Man Finds Recovery After 10 Years of Trying

happy man with daughterAddiction is a chronic disease that profoundly affects people suffering from the condition as well as their loved ones. For many people, seeing the way their addiction is destroying their relationship with the people closest to them is the motivation they need to seek help.

Here is Michael’s story:

“My name is Michael Guida and I received treatment at River Oaks in Tampa Bay, FL. I absolutely loved my time there and learned so much. I have been in and out of treatment and rehab for over 10 years for alcohol and marijuana. My last relapse ruined my 7-year-old son’s birthday party and led me to a month-long binge. I was a morning show radio host and got laid off due to COVID. I was completely lost. I have 4 kids. 2 step kids, Gus (12) and Nina (11) and 2 boys, Michael (7) and Nicholas (7 Months.) I had to promise my fiancé and kids that this would be it and if it was not for River Oaks I would be dead or in jail. Thank you so much to AAC and the entire staff at River Oaks.”

Shame and social stigma go hand-in-hand with addiction—especially after a relapse. However, relapse is a setback that many people in recovery will experience. It’s easy to see it as a failure and to slip into despair, but it often just means someone needs more treatment, or that their treatment method needs to be adjusted.

There are many reasons why someone may relapse after a long period of sobriety. Relapses are often caused by unhealthy thought patterns experienced as a reaction to certain triggers that make a person in recovery want to drink or use drugs. For Michael, this trigger was losing his job, which caused him to feel hopeless and turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.

People often conflate detox and rehabilitation, when in reality detox is only a small part of effective addiction treatment. After someone gets past the acute stage of withdrawal safely through detoxification, they must learn to recognize and overcome the triggers that lead them to drink or use. This is predominantly achieved through various evidence-based therapy methods.

River Oaks and other treatment facilities often also offer optional alternative therapies in addition to the evidence-based techniques. This allows patients to get a break from the clinical nature of therapy while still learning valuable tools in a fun and self-expressive environment. River Oaks offers Recovery-oriented challenge therapy (ROCT), in which patients participate in skill-building exercises and games as a therapist engages with them and observes, and Music and Art therapy, where patients that have difficulty communicating in traditional therapy are able to express themselves in other ways.

Another frequently overlooked aspect of rehabilitation is the supportive community people find among people that share their experiences. Research shows that treatment is more effective when it is practiced among people with similar backgrounds. River Oaks addresses this by offering specialized tracks for:

  • Veterans and first responders.
  • LGBTQ people.
  • Young adults.
  • Trauma survivors.
  • People with co-occurring mental health problems.

Michael credits the things he learned in treatment with keeping him alive and out of jail. After reaching his breaking point, he was able to turn his life around and hold onto the things he cared most about. Now, with the valuable skills he’s learned and the supportive network he’s formed, he’s on track to continue leading a fulfilling sober life.

If you, like Michael, struggle with addiction and are ready to make a positive change, reach out to an American Addiction Centers’ (AAC) admissions navigator at . AAC has helped thousands of people like Michael and you leave their destructive habits, shame, and despair behind.

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