Friday, March 4, 2011

Letter To John the nurse at Brentwood Hospital.

Dear John,

This is Clinton Gandy from Texas. I was at Brentwood in April of last year. I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I am still clean and the kindness you showed me while I was there is still paying off. After I got home and processed my time and my re-awakening there at Brentwood I figured out the most important thing that you did for me and I now do for other people. You pointed out to me or directed my attention to the special attributes that I bring to the table when I come for recovery.
It was a lot like gently being awakened for a deep sleep. I now point out things to people both old and new in my NA hall about themselves that they may have never noticed or forgotten. I’ve told more than a view people that Nurse John helped me remember who I was after I went “COMA”.
Brentwood and whatever AA group you go to are really lucky to have a spirit like yours in the mix.
I’m closing in on 11 months and the colored plastic keytags are great, their fine, but the quality of my life and my recovery on a day to day basis and how it impacts others favorably is what I am most concerned with.
There are some tired little cliché’s that get truer every day, and one is “Recovery is not a Sprint, it is a marathon”.
It’s very interesting to see a life, my life evolving to something important to both myself and everyone I love.
I took a big step in order for my recover to get a little bigger and go a little deeper.
My Pdoc had told me that if I wanted to stop taking the antidepressant Paxil he would be all for it. I had repeatedly mentioned I didn’t understand how I could be in such a good place but be so removed from a connection. I haven’t really laughed til it hurt in a long time or been moved to tears by something that I know is touching my heart.
My doctor explained to me that with this SSRI, it keeps me from feeling the low lows, and I lose the high notes of laughter and the great feelings. He also said that it creates an apathy for some people like me where I am just “unmoved”.
I have to be honest it was a frightening process. The electrical “zaps” in the head were very disconcerting and the withdrawal info online mentions “Paxil Flu” where your skins is warm and nearly sweat but the room is cold.

I feel to the marrow of my bones that my recovery and the steps plus the group will be able to support me if I have a problem with depression again, and I also have 5 refills on my account at CVS so I don’t even have to go see the doc if it looks like I need them.

Yesterday was my first day feeling like the detox was over and I really did feel free. I laughed a lot and my eyes misted up when I was retelling a story that moved me. I felt like a human who was hitting on all the levels.
I’m still on my two other mental meds and I have no thoughts of ever going off Lithium because Charlie Sheen reminds me of what happens with bipolar people get hung in mania and can’t get out.
Years ago, I decided I was leaving and took everything I owned to the little local auction barn and I was leaving my name and persona behind. I ended up in the hospital (again) and I made 35 dollars on the auctioning of my things. Lol I still miss my stainless art deco coffee table. Ha

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you again. All of this may have happened for me without your help, I don’t know. I do know that I am so much the better for spending a few hours a day with you, for a week in April last year.
You are very intuitive on how you approach the indivuals at Brentwood and I try very hard to model myself after you. I saw you at any given time speak 5 foreign languages of recovery to 10 different people at once, seamlessly weaving together a beginning our approach of a clean living program.

I had one a man who has many many years clean speak with me after the noon meeting yesterday for over 90 minutes. He and I sat on the air units in back of the building and just exchanged “experience, strength and Hope”. He told me that he gets a big kick and enjoys my particular perspective on things and that I always had a thoughtful take on all that is my life and my recovery
I told him thank you very much and I too adore the perspective that I have. For the first time, I really enjoy the fact that I don’t see what others see the way they see it, and I don’t hear necessarily what others hear. I just pick up on the off notes to make me go, hmmmm. That is big big growth me me.
My experience is what makes me valuable to people and I am luckily in a place I can share my experience. I’ve still got my training wheels on and one day they will cease to be necessary, but why make things harder for myself than they have to be right now.

You made it possible for me to re-enter a recovery program, with your small but methodical approach to waking me up to the really good parts of my self.

Because having a program of recovery is more important that an extra 4 or 5 days added to my clean time, I count the meeting on campus there where I picked up my white key tag as my official “Clean Date” and I would really like to come back in April and pick up a year tag at the big ass NA meeting they bring to your site. When the reading of “We do Recover” mentions the part where “We could no longer function as a human, with or with out drugs”, was read, I went from being a patient in a hospital made to go to a meeting, to a member of Narcotics Anonymous. The revolution had started and the revitalization had begun.

John, I haven’t looked back. I walked across that giant circle in the NA meeting there with a mixture of surrender and steely determination. I haven’t had too many days where I haven’t maintained that resolve.

I just wanted to say thank you, thank you. I pass your compassionate treatment of me on to every new person that comes into my hall. I think the energy created from the sharing of kindness between us all, creates an energy a lot like stem cells. That energy can be plugged in , in a million places where hope is needed and kindness is called for.

Thank you for being a part of the foundation of my recovery and charter member of the club formed for my reclamation project to be a caring , vital part of humanity again.

Much Love,
Clinton R. Gandy