September 10, 2014
Dear Lloyd, Diogo, Dr. Maselli and Coleen:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for your kindness and caring in my quest to overcome alcoholism. I cannot tell you all how grateful I am for the tools you all provided to me, your support, and sincere concern.
As I mentioned, I was skeptical of the pharmacological aspect only because it sounded too good to be true. I am so pleased to be wrong! It was true – within a half hour of taking my first dose of Naltrexone and Ondansetron, I felt calm, free from any need to drink, and enormous relief.
Diogo was very insightful and helped me to reframe some of the issues that were the catalyst for my choice to use alcohol to deal with events that were painful. Despite my poor choices, I did not feel judged, but rather, Diogo educated me regarding my former relationship and its interplay with my personality.
Since my return home. I have been able to maintain my sobriety and have felt no urges or cravings to drink. In fact, I feel brighter, I laugh more easily, and have much more energy. Needless to say, it is much easier to run and cycle without hammering myself with 10 drinks during the night and wee hours of the morning – even my dog was quite surprised (and pleased) with our faster running pace!
While I know that this “honeymoon” phase will pass and there will be obstacles to overcome in the future, I feel more confident and prepared to deal with them. And, it is very comforting to know that I have your continued support and can reach out to you all if I need to do so.
This has been a life changing experience for me. Let it suffice to say that “thank you” does not convey the gratitude I have in my heart for all of you.
A Grateful Client
September 7, 2014
Dear Loyd and Diogo,
I wanted you to know how much I appreciate all of your time, wisdom and your wonderful program. The eleven hour drive home gave me a lot of time to reflect how wonderful my time in Arizona was and how grateful I am that I ended up in your program. Both of you are truly special men and the good you are doing is an amazing reflection of goodness and how much better life can be.
A Grateful Client
Thank you sir for all your research in this crazy disease. It is my answer, I know it this time.
Thank you again,
A Grateful Client
I had admitted to myself that I was an alcoholic 20 years before I took naltrexone I had failed at every attempt to rid myself of the uncontrollable urge/need/addiction. Nothing worked. Until naltrexone
That first pill was taken not quite two years ago, and I have not had the slightest desire to have a drink since. Simple as that!
Not a sip!
My life and my way of looking at life has changed in ways too numerous to begin to recount. And all to the better. Not since High School (I am now 58) have I been a resident of the land of Sobriety. After giving up on ever being without the addiction to alcohol, I can only describe my present position as being astonished at the turn that my life has taken.
This medication could have saved both my father and my uncle from deaths directly attributable to their alcoholism. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times that my family and I have said, “If only you had been able to take this 30 years ago.” Amen to that!
The only down side to naltrexone, and it is a major one, is that no one seems to have heard of it, and no work appears to be being done to get the word out about this truly life-altering medicine.
It is as if you had a pill to turn water to gasoline and no one knows about it!
All of this could not have happened without the program of meetings I had at ARCA (Assisted Recovery Centers of Arizona). Lloyd Vacovsky runs the program, and without his wholehearted devotion to the program I probably wouldn’t be alive today. Not an exaggeration.
You need a high profile celebrity to endorse naltrexone and the program that accompanies its use. It’s a crime that this wonderful medication is not a household word.
I am a 46 year old white professional woman, married for almost 20 years (2nd marriage) with 2 children, a girl aged 18 and a boy aged 16 (in two months). I live in a suburb of a big city and have lived in this town for 16 years, 8 years in our first new home and 8 years in the home I picked (my husband wanted me to be happy) with a pool and trees and more room 1/2 mile away from the old home. My husband has a great job, my kids are beautiful and talented and smart and NICE!
I really didn’t have to work if I didn’t want to. I garden, sew, cook, read, am an avid cyclist… and I love to camp and hike in the deep woods. The guys at Assisted Recovery in Arizona compared me to June Cleaver of “Leave it to Beaver”. Oh… I also have a mini van, 2 dogs and a cat (the lizard died).
Sounds ideal? I made it that way but mostly I made it LOOK that way.
