MONSON HEARS INC’S FUNDRAISER:
BENEFITING: MONSON HEARS INC
To help Monson HEARS continue to provide educational events and community support to families who have a loved one seeking recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.
- To engage, advocate, inform and bring awareness of alcohol and other substance abuse issues through education, prevention, enforcement, and treatment to build a healthy, safe and drug free community.
Greetings my fellow community members. My name is Scott Malo, and I am a recoverying drug addict and alcoholic. I have been clean and sober since August 6, 2003. I am revealing my sobriety date so that you understand I know what I am talking about regarding this topic but also for those people about to read this who may be suffering with addiction, specifically alcohol and/or drugs. I am here to tell you do not need to suffer any longer and only two words have been standing in your way this entire time… I surrender. The story I am about to share is not to solicit empathy, but to share my story and explain why we have formed this coalition.
In 2000, I was diagnosed with having 3 herniated discs in my back. Hard labor had to caught up to me and at the age of 27, I found myself unable to get out of bed and in a tremendous amount of pain. I had always been a partying kind of guy and looking back, I drank alcoholically and just didn’t know it. Alcoholism runs in my family and the odds were in my favor. It wasn’t until I found pain killers (opiates) that my addiction would take off out of control. It started innocently enough by my surgeons prescribing Vicodin. I suddenly did not need to drink alcohol as I had found my drug of choice. I would continue to build a tolerance to those Vicodin and eventually graduate to Percocet. My back pain would drift away and life was good.
About 5 months prior to my January surgey date, my surgeon introduced me to Oxycontin. This drug was relatively new and was typically prescribed to terminally ill cancer patients. It was found to be an effective post-surgery pain regulator that my surgeons began prescribing me small doses a few times per day and I would continue to do so until my surgery date. This drug was so powerful that at the time, a single 20mg pill would remove the need for any other medications for pain.
On January 4, 2001 I had a 3-disc fusion surgery that would place a 7″ titanium rod on one side of my spine and 6 titanium screws on the other side through each vertebrae. Bone was scraped off my hips and was placed where the discs had been. The surgery lasted 9 1/2 hours. I had a total of 117 staples to sew up my abdomen and back. I was told the recovery period would be at least 7-12 months.
After surgery, my dosage of Oxycontin began increasing as I continued to build tolerance. At the height of my opiate use, I was taking 120mg of Oxycontin, 3-times per day and had an endless supply of Percocet for break-through pain. There was no break-through pain and I took every single pill. I found that if I missed a dose, I would start to get sick, like the flu, but 100 times worse. I started to get nervous. 6 months into my surgery recovery, my family and I reached out for help so that I could begin to wean myself off of the drugs and resume a “normal” life. No one knew what kind of withdrawals I would endure by coming off this drug. I was instructed to reduce my pill intake by 1 each day until I was completely off and then I would be fine. It is very difficult for me to describe the horror that the next 45 days would bring to my body. Only someone who has gone through the same thing as me can understand. I did not eat solid food for at least 30 days. I had lost 35 lbs. Every fiber in my body knew that the only thing that would make the pain go away would be more of the drug. I felt like I was dying.
I was able to make it through and was finally free from the opiates. Unfortunately, the return to “normal” life included my return to alcohol. It wasn’t but a few weeks and I had started drinking again. My wife and infant son would leave for a week’s vacation with her parents in the summer of 2001 and I would stay behind to “relax and rest”. I did the complete opposite. I drank for a week straight and upon their return, I would continue to be an absent father and husband with my only thoughts focused on the next time I would drink. Things were indeed back to normal.
In February of 2002, with alcohol beginning to bore me, I found my way back to opiates. Over the next 7-months, I would destroy everything that I loved and cared about and I didn’t care at all. I cared about one thing and that was the drug. I would go on to spend our entire savings we had buying opiates, tens of thousands of dollars, all to fuel my out-of-control drug addiction. All the pain I had experienced from detoxing at home less than a year before, I forgot all about. The birth of my second son would be in July and I barely remember anything because I was so messed up. I had done it again. One of the most important experiences in my life and I let drugs take that away.
