Patrick’s Story

‘I Like to Give People Hope’

For Patrick, Hope was in Short Supply for Far Too Long, but a Loving Family and Help from Hoag Renewed His Spirit on His Path to Sobriety

Many people who overcome addiction point to a number of events, conversations and false starts along their long and difficult road. These things may seem unrelated in the dark night of the journey, but looking back, it’s clear they were all working together seamlessly, laying a path that ultimately led to their sobriety.
For Patrick, those events included a thrown coffee pot, a heartbreaking conversation with his dying father, his children crying as he and his wife argued, and finally, his decision to enroll in the Hoag Addiction Treatment Centers.
Since making that decision in 2001, Patrick has been sober — and he has been closer to his wife of 29 years, their children, extended family members and friends than he ever could have imagined.

‘I Have My Family Back’

“I have my family back,” Patrick says quickly when asked about the most important benefit of his sobriety. “If you want to see how a guy is doing, go to his house. You’ll know right away if he’s doing it right. Kids are the telltale sign.”
As a young boy, Patrick knew all too well what alcoholism looked like: His father was an alcoholic, but got sober when Patrick was 18. But the influence on Patrick had already occurred: He began drinking regularly when he was just 14.
As the years went by and his addictions deepened, “I set standards for myself, how I would behave,” Patrick explains. “I promised myself not to become a problem like my father was, or to be like some of my friends who had died from substance abuse.”
Patrick eventually added pot, and then cocaine, to his alcohol abuse. By the time he reached his early 20s, it was clear to his parents that their son had a substance abuse problem. They sat him down for a heart-to-heart talk; soon after, Patrick began attending a non-Hoag addiction treatment program.
His attendance was short-lived.

‘I Lasted Just 10 Days’

“My doctor knew about my alcohol addiction, but I left out the part about cocaine. I was supposed to be there for three weeks, but I lasted just 10 days.”
Making matters worse, Patrick lied to his wife, telling her he did so well that the program released him early.
She didn’t buy it.
Through it all, Patrick was painfully aware he needed help. But as so many former addicts do, he convinced himself that he was fine, that he had things under control.
But things weren’t under control and, in 1998 at his wife’s urging, Patrick checked in to the Betty Ford Center. “A friend was on the staff, but all I really cared about were the pool and ice cream,” Patrick says, shaking his head.

A Transformational Talk With a Dying Father

Patrick’s decision to (briefly) attend the Betty Ford Center also was inspired by a poignant conversation he had with his father, who had survived lung cancer in 1990 but became very ill several years later.
“I was sitting with my dad one day and he asked what I was doing to stay sober, and I told him, ‘I don’t have time to worry about that, because you’re dying.’ He said, ‘You’re dying, too.’”
At that point, Patrick opened up completely to his dad about his addictions. “It was the first time I admitted to him that I had a problem,” he recalls. “I didn’t think I had a problem because I was productive. I was going to work; I was raising my kids. It wasn’t until that conversation that I really listened to him.”
Patrick’s father passed away in 1999. Fourteen months later, in 2001, Patrick decided to seek help at Hoag. Looking back, Patrick credits his ultimate success with the fact that no one forced him to go; while his wife and children were extremely supportive and encouraging, it was a decision he made on his own.

A Divorce Filing, a Thrown Coffee Pot … a Wild Two Weeks

Still, the road ahead of him had a few curves and potholes to throw his way.
Instead of enrolling in Hoag’s inpatient program, Patrick first decided to give its outpatient services a go. He attended just one day before deciding to leave.
Two weeks later, Patrick enrolled in Hoag’s inpatient program — but those intervening two weeks were packed with events that pushed Patrick, his wife and their two children to the emotional breaking point.
His wife filed for divorce. He was fired from the family business. As his children huddled in a window crying, Patrick and his wife got into a knock-down-drag-out fight during which he threw a coffee pot. It bounced and nearly hit him in the head.
The police were called. The harrowing family drama proved to be cathartic for Patrick: He realized at that moment, beyond a doubt, that he had to get sober once and for all — or risk losing everything dear to him.

The Turning Point: Hoag’s Inpatient Care

From the moment Patrick arrived at Hoag’s inpatient program, he was all in: “I listened to the facilitators, doing everything they asked me to do, and I successfully completed the 28-day program.”
During family week, his wife, his mother and two of his sisters (he is one of five children) all came to visit. When the 28 days were up, Patrick wanted to stay there because he didn’t have a home to go to since his wife filed for divorce. Although she had visited him on Sundays, he hadn’t asked her if he could come home.
But when he finally built up the courage to ask, her answer brought tears to his eyes. “I just want my best friend back – I haven’t seen him in a long time,” she told him. “Why don’t you just come home and we’ll see how it goes.”
This year, Patrick and his wife are celebrating 29 years of marriage. Since becoming and staying sober, he never missed his children’s school and other life events. He has a wonderful relationship with his children, who are now 23 and 25 and have graduated from college. Meanwhile, Patrick was rehired by the family business; in fact, he’s running it, and his son and wife work there as well.

‘After I Got Sober, They Learned to Rely on Me’

“When I came home from Hoag, I sat down with my kids and told them bluntly that drugs and alcohol had ruined my life. Before, they knew there would be days when I wasn’t a nice person; they would avoid me. But after I got sober, they learned to rely on me,” Patrick says.
Through the years, Patrick and his wife talked openly with their children about the negative effects of alcohol and drug abuse. “I let them know that if they ever found themselves in trouble, to call. Just call me, and I’ll come and get you without asking questions.”
As a testament to the profound impact the care he received at Hoag has had on his life, Patrick, along with his mother, volunteers every Thursday night for the aftercare program at the Addiction Treatment Center.
“I like to give people hope,” he says, adding that he is grateful for all the happy, hopeful people he has encountered throughout his remarkable personal journey. “I let them know it’s good — that doing the work is good.”