Kevin knows about setting goals, staying focused to overcome obstacles and pacing himself. Kevin is a long-distance runner. He is also a recovering drug addict diagnosed with bipolar disease.
“My life today is far beyond what I could have imagined for myself 20 years ago,” says Kevin. “I never believed it possible to live drug free and manage my mental illness. Yet here I am, living proof that recovery is possible.”
Kevin drank in high school, getting hooked on marijuana in college. Things quickly crumbled: his grades suffered, he began hearing voices, became delusional and was suicidal. For years, Kevin was in and out of hospitals and institutions. Shock treatments helped his depression, but he couldn’t break the cycle of drugs.
He started counseling through Horizon in 1980, but couldn’t relate to his counselor and so didn’t truly participate. He established a trusting relationship with a new counselor and began to respond. “He was very honest with me,” said Kevin. “He said I could go to the hospital or go through rehab. I went to a 12-step program meeting, which turned my life around.”
Kevin says making the connection between his mental health and his drug use was the key to finding hope, and he has been clean for 20 years. He takes medication for his bipolar disease, and regularly sees a psychiatrist. “There have been relapses,” says Kevin, “but I try to stay on top of it and get my meds adjusted when I need to.”
Jane Epstein, LCSWR, a former full-time counselor at Horizon, now consults for the organization and maintains her own private practice. She has worked with Kevin for nearly 17 years. “Kevin’s motivation for change has always been extremely high,” says Jane. “He’s always had the wisdom to know when major life events warranted his seeking help and he would do just that. I feel privileged to be a part of his journey.”
Today, Kevin is happily married “to an extremely loving and supportive wife” and a father. He graduated from college and went on to receive his master’s degree. He switched from a career in addiction counseling to higher education and is employed at a local college. “Denial is a bad enemy,” says Kevin. “You have to believe in yourself, recognize that mental health and addiction go hand in hand and use all your resources to change your life. I did.”
Path To Recovery
The Path To Recovery includes true stories of consumers who overcame many obstacles with the help of Horizon Health Services to turn their lives around. Last names have been omitted for privacy.