We caught up with Sovereign Health’s Melissa Mucci to get an update since we last checked in; her momentum and enthusiasm are contagious.
From patient to professional: An opportunity, not a task
As expounded upon in our patient testimonials with Melissa M., she came to Sovereign as a patient with eating disorder, an addiction to painkillers and suicidal depression. Now four years sober, she is the lead house manager for all Sovereign’s detox houses and the female dual diagnosis residential treatment programs.
“I love my job. I’m actually changing and saving lives. I really feel like this last year I’ve been able to make differences in the company that wouldn’t have been able to be pushed through without my experience as a client.”
Her pièce de résistance? Reintroducing panel meetings in the detox houses and Sovereign’s flagship facility. This is an insider’s meeting and acute mentorship from 12-step sponsors with many different affiliate organizations, including AA. Where patients are suffering the most – back when Melissa needed this kind of raw coaching during her own detox – these sponsors and sponsors give proxy assistance.
“I hear the same support I remember hearing as a patient. It gives me a reminder of why I came in the program to begin with, why I wanted to be sober. It’s encouraging to see that much sobriety in one room.”
She says it’s something that has notably helped decrease the patient’s psychological flight response.
2016: A door-busting year
“It took two years of sobriety to get over [personal] anxieties,” Melissa M. says of the emotional anvils that weighed on her during decades of depression. Traveling, going to college were both dreams that seemed a nightmarish galaxy away.
“I was so scared to go back to school, now I’m enrolled in college and I get to take classes I love mixed with classes I need. I look back now and I can’t believe I was so paralyzed and afraid to take this step. If I’ve conquered my addictions and survived, what can I possibly be scared of in comparison?”
Melissa says her sober social life now includes going on frequent road trips and staying out in nature, the latter of which puts her mind at ease.
“I never thought I would travel. Now, I go to the beach every single weekend with my chocolate lab for an entire day and my coworkers with varying shifts know they can come throughout the day and join me.” Last month she took a trip to a national park in Utah and is planning another trip currently.
“I’m finding the fun and the silver lining in everything.”
Going into 2017 with open-ended goals
As she affirmed when we last spoke with Melissa M., she doesn’t believe New Year’s resolutions that are often as narrow as they are short-lived; instead she sets “broad and positive goals.”
This coming year, Melissa wants to quit smoking cigarettes and make an effort to call extended family once monthly.
“I’m incorporating skills I definitely learned from Sovereign Health. I learned to not have unrealistic expectations when rehabilitating from a negative behavior and to realize goals with common sense.”
“I don’t need to wait until New Year’s. … I haven’t had a cigarette in 5 days… but if I end up having one in a few months I’m not going to kick myself for having one because I still went those two months without having one. I just know I’m not going to have one after that one.”
Melissa also knows the drama of addiction and eating disorder ravaged her family relationships, and although she’s made amends years ago, it’s time to strengthen the ties that bind.
“For the longest time, I cut them out of my life and they cut me out – for good reason – but there’s not that wall up anymore.” She says that part of that wall getting built up was time, but breaking it down by consciously making that effort to stay connected is what’s important, adding jovially, “Now everyone’s texting, and I think my grandma sends more emojis than I do!”
Moral of her story
Melissa M. is a woman recovered, who has her future before her and an action plan for any obstacle now.
“There’s always a solution in sobriety. Whether it’s a problem with addiction or recovery or a fight with a family member, you open a 12-step book and you’re going to find a solution in it.”