDFUL OF ARRESTS FOR MULTIPLE THINGS,
ASSAU ASSAULT AND BATTERIES, YOU KNOW,
VIOLATING PROBATION, JUST — IT WAS — IT SEEMED TO BE NONSTOP.>>SO WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS
YOUR ROCK BOTTOM IN EVERYTHING THAT SAID TO YOU?>>I WOULD SAY IT WAS THE LAST
WEEK OF MY ACTIVE USING. I HAD BEEN ARRESTED TWICE IN THE
SAME WEEK. BOTH IN AGWAM, BOTH I DON’T
REMEMBER WHERE I WAS WHEN I WAS ARRESTED, WHAT HAPPENED AND THEN
THAT NIGHT OF THE SECOND TIME I DECIDED THAT I WAS JUST GOING TO
BE DONE. I WAS ALL SET AND I HAD TO CALL
MY PARENTS AND TELL THEM THAT I WAS DONE AND I NEED HELP. I COULDN’T DO THIS BY MYSELF
ANYMORE. AND, YOU KNOW, I WAS THINKING
ABOUT SUICIDE, BUT THERE WAS TOO MANY PEOPLE IN MY FAMILY AND
THOSE CLOSE TO ME THAT I DIDN’T KNOW WANT TO HURT OR DO THAT TO. SO I JUST SAID, I’M DONE. I NEED — IF I’M THINKING ABOUT
THIS, I NEED TO GET HELP.>>AND HOW FAST THAT
RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM? THEY HAD ALREADY BEEN DOWN THIS
ROAD A FEW MINTIMES BEFORE, YES?>>YES.>>HAD YOU BURNED A BRIDGE
THERE?>>I WOULDN’T SAY COMPLETELY BUT
IT WAS PROBABLY GETTING THERE. WHEN I TOLD THEM WHERE I WAS. THEY PRETTY MUCH HAD THE
TYPICAL, YOU KNOW, THOUGHT OF, OH, GOD, HERE WE GO AGAIN. I SAID I NEED YOUR HELP. I CAN’T DO THIS BY MYSELF. I NEED YOUR HELP. SO THEY SAID WHAT DO YOU NEED
AND I TOLD MY MOTHER OR FATHER COULD YOU PLEASE MEET ME IN
WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT TOMORROW MORNING BECAUSE I HAVE
A FUNNY FEELING I WON’T BE SEEING YOU FOR A LOT OF TIME. AND THEY DID AND THEY MET ME AT
COURT THE NEXT MORNING AND THEY PROCEEDED TO GIVE A SECTION 35
TO ME.>>EXPLAIN WHAT A SECTION 35 IS.>>IT’S A CIVIL COMMITMENT
INVOLUNTARY. I WAS WILLING TO GO BUT I WAS
ALSO FORCED BY THE JUDGE TO GO BECAUSE —
[CLEARS THROAT]>>EXCUSE ME, THEY HAD, YOU
KNOW, THE MULTIPLE ARRESTS, THE — JUST EVERYTHING WHERE I
TOLD EVERYBODY WHAT I TRIED TO DO THE NIGHT BEFORE. I SPOKE TO THE COURT DOCTOR. THE COURT DOCTOR WAS VERY NICE
AND SAID: I THINK YOU’RE AT THE END OF YOUR ROPE HERE,
LITERALLY. AND THEY SAID THIS IS WHAT WE’RE
GOING TO DO. WE’RE GOING TO SEND YOU DOWN TO
BROCKTON, THE MEN’S ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER. IT’S A FULL COMMITMENT. YOU WILL BE THERE FOR UP TO 90
DAYS. THIS IS THE FIRST STEP. YOU’RE STILL LOOKING AT POSSIBLE
JAIL TIME FOR THE OFFENSES THAT YOU’VE DONE OVER THE LAST COUPLE
OF WEEKS BUT THIS COULD POSSIBLY TURN YOUR LIFE AROUND IF YOU
WORK IT THE RIGHT AWAY.>>AND IT DID.>>YES.
