Mike’s Story

Mike came to Emberwood Center‘s outpatient program as an embittered 28-yearold. He was on probation in Marion and Hancock counties for “Receiving Stolen Property” during a two year cocaine binge. Mike talked about how he and his best friend smoked their way through a $250,000 insurance settlement. Mike was living at a local work release center and holding down a full-time job. Mike saw the court-ordered treatment at Emberwood Center as one more way “the system” was intruding on his life, and he let his position be known by saying, “I’m managing my life just fine – if everyone else would just get out of the way.” The Intensive Outpatient Program at Emberwood Center required Mike to attend group three times a week and have regular individual counseling. This was in addition to keeping probation appointments in two different counties. Early in treatment, Mike was all too willing to let his counselor know what a “…royal pain” this all was. In spite of all the demands placed on him, Mike made sure that he made regular phone calls to his two daughters; staying close to them was really important to him. In time, Mike began to take pleasure in the ritualized practice of “checking-in, naming a feeling word and reading the warm-up question” which began each of his Stages of Change group. Not long after that, he began helping new group members through the check-in process. Mike’s progress in treatment was most evident when he told the group that it was his good fortune to be arrested during his cocaine binge. He credits his arrest with saving his life. In May 2005, with his freshly developed continuing care plan in hand, Mike turned to his counselor and extended his hand, saying “Thanks for not giving up on me.”