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Ben

June 14, 2018

I battled with stopping use and relapsing on my own multiple times and finally sought help at Hartford Dispensary…While in treatment, I tapered off of methadone successfully and transitioned to a sober house and eventually came home to Hartford. I look back and wonder what my journey would have been like without methadone and I am a firm believer that if it were not for the Hartford Dispensary, heroin could have easily ended my life.

 

I started using drugs back in high school and like any other kid my age, I started by drinking beer at parties and by the age of 14 or 15 I was smoking marijuana and shortly thereafter moved on to using Psychedelics. During my high school years my mother had two heart attacks and she was given multiple medications over the years. After her two surgeries, she received pain medication, but did not use all them.  This led to having prescriptions on hand right in my own bathroom. I started to experiment with those around the age of 17 and I loved the feeling. Once I had depleted that supply, I would find them here and there through friends.

I graduated high school in 1997 and had no plan, so I worked a golf course job and played in a band. My band was from Poughkeepsie, New York so instead of driving up to practice twice a week, I moved up there. One day after practice I was driving with the singer of my band and he looked over to me and said, “Want to try some dope?” Without hesitation I said yes and he called his local dealer. This decision consumed the next 8 years of my life. I fell into a hole of drug dependence that I could not get out of on my own and the Hartford Dispensary was my first step in changing that. I moved back to Hartford in hopes I could get away from what I was doing, but instead I returned to an area that was saturated with heroin.

I battled with stopping use and relapsing on my own multiple times and finally sought help at Hartford Dispensary. Over the years I had 7 treatment episodes and I was in and out of the clinic. My counselor would always suggest going to inpatient treatment, but I was always resistant. One day after speaking with him I realized I was at my total bottom and I took a leap of faith and agreed to try inpatient care. While in treatment, I tapered off of methadone successfully and transitioned to a sober house and eventually came home to Hartford. I look back and wonder what my journey would have been like without methadone and I am a firm believer that if it were not for the Hartford Dispensary, heroin could have easily ended my life.

I got a job and moved around and eventually went back to school at Manchester Community College and enrolled in the DARC (Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counseling) program. When it was time to get an internship, I went to an internship fair and saw a booth for the Hartford Dispensary. I made a connection and started my internship at the Doctors Clinic on Main Street in downtown Hartford. During my internship interview, I told the supervisor I was an ex-patient. I was informed I had secured my internship, the interview ended and I walked out and got into my car. Before I put the keys in the ignition I felt the gravity of the situation hit me all at once and I was moved to tears.

I completed 500 hours of service at Hartford Dispensary and when it was time for my internship to end, I started inquiring about an actual job. I was offered a position in Willimantic and Norwich, but that was too far. Then I was asked if I wanted to work in the town I grew up in, Bristol CT. I went on two more interviews and then started my position as a full time counselor at the Bristol CLinic on May 12th, 2012. I started my undergrad program at Springfield College in 2012 and then applied to CCSU’s Professional Counseling Masters program in hopes of becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). I graduated in December 2017 and have been working for the Hartford Dispensary for almost six years. I speak in the community about my journey, my drug dependence, what harm reduction really means, how life-saving Medication Assisted Treatment (M.A.T.) can be, overdose prevention, the fentanyl epidemic and the dangers of over-prescribing. I have a caseload of people that look to me for support and encouragement. I am continually humbled by the degree of responsibility I have in helping others on their road to recovery and it is certainly safe to say the Hartford Dispensary was instrumental in helping me along my journey.