I was from a family of 2 parents who were alcoholics and abusive (in various ways)… mostly my mother. My 2 sisters and brother are all slightly older than me… but we went through YEARS of distancing and troubled times. You see, we all have deep deep scars that were inflicted on us at such an early age.
My parents were wealthy but the kids never reaped the benefits. We were never thought of. Children were something that a parent had to have to “look” normal. My mother was insane. Yes, totally and completely insane. I have her journal that she wrote from the 40′s and 50′s (I was yet to be born, I was the youngest)… and just last month I copied it and gave it to my siblings to read… it is an awareness that we all thought was true… but it was proof in WRITING that it was, without a doubt, true. It was also proof that we were a burden… she hated children, and in turn, us.
In short, we were neglected and abused in every sense of the word… ever see the movie “Sybil”? Reminds me of the type of life we had. But the 4 of us went on to have our lives. My parents are dead now. (Sorry but I am grateful for this now). My siblings have all had rocky lives and had their own battles with addictions but THANK GOD… we are all alive today and clean and finally all back together again… it’s wonderful.
But the scars ran so very deep in me also. I didn’t know what a mother role model was like so I did fashion myself after what I saw on TV. I became what I knew. But I had never had the love of parents or the guidance that was needed and yearned for. There are too many instances of heartache, loneliness and despair in my life to list here, but I wanted to set the ground work for why I am here today writing. After I got married and had the two children I was expecting the world to be “normal” for me but the past images and deep rooted pain and abuse kept creeping into my soul.
I couldn’t face the normal problems people have. First, I didn’t know how to handle them… I didn’t have anything to go on. Then I took every negative look or action from another as if it was magnified a thousand times. I kept thinking… I went through awful things as a child… I CAN’T be around anything negative NOW. So I began to drink to “cope” and then to be able to create my own reality.
I could “manage” when slightly fuzzy. Nothing hurt as much then. Well… it went from needing one glass of wine in the evening to 2, 3, 4, etc… until whenever “life” happened like it usually does to people…. I had to continually “up” the help I needed to cope. (Sound familiar to anyone??) UNTIL… you guessed it… I went way too far.
My life went to hell. I fought back with my husband and kids (whom I love dearly). I was deeply depressed, I had anxiety attacks… and I wanted to commit suicide. (Was in the hospital on “suicide watch”.)
All the images kept coming back to me of my past, and of the times when my father died (I was 29 then)… and when my mom died (I was 32 then). Those were horrid times. But all around me I had created, to the outsider, a perfect family. Inside I was dying.
I got to the point VERY quickly where I wasn’t functional. Within 2 years of starting the more than 1 glass of wine per day, I was arrested for public intoxication, (in jail for the night), wrecked my car numerous times, filed for divorce, my husband left with my 2 kids, and I lost my job… all within 6 months.
Then on Oct 22, 1999… I stopped.
I had taken Naltrexone on and off for a few months… but I wasn’t deeply committed to stop until it came to the point of losing EVERYTHING, including I knew, my life. I upped my Naltrexone dosage (I asked Dr. Joe from UPenn first)… to 150 mg a day. I knew I needed that. Then I knew I would go through DT’s, depression, etc. But I had to stop or else my life was over. Those were some of the hardest weeks/months of my life…. they compared to my childhood.
But oh so S L O W L Y… I proved to my family (trust was the hardest thing to regain) that I had stopped and that I was trying hard. I remained on Naltrexone for 9 months…. 150 mg per day for about 3 months… then slowly kept decreasing it. I had lost a lot of their love and respect, and my “great mommy and wife” image. That was devastating to lose, after all the years of trying so very hard to be loved and “like the others”.
But… I survived. I have God to thank for that. I went down on my knees and begged him to help me. I put my life in his hands… but He told me that I had to do my part too. If I did my part He would do His part… and boy has He.
I took my Naltrexone NO MATTER WHAT EVERY DAY. I drank TONS of water. I knew that I would go into a depression (it’s like the loss of a friend when you stop drinking)…. but I stuck with it.