>>AND SO NOW AFFORD YOU’RE NOW A RECOVERY COACH WORKING WITH
PEOPLE.>>UH-HUH.>>WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH
ADDICTION. TELL ME ABOUT WHAT A RECOVERY
COACH IS AND WHERE YOU HAD TRAINING FOR THAT?>>I WAS WORKING FOR ANOTHER
AGENCY A COUPLE OF YEARS BACK AND THEY HAD SAID THERE’S A
TRAINING COMING UP AT WORCESTER STATE COLLEGE — OR UNIVERSITY
RUN BY AD CARE AND YOU CAN BE TRAINED TO BEGIN YOUR ROAD FOR
CERTIFICATION FOR A RECOVERY COACH IF YOU’RE INTERESTED. AND I SAID YOU KNOW WHAT? I THINK I KIND OF WANT TO DO
THAT AND THEY PAID FOR EVERYTHING AND I WENT AND DID
THAT — IT TOOK ME OVER A YEAR WITH ALL THE CLASSES THAT I HAD
TO TAKE AND IT’S BASICALLY WHAT I DO NOW IS I TRY TO MOTIVATE
ME — IF THEY COME TO ME. I DON’T GO LOOK FOR PEOPLE TO GO
WORK WITH. IF ANYONE IS STRUGGLING WITH ANY
TYPE OF ADDICTION I’LL BE HAPPY TO PROVIDE OPTIONS. I CAN GIVE THEM A LIST OF
COUNSELORS OR RECOVERY MEETINGS. DIFFERENT OPTIONS — YOU KNOW,
EVERYBODY ALWAYS THINKS IT’S JUST STRICTLY AA OR NA — IT’S A
12 STEP PROGRAM THAT’S WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. THAT’S NOT TRUE AT ALL. THERE’S MULTIPLE PATHWAYS THAT
YOU CAN USE. SO I JUST PRESENT THAT TO PEOPLE
AND LET THEM DECIDE AND IF SOMETHING DOESN’T WORK, WE TRY A
DIFFERENT THING.>>AND DO PEOPLE — DO YOU FIND
PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN THERE ARE A LITTLE BIT MORE WILLING TO
TRUST YOU?>>IT SEEMS LIKE IT. WHEN I TELL PEOPLE I DON’T SHARE
MY STORY UNLESS THEY ASK AND WHEN THEY DO ASK, I TELL THEM
AND A LOT OF TIMES I GET — OH, GOOD, SO YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S
LIKE. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT’S LIKE. SO WITH THAT IT SEEMS LIKE
PEOPLE LIKE TO OPEN UP A LITTLE BIT MORE AND THEN THEY LISTEN
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW — IF THEY HAVEN’T BEEN TO JAIL ALREADY,
THEY MIGHT. IF THEY HAVEN’T ATTEMPTED
SUICIDE, THEY MIGHT. SO IT’S JUST A REALLY —
SOMETIMES IT’S A REALLY GOOD CONVERSATION THAT THE TWO OF US
HAVE.>>DOES THIS PUT YOU AT RISK,
YOUR LONG-TERM SOBRIETY, AT RISK GOING BACK AND TALKING TO PEOPLE
WHO ARE PROBABLY STILL USING, RIGHT, SOME SORT OF SUBSTANCE. DID YOU EVER WORRY ABOUT THAT? — DO YOU EVER WORRY ABOUT THAT.>>NO, I DON’T.
I THINK IT HELPS ME. TALKING TO EVERYBODY IT REMINDS
ME WHERE I WAS AND I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK AND DO THAT AGAIN. I’M NOT SAYING IT COULDN’T EVER
HAPPEN BUT THE WAY MY LIFE IS RIGHT NOW, I’M PRETTY SURE I’M
ON SOLID GROUND BUT I DON’T TAKE THAT FOR GRANTED, EVER. BUT I THINK IT DOES. I THINK IT HELPS ME EVERY SINGLE
DAY WHEN I TALK TO SOMEBODY BECAUSE I JUST REMEMBER WHAT IT
WAS LIKE AND, YOU KNOW, IT’S NICE TO BE ABLE TO SHARE WITH
PEOPLE AND PRESENT TO THEM THAT THERE’S LIFE AFTER WHAT IS
HAPPENING CURRENTLY

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