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Why Did I Get Into Addiction?

Posted on September 06, 2017

Turn my home into a detox residential treatment center?

I didn't even know what that meant. And...

The idea of starting a new business

was the furthest thing from my mind.

Case Conference lunch with some of my Staff: counselors, nurses, therapists and technicians

The Grocery Game was built out of my own need to feed the four of us on a budget of thirty five dollars a week. Thankfully, I learned how to do it, and through a website called The Grocery Game and my book, I was in the business of helping families keep food on the table for 16 years.

When I bought my business license with sixty five dollars in rolled coins on my 40th birthday,  February 8th of 2000, I had no knowledge of the internet. That didn’t matter at all. God literally opened it up to me. For anyone looking to build something out of nothing, I highly recommend a great book, by Daymond John of Shark Tank,  The Power of Broke. I was more than broke, and that’s what drove me. More of my story is in my self published book, but only up to that point. The rest of it really hasn’t been told until now....

Words can hardly express. I’ve been humbled and privileged to have had a business that helped families with grocery savings on a daily basis, and now I’m in a business that’s literally saving lives every day from alcohol and drug abuse.

Before I go on, I simply must give honor to God, because the successes of both businesses are all to His glory. Not because I’m so special, but because God is always good, always merciful and always faithful. This very truth about our Higher Power is even more profoundly illustrated in recovery of addiction from alcohol and drug abuse, the actual saving of human lives.

By the fall of 2015, Greg and I were retiring. He’s ten years older than me, and I had spent the last ten years flying an average of 150,000 miles a year all over the country. I hadn’t spent enough time with Greg or my family for way too long and I was done. My granddaughter was almost two, and we were selling our home to downsize, retire, get a motorhome and take our granddaughter across the country. I’m hoping that still happens, but for now God has a different plan.

Sometime in November of 2015, I got a phone call from my brother, Jimmy (pictured above far left), who by the way is a beautiful example of addiction recovery. There was something called “Detox Residential Treatment”, and he said we shouldn’t sell our home. He told me that our home was the perfect place for people to recover from addiction of alcohol and drug abuse. At that time, I had no interest in starting a new business of any kind. I might have even laughed. The idea of starting a new business was the furthest thing from my mind, and was not going to happen. He persisted, telling me that he knew I had a passion for those suffering with addiction. I still said no. I didn’t even tell Greg about the call.

Over the next few months, the backlash of addiction involving yet another in our family was becoming increasingly horrific. Throughout the turmoil, Jimmy’s call kept coming to my mind, but I still didn’t tell Greg about it. I was in a pit of fear, over all that addiction had done in the past. Addiction of alcohol and drug abuse had taken the life of one of our brothers, destroyed the life of another, and now the destructive wake of addiction was wreaking its havoc through another. The attributes of addiction are to steal, kill and destroy, and that’s exactly what it was doing to me and my family… again.

In February of 2016, The Grocery Game had failed. It was done and there was nothing I could do about it. I asked our software engineers to set up a single button for me to pull the final plug, but I tried and just couldn’t do it alone. My sister, Karen, who had built the business with me from day one, our General Manager, and my best friend, was driving up to help me. We sat together and cried for at least an hour before we put our hands together and clicked the button. On my 56th birthday, February 8th, 2016, The Grocery Game was over. For a moment I felt humiliated, but pride goes before a fall, so I laid it at the feet of God. It still felt like death.

The heaviest grief lasted three days. On the third day, while Greg was trying to comfort me, I shared that I felt like I was failure and that I had let everyone down. He told me that all of what I had done was not a failure and that all things have to come to an end. Then he spoke the most profoundly unexpected words, “Honey, I think God has something else of even greater significance for you to do. I don’t know what it is, but I know that this had to come to an end so you could do it.” Wow! I got goose bumps, as I typed the words. I finally told him of Jimmy’s call. What? This was three months ago? Why wasn’t he ever told? Because it was crazy and he would have thought it was crazy too. Greg immediately knew it was what we were supposed to do with our home and family. He was on the phone with Jimmy that same moment and we were on our way.

Ironically, once again, we were inexperienced in this business of addiction recovery.  When I was given the inspiration to start The Grocery Game, I had already cracked the code of grocery savings, but I knew nothing about the internet, much less an internet business. For this new business, I had been suffering the ravages of addiction for most of my adult life, but I knew nothing about opening a business for treatment of addiction for alcohol and drug abuse.

We gave up everything, and started the process of compliance and licensing to fight the ravages of alcohol and drug abuse, interviewing the best doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, and technicians. There was a ton of work to be done and our family was all in with their time and resources.

On November 4th, 2016, we received our California Department of Health Care Services license for adults eighteen years and over for dual diagnosis detox residential treatment of alcohol and chemical substance abuse.  Our first client came the next day, and like the beautiful daffodils that she planted, she is still heroin free and living her beautiful life.

Oaks of Hope is family owned and operated. With that, we’re different than most treatment centers in many ways. Visitors, clients and their families comment on the feeling they get at Oaks of Hope. We are out of the box. We’ve had success taking couples, while most treatment centers don’t. We have a Malti-Poo house dog, “Buddy”, who is hypo allergenic, so we had a client ask if he could bring his dog. We said yes, and other fur babies have followed. Last but not least, we have accepted expectant mothers. While most treatment centers turn pregnancies away for a lot of reasons, our staff and partners welcome the added diligence, work and care that a mother with child requires.

They say you never forget your first client, but we remember everyone who came in for addiction recovery. We get to experience the unfathomable joy of seeing life restored again and again. Addiction recovery is real. We’ve seen those who thought they could never do it, do it. We’ve seen those whose past case managers told us they couldn’t do it, do it. We’ve seen those whose families had lost hope, but they do it. We’ve seen those who feared they had failed too many times to do it, do it. We’ve seen healthy babies from mothers of heroin. We see lives being restored every day.

If you think this can’t be you, you are wrong. If you think addiction recovery can’t happen for you, you’re missing the opportunity that’s always in front of you. We know without a doubt that addiction recovery is ready and waiting for anyone, anytime, in any place. Even if not at Oaks of Hope, addiction recovery is real. Addiction recovery is a fact that we know to be true. There is a time and place for everyone. You have value and you were created to have life.

I used to love hearing from people who were grateful for saving money on groceries. Now, I get to witness the saving of lives every day. The daily miracles of addiction recovery are never ending. Addiction treatment is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, yet by far the most rewarding.

Greg and I do want to retire someday, but I guess that’s later. For now I’m grateful that I didn’t miss this opportunity.

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