I would like to start this post on a very somber note. The world lost a great man this week, Clancy Cebula passed away Friday after suffering a massive stroke on this past Wednesday. Clancy had the pleasure of touching thousands of lives in his work, and many owe him a debt of gratitude, me included. Any time someone like Clancy is lost there is a void left behind. In this case more than one. There are the countless alcoholics and addicts that he touched, but the institution he worked in, the Fern House also has a deep void that must be filled.
This is where I come in; I have been asked to help fill that void. As my regulars know I make a weekly trip back to the Fern on Wednesday nights to run a group for some of the guys. As I was leaving this week I was approached by the executive director Bernard and he reached out his hand for some help. Now most of you do not know that on many occasions I reached my hand to him and begged for help. This man offered me the help that got me out of the Broward County Jail having never laid eyes or spoken to me. Just because that’s what he does, takes chances on people. This man was always there for me with no expectations of me ever returning the favor, but now I have the chance to anyway. I have accepted the position of manager of the Fern House and have the honor of returning back to the scene of my transformation.
The funny thing about this is it was just a couple weeks ago I was sitting with a couple people important to me who asked where I wanted my life to go. I didn’t hesitate, I said I would love to go back to the Fern House and work on the front lines fighting a good fight. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in treatment. I wish it was more available to people like I was, the bottom of the barrel junkie. Unfortunately though treatment isn’t always available to people like me because it is expensive, $1000 per day expensive or more and thus it is reserved for people of means. You either need great insurance or wealthy family who isn’t sick of throwing copious amounts of money at the problem. I stopped falling into either of those categories long before I was ready to solve the problems I had, which meant I needed there to be a place like Fern House, and I needed people to care about my type of addict. This is why I consider it one of the greatest blessings ever laid before me and I can’t wait to embrace this challenge.
Now I cannot talk about this new opportunity without acknowledging the two jobs I am leaving to embrace it. Starting with what I have always dubbed “the kiddies” sunrise detox has been a great adventure for me. I remember back when they invited me into their family. I had no driver’s license or car. I took the bus as close as I could get and walked in on a scorching May afternoon, sweat dripping down my face, shirt soaked. Honestly in a time of ten percent unemployment I would not have interviewed me the way I looked, but they did. I guess they saw something in me because they offered me a job on the spot and I was working in the field that I wanted to work in, helping people. Not every day was great, but my overall impression of this period of my life will remain just that, great. I only hope they have appreciated my efforts half as much as I appreciate the opportunity to do something I have a passion for.
And then there was job #2, A New Way of Life sober living. I moved in two years ago and immediately became close friends with the owner Daryl. He soon began asking my advice and I was always ready to help him any way I could. The day came when he just didn’t have the time required and he offered me the job of manager. I set unrealistic expectations because the only halfway house I ever saw the inner workings of was Fern House so that’s what I thought I had to recreate. But Fern House is unique, I could not recreate it and thinking I could was really the one regret I have. I had some real success there, and fell on my face a few times, but the experience helped shape who I am today so I am grateful.
I leave both these wonderful organizations with a heavy heart. I have many great stories, had many a great laugh during this time and will never forget the people who took a chance on me or the great freinds i made. Now however is time for dreams to come true. What you ask is the true meaning of these ramblings? Simple….never give up on your dreams, anything is possible!
Here’s hoping all your faces have smiles, you couldn’t pry mine off that’s for sure