In early October of 2002, my family would make the decision that if they did not conduct an intervention, I would eventually be dead. On October 4, 2002 I was approached by my immediate family and they told me that it was time to give up. They explained a bed was waiting for me at a treatment facility in Vermont and that they would take me right at that moment. I decided to go. I woke the next morning at the Brattleboro Retreat and my first thought was, I don’t belong there. “I’m not that bad” I would say to myself. I then had a phone call from my father who told me that I my job was gone, my wife and kids had moved out and that I may lose my home to the bank. I was exactly where I needed to be. My first conversation with the physician on staff included me explaining the amounts of alcohol and drugs I was putting into my system and he nonchalantly said that my heart should have stopped beating many months ago. A wake-up call indeed. I stayed at the treatment center for 5 days and upon my release, I started to attend various 12-step program meetings. Now, for those of you good at math, you should be asking yourself this question: If he left rehab in October 2002, why is his sobriety date August 6, 2003? The answer is I stayed sober for 3 or 4 months but had started using opiates…again. I had done it again. Fortunately, I had listened enough in the meetings I attended and knew that if I continued, I would lose this battle and pay the ultimate price. On August 5th, 2003 I stopped drinking and taking any mind altering drugs or substances and have not found it necessary to use since. I have attended thousands of meetings and have been asked to share my story over the past 11 years. I was never promised a job or to get my family back. However, I was promised that as long as I put the work in and accepted, one day at a time, that I am an alcoholic and a drug addict, I could stay clean and sober. I am happy to say, they were right. For the past 11 years, I have worked hard to learn to like myself. I recovered from the back surgery and have worked hard to regain my physical strength as well. I still have bad days, but my worse day today is not even close to what my life was like as an active addict. My wife and kids came home. I have learned to be a good father, brother, son and husband and I owe everything to the sober men and women who helped me along the way. There are to many to list and there are some who are no longer with us.
I never made it to heroin, meth or other street drugs. Make no mistake, I would have ended up there eventually. I believe that. Opiates were extremely expensive on the street which makes heroin and others a much cheaper alternative. That’s the progression. Pills are a society accepted norm. There are pills for everything. You know that prescription of Vicodin you have in your medicine cabinet from a root canal a year ago? If you don’t need it, flush it because it will come up missing one day and then it may be too late. I don’t claim to know when the line gets crossed, but eventually, it’s not about getting high, it becomes a need just so you don’t get sick and can get through the day. The chase is on and your willing to do whatever it takes to get it. I stole, begged and did things that a normal, sane person would never dream of doing. That is why this is a community problem. I am willing to bet that all of the home invasions that have occured in the past in Monson involved looking for drugs or trying to steal something to sell to get money for drugs. For those that read this and say this is not your problem, I ask you to reevaluate that position and help support this endeavor. Communities all around the country are being destroyed by a resurgence in drug use, primarily heroin. I read a story about a library in Burlington VT needing to close their bathrooms because syringes are clogging the drains. This war has been brought to Monson and we need to mobilize and take action before it’s too late. That brings me to today.
In the last decade or so, I have also had the honor of occasionally helping someone else who was suffering with the same disease that I suffered from. That brings me to the Monson HEARS Organization (Help…Education…Acceptance…Recovery…Sanctuary). I feel that I have a responsibility to step forward. I had been knocking the idea around of a coalition in Monson to not only continue to educate our community about addiction but to also provide a community resource for families should someone come forward and ask or need help. It wasn’t until the needles were found on our streets that the idea needed action. If you read the Mission Statement at the beginning of this page, you will see our intentions. Alcohol and drugs are a part of our society and always will be. We understand that clearly. Although we have many goals, our main goal is to provide our community with a “safety net” of some kind that can help individuals or families find the path to recovery. The Monson HEARS organization is new and evolving. I know that once this becomes public, people will come forward and want to get involved. I expect that from the people of Monson. Ready and willing to help when the help is needed. We proved that on an epic scale one June a few years ago. Please know that we are proceeding but are proceeding with caution. We want to limit our mistakes as we form this coalition because the mission is so critical. We have community wide events planned that we are excited to be bringing to town. We are not here to judge, we are here to help.
If we can save one family, one person, then for us, it’s all worth it. If you are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction and you are reading this, please come forward and ask for help. You will not be judged. There is no shame. It is impossible to force someone into recovery but I can tell you this, the very first step to beginning to rebuild your life is surrendering to a battle that you will never win, no matter what your age is. The past 11+ years have been the most rewarding years of my life. I will never be cured but as long as I am vigilant and earn my sobriety every day, I will continue to have a choice. We are here to help. We are in this together.
We appreciate any donations that can be made.
SUPPORT OUR MISSION BY CREATING YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER.If you’re as passionate about our cause as we are, it’d be amazing if you created a fundraiser on Crowdrise to raise money for our Charity. Crowdrise makes it super easy and fun, and your support is invaluable to our mission. Consider giving up your next birthday by asking for donations instead of gifts. Or run a marathon and ask your friends to sponsor you. We love getting donations but there’s nothing better than when you go a step further and help us raise money from your network of friends. Lots of little donations really do add up. The power of the crowd is real. Please create a fundraiser and help us make a real-life difference for this incredibly important cause.