“I was able to connect with other people, who had a similar story to mine, and know I wasn’t alone in my struggle,” Micki S. shares in the BTS teen lounge.

The journey to that realization began in Ukraine in 1996, where Micki was born to parents “I never really knew that much about,” he recalls. Adopted at age four by a loving gay couple, young Micki traveled around a lot as a child. The family lived in Australia for several years before returning to the U.S. in 2007. “I had a pretty normal childhood, but I was teased about my gay parents and a speech impediment I had as a kid quite a bit,” he remembers. But he didn’t really let that affect him too much. “As I got older I realized they didn’t understand what they were doing. They were just parroting their parents,” he magnanimously explains.

As he progressed into his teens, there were some nefarious periods of trouble with the law, mostly centering on theft. But, by 2017, those adolescent mistakes had been expunged and in 2018 he met the woman, who would become his love and partner for the next several years. The two met at work and shared a strong bond of affection and connection. However, they also shared an addiction to marijuana, which she introduced to Micki shortly after the pair moved in together. “We smoked all day long. From the moment we got up till we went to bed we were smoking ten to twenty times a day,” he describes.

Over the next couple years, Micki’s addiction to THC grew stronger and stronger. So much so that by 2019 his tolerance had grown so powerful that he graduated to the wax form. “It made me feel like I was floating in the clouds. I wasn’t able to walk. If I laid down I couldn’t get back up,” he says. And, not surprisingly, “after a few months my tolerance to wax got to the point where nothing THC-related was working anymore,” he explains. It was now 2020 and Micki had transitioned from marijuana to alcohol and that’s when his relationship began to fall apart. At this time, he was working for a veterinarian and drinking all day long. “I would get up in the morning and get a bottle as soon as the liquor store opened and do the same at lunch and after work,” he painfully recounts.

He attempted to hide his new addiction from his partner, by only drinking while not at home and chewing gum to mask the odor of alcohol. However, as most alcoholics can attest, it wasn’t working. “What upset her the most about my ‘hidden drinking’ was I would fall asleep early and not be able to connect with her when I was drunkenly awake,” he relates. It all came to a head when, following a text argument that spilled over into a face to face altercation, Micki went for a drive to cool off and flipped his car. His girlfriend came to get him, following the wreck, and drove him to his parents’ house. “I wouldn’t get out of the car and I made a real drunken scene,” he remembers.

Several days after the incident, “I left work to come home and saw both her and my family moving my stuff out of the apartment,” he describes. She had finally had enough and asked Micki to give her six months’ worth of space. He agreed but deep down he knew it was over. He began drinking even more excessively, during this time, to medicate the pain. And, to add even more bad decision making to an already stout list of poor choices, he got a job with Postmates. Now he was drinking all day long and driving to boot. And while he was making more money, “It just allowed me to buy more alcohol,” he details. It got so out of control that between August 2020 and February 2021 he was arrested for four DUI’s. He was also hospitalized with a desperate alcohol-fueled suicide attempt that saw his B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content) reach five times the legal limit. “I did it so that when I died I wouldn’t feel any pain,” he reticently recalls.

It was time. And so, on June 1, 2021 Micki arrived at Beit T’Shuvah. “I never saw myself at a rehab facility ever. I didn’t believe in them,” he shares. But it didn’t take him long to realize that he most definitely needed to be at BTS. He was also required to be here because of the many court obligations he was facing with respect to his quartet of DUI offenses. However, he soon realized what so many residents come to know once they arrive at Beit T’Shuvah. “BTS helped me open up about who and what I had become,” he relates. And, as mentioned earlier, he found a community of individuals, who shared similar stories to his own and empathized with his struggle.

As a result of completely opening up his heart and soul to the magic so many individuals experience during their time at BTS, Micki quickly immersed himself in as many activities, groups and projects as possible. And as he lists, “I got heavily involved in the Film Department. I was given the honor of blowing the Shofar on the High Holy Days. I became a technical assistant for the ‘Freedom Song’ production. And I also took on the job of the Secretary of L’Chaim, the Thursday night in-house A.A. meeting.” He began attending outside A.A. meetings and exposing himself to an even wider array of alcoholics. “I learned addicts aren’t afraid to open up to each other and I discovered that they are some of the most intelligent, creative and talented people out there,” he shares.

And as he prepares to depart from his adopted home of Beit T’Shuvah, Micki looks forward to picking up where he left off in his life, but in a much healthier and sober way. He concludes by saying, “I can’t wait to reunite with my family and friends. And I look forward to staying more lovingly connected to them than I had in the previous years of my addiction.” An always ebullient and positive source of light and energy around BTS, we will miss your smile, laugh and that distinctive sound of the Shofar filling the sanctuary with its call to spirit and love. You may be leaving us, Micki, but you will never be absent from our hearts and minds.

Spotlight on Micki R. by Randall S.

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