VOICES OF RECOVERY | TahoeDailyTribune.com


Lyle Dornan, deputy director Sierra Recovery Center

By the age of 25 I had acquired just about everything I had wanted in life. I had a promising career, a home in the country, vehicles and a beautiful wife and a little girl to share it all with. I was well respected by my family and my peers and was steadily climbing the ladder of success and living the American dream. By the age of 26 my wife left me and took our daughter with her. Within the next year I had lost my job, the home, all my vehicles and was moving in with my grandmother. By the age of 28 I was living in a metal shed in a friend’s backyard. After about a year he told me I had to leave. Now what? I was humiliated and defeated.

What had happened to me? How had it all gone so wrong? I could not seem to make the connection that alcohol and drug use were at the root of my problems. I knew that sometimes I was irresponsible and maybe, “I partied a little too much,” from time to time. I had gone into a couple of treatment programs and even they seemed unable to fix me. I knew that God would not help a person that had done all the terrible things that I had done, and no one else seemed to be able to help me either.

Over the next few years I worked many low paying jobs until I got fired or quit showing up. I lived wherever I could and spent most of my free time “partying.” In 1992 I was going to be homeless and jobless one more time. I had a girlfriend who gave me an ultimatum to stop my drinking or she could not be around me anymore. Of course I told her, “I’m not changing for anyone!” Three days later i was in detox.

This was my third treatment program and I had little faith that it would help. Even my daughter told me I was wasting my time as the two previous attempts didn’t work. This time was different. I began to realize the extent of damage I had done to myself and anyone who dared get close to me. I accepted the fact that I was an alcoholic and a drug addict and my life would continually get worse until I was institutionalized, dead or started removing. Abandoning all my best-devised plans I began to accept instruction. Slowly my life began to change. After 60 days of residential treatment I spent another 22 months in supportive housing and continued counseling. Then I connected with a self-help program, which I still attend on a regular basis. Maintaining abstinence from all mind and mood altering chemicals has become my number one priority in life. Only then, all the other areas of my life continue to improve.

I have been given a new lease on life. Once again, I have a beautiful wife and another child, relationships with my family and friends are restored, I have a better career than I could ever imagine and I own a home and vehicles again. Most importantly, I found out that God didn’t give up on me, but was patiently waiting for me to return to Him when I came to my senses, which I could not do on my own.

Not everyone needs to go to the depths of degradation that I did. But trouble is waiting for those who will not seek the help they need before its too late. One phrase I like to use is,

“You don’t need to ride the trash truck all the way to the dump.” Treatment works and broken lives can be mended. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and drugs, we offer a wide range of treatment options. Give us a call at Sierra Recovery Center on our 24-hour hotline at (530) 541-5190.

There is a solution.

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