Blackstone man seeks to help those addicted
Plenty in area who need help, says survivor
A Blackstone man is volunteering his services and powerful story to area families who have loved ones suffering from addiction.
Few would be a better local authority on alcohol, drugs, and their trail of personal destruction than 38-year-old native son, Sam Davis, whose high is now helping others.
“I’m trying to offer some hope to families,” says Davis, 38, who stopped by the Courier-Record recently.
“A lot of families don’t know where to turn to, or what to do. The family gets sick, along with the addicted individual. It consumes their lives.”
For example, “Families will get consumed by their loved one’s illness. They’ll be gripped with worry and fear all night and day.”
Davis, who is now entering his third year of sobriety, is a recovering drug and alcohol addict who spent two years in Austin, Texas getting his life back together. The first year he spent in grueling rehabilitation, and the second he spent
three months in a sober house–more than 1,000 miles from the safety net of his parents, Joe & Betsy Davis.
The last nine months, Sam worked at the Arbor Recovery Treatment Center in Georgetown, Texas, and it was there he realized he had a special gift. “I was really able to connect with people who were suffering.”
Davis says he’s eager to share his story with local civic groups, churches, or just one-on-one with families. He’s associated with Freedom Interventions, based in Georgetown, Texas and is working the east coast for that organization. He can
be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Picked Stranger Over Deputies
Davis was on his way to jail in July 2009 for probation violation when he was the focus of an intervention. “I walked into the probation office, and the probation officer said, ‘Sam, you’ve got a problem, and we want to help you. She took me in the next room, and there was an old man I’d never seen before- an interventionist, and there were also two deputy sheriffs. They said, ‘Sam, you can either go with this man, or you can go with us in the patrol car.”
That was July 19th, 2009. Sam opted for the stranger’s Lincoln Continental.
Sam had battled drug addiction since his 20s. And he’d been to other treatment centers before. “They pat you on the back and show you nice pictures of your brain and tell you everything’s going to be okay.”
Sam says all addicts–whether it’s alcohol or drugs–have the same disease. “It’s all about what’s going on inside the person. With no alcohol or drugs in our system, when we’re stone cold sober, we’re restless, we’re irritable, and full of discontent. We’re gripped with fear of being alone, fear of looking bad, fear of rejection, fear of being judged, fear of success, fear of failure.”
Drug Use Escalated
Sam Davis says he first smoked marijuana at the age of 12. “I figured it was harmless. I said that it wasn’t harmless. But it was progressive over time.”
Sam says that by age 22, he was in full-blown addiction. He started snorting cocaine and even experienced with mushrooms and acid.
“Addicts have a physical allergy, and somewhere along the line I developed an allergy–and the allergic reaction is the phenomenon of craving. Some people say that’s a cop-out, but doctors have been saying that since the 1930s.”
Sam was doing well after high school making good money and putting together deals for the family business, R. W. Davis & Sons Lumber. “I was making the chips fly, I was buying timber, and then it got to be where doing drugs was a full-time job. I wasn’t going into work until 12 Noon. I became the worst employee we had.”
Tried But Couldn’t
Sam says he attempted several times to truly change his habits, but always convinced himself he was fine. “When I told my parents I wasn’t gonna do this stuff anymore, I meant it. When I promised my son that I wasn’t gonna walk out of his life anymore, I meant it. When I promised the Judge I wasn’t gonna be back in his court anymore, I meant that. From the bottom of my heart, I meant it!”
But addiction had so gripped Sam Davis that he voluntarily gave-up custody of his oldest son, a decision that still hurts.
“All I had to do was get sober and do the right thing. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stop and turn my life around–with custody of my own son on-the-line!”
The intervention and one-year stay at rehab in Texas was a lifesaver. “The best thing my parents did for me, was making me stand up on my own.” Sam chuckles at the fact that when he left for Texas, his mom packed mostly black tee-shirts. “It was 108 degrees out there, but I guess there was some built-up resentment there.”
Davis says addicts are master manipulators, and loved ones are easy to sway. “Families literally will love their addict to death. They’ll say, ‘Well, let’s pay his phone bill for him,’ or ‘He’s not ready to go back to work yet.’ And I’d say, ‘You’re right, you’re absolutely right.’ I milked them for everything I could. I was master manipulating my own family. But they didn’t realize it. They didn’t have the tools or the knowledge to do anything different. They were doing the best they could.”
So what should families do? “Stop enabling them,” declares Sam. “Most families try to keep things under wraps, and try to hide everything, and make excuses for their addict. A lot of families around here are in denial. They’ll say, ‘Maybe he’ll snap out of it,’ or ‘It’s just that woman that he’s with,’ or ‘It’s just that job he’s got, He’s going through a lot of stress.”
The biggest challenge for families is that “what’s best for the addict goes against every instinct that a parent has. A parent’s first instinct is to protect and nurture.”
Sam got out of his year-long treatment in July 2010 with $180 in his wallet and went to live at a sober house. “I was 1,500 miles from home and had to go stand in a food stamp line. That was a humbling experience.”
Addicts are “selfish, self-centered. We’re not just sick individuals, we’re entitled people.”
“I was in an incubator (treatment) for a year, then thrown-out into the real world. I’m not a religious person, but I’m spiritual, and I kept telling myself, ‘Stay close to God, perform his work well, and he’ll provide what I need.’”
Davis has had plenty of opportunities to go back to his old habits. After getting a job trimming trees in Texas, he took a job working on a party barge on Lake Travis. “The customers are all throwin’ down, there were college frat parties, people
were drinking and doing drugs, but I was all right.”
Davis recalls being home for Christmas during his rehab and someone in Blackstone asking him to hold a Mountain Dew can. It was full of liquor.
For a brief moment, Sam convinced himself that alcohol wasn’t his problem–drugs were. He nearly took a swig but declined. “Your mind will lie to you and say, it’s