I grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father. Over the years, I watched many family members go in and out of treatment for drugs, alcohol and mental health. After I discovered my own path of co-dependency and addictive behaviors, I pushed myself to seek out where to fit into this existence I called “my life.” My start-up plan for being an adult frankly lacked good sense. I graduated high school a year early and immediately married my verbal and physically abusive high school sweetheart: my aspiration was to help and change him. I lived through this while earning my degree in Criminal Justice (a field to enhance my strength because I took no control in my own home). I successfully moved through the ranks as a Lieutenant for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Each shift ended with anxiety in fear of what awaited at home. After a few fractures and a miscarriage due to abuse, I decided to move out. In response, my father asked me what I had done wrong, as an indication that I had somehow deserved it. WOW!
Shame and Secrets
I didn’t want to admit to myself or to my mom that I had followed her futile path trying to change someone. I didn’t want any of my peers to know I didn’t have control over my life outside of work. Shame and secrets created many barriers, and maybe never felt more than rent a U-Haul and moving myself into a safe place, a furnished efficiency apartment.
How Experience Informed My Profession
After marrying my second husband, having three children (one of which has special needs), I got right with God and myself. Real control is gaining strength from within and stopping my own cycle. In most, if not all, on my professional work, I have dealt with addiction and mental health. And in working with my daughter’s MHMR, I found gift was not trying to change someone but in teaching them accountability for themselves.
Culmination at Santé
I see Santé as a helpful concierge for a community of people carrying heavy baggage. All the people here want the peace and the wisdom to know that they can survive this world, put their demons behind them, find strength, and be supported in their journeys. If something I say makes a positive impact on just one person, I know I am doing what I’m meant to do to serve others. Admittedly, some days others’ “heavy baggage” gives me reason to doubt myself. I’m reminded by a quote from Marcel Proust, “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Marcel wrote about adversity, gratitude, happiness, healing, hope, individuality, renewal and unity. I am confident Santé teaches these same values to many shattered lives each day, and I love the almost daily phone calls we get from alumni checking in to thank us for saving their life. All of us at Santé keep reaching forward to the next person needing to heal, addressing their individual needs. That’s the impact Santé makes.
––Michelle Morgan, LVN
Santé Center for Healing
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, reach out to Sante Center for help by calling us at 866-238-3154.