2017 Opioid & Heroin Mississippi Drug Summit
Last week I had the honor of attending the 2017 Opioid & Heroin Mississippi Drug Summit. What a groundbreaking time. From police officers to child protective service workers to church and treatment center counselors to narcotics bureau agents to professional baseball players in recovery to media reporters from Mississippi Today – the event was packed with people from all walks of life. The common denominator was their interest in addressing the addiction epidemic sweeping this country. I have never been a part of such a collaborative and impactful event.
Some months ago my good friend, and a spearhead of this event, Ruth Ann Rigby, Director of Business Development at Capstone Treatment Center, approached me about presenting at the Summit. The topic she asked me to discuss was strategies on treating the chronic relapser with a long term continuum of care. Everything in me wanted (and intended) to decline, but out of my mouth came, “Sure! Happy to help however I can!”
Have you ever had an “OMG” moment where someone says or does something that is so unexpected it rocks you to your core? Those moments where for just a few seconds everything stops and you feel the awful tickle of anxiety creep up the nerve endings in your back and neck and flush your face? Not a pleasant experience, and one I have been familiar with on more than one occasion.
That’s exactly the way I felt a few moments after she asked me to speak, and also the moment right before I walked out onto the stage in Mississippi last week. My humanness shows up live and in living color and I feel suddenly overwhelmed, inadequate and quite frankly terrified. What if I freeze? What if my power point doesn’t work? What if I stumble on my words and make a fool out of myself? The list goes on.
In recovery there are a few phrases I have learned that have guided me. Trust the process. Chop wood and carry water. Walk by faith and not by sight. Do the next right thing. All of these sayings instruct me to have faith in a Power greater than myself and just continue putting one foot in front of the other and stay out of the outcome business. When things seem to big for me (which is quite often), my one and only job is to suit up and show up.
The moment before I walked out onto what looked like in my minds eye the biggest stage I have ever seen, I turned to my friend, littermate and co-worker Caitlin Stowell and said, “I’m scared.” She looked right into my eyes and said, “God’s got this and these people need to hear what you were brought here to say.”
Her reply calmed me instantly. You see- It’s not about me. It never was, and never will be. The Power I have conceived of in recovery is one of omnipotence and grace. There is no way I will ever be asked to do something that is beyond the scope of my HP’s ability. Perhaps mine, but not His.
So as I walked out, I thanked God for the opportunity and the ability to share from my personal and professional experience the undeniable power of long term treatment and engagement in the recovery community. And….
It went fine. It went more than fine. It went exactly the way it was supposed to go. I admit I was relieved when I was done and it was over! Very relieved. But I am grateful for the opportunity and even more grateful for the deep and effective relationship I have with a Power that enables me to reach far beyond my comfort zone and ability.
So thanks Ruth Ann for pushing me, thanks Caitlin for calming me, and TYG for my life. One little day (and opportunity) at a time. I will continue.
Marsha Stone, CEO