Today… I am so VERY content with myself. I like myself and yes, even love myself.
I take care of me for Him. I don’t let anyone or anything get me to the point of depression. Yes, I get angry sometimes and cry sometimes and get my feelings hurt sometimes and get disappointed sometimes but I have found that is NORMAL. Learning how to have a loved feeling shows in your attitude and your actions when bad things happen to you.
My husband moved back home with the kids. The kids were going down the “depression” path and had very negative behaviors until I stopped. Now…they are GREAT. My daughter is going to college in the fall… my son is a sophomore in H.S. and is 2nd in his class, on the cross-country team and they both have tons of friends. My husband and I still have some rocky times but that is NORMAL I have found, and I can cope now without medicating myself!!
I have a job now that I absolutely LOVE with my brother-in-law. He has given me the chance to regain my self-worth and my self-respect… which I owe him dearly for.
I am now in constant contact with my sister who lives only 5 miles away (and for 10 years didn’t even talk to each other.) We are now in each others lives and in each others children’s lives again… what a blessing. My other sister and brother live far away, but we talk on the phone and email frequently.
My health has improved (my liver count is now normal), I have TONS more energy, but mostly… I CAN COPE. And you can too.
Do your part and have God do his part, and together you can have a much better life. A life you have only dreamed of. It CAN be done.
Please everyone… use all the tools you have handy to make yourself the type of person you’ve only dreamed of being. But know that it is possible. Use your friends and family for support, use AA if you want, use Naltrexone, use the online support and mostly go to God.
And I promise you… you will find your way out of your hellhole then.
You would think having spent a year in prison in 1989 would have taught me not to drink and drive. Problem was I just couldn’t control it. So in 1994 I was caught again and did 20 more days in jail. The same day I got out I was hit by a car while wandering through Phoenix streets in a drunken haze. That landed me in the hospital and I was on crutches for 19 months! Off crutches and back driving I was arrested again in 1996! This time I went to prison for four more months.
I haven’t driven drunk since I got out this last time, but that’s because I don’t have a car anymore. But I was still drinking and it wasn’t long before I was in trouble with the law again, this time for violating my probation. My probation officer gave me the choice of going through the program at Assisted Recovery or going back to jail. It was an easy choice. I didn’t think it would work because I had already been through every kind of program. But I figured it would buy me a few more months of freedom to drink before I got sent back to jail.
That was October 1997. I finished the program in January and I’m still alcohol free. I’ve got a job and a life for the first time in 20 years.
Susie (a counselor)
As a licensed drug and alcohol addiction counselor working in the Phoenix area for the past seven years I’ve seen the despair that addiction causes, not only in the addict but in people around him too. Friends, family, and employers. My training taught me to try to enlist support from these people to help the addict in achieving recovery. Too often even this is not enough and the alcohol wins out.
That’s why I was skeptical when I first heard about Naltrexone It sounded like pie in the sky. My training, my experience, all taught me that there is no easy answer. Sobriety has to be fought for, a day at a time.
But since I’ve been leading the weekend women’s’ group meetings at ARCA I’ve seen positive results with Naltrexone I’ve seen it take away the cravings that always got in the way. It’s not a substitute for counseling, but it’s a valuable ally in the daily battle to achieve sobriety.
My name is Wally, and I have been drinking for more years than I or my lovely wife Liz care to remember. I am retired; however, I was a successful businessman before moving to Arizona. While most people, including close friends, had no idea as to the extent of my alcohol dependence, my life unraveled out of control due to alcohol. As patient as she is, Liz finally divorced me.
Alcohol became the complete focus of my life. Everything else was incidental to my acquiring and drinking alcohol. I tried every type of program on earth. If I had thought that Voodoo would have worked, believe me I would have tried it. I was able to go through short periods of sobriety, during which time I struggled to regain my relationship with my then former wife. I finally convinced her that I could stop drinking, and to clinch the deal, after we again got married, we moved from Florida to Arizona.
It soon became apparent that I could not stop drinking, and the specter of Liz leaving me again haunted me. At this point I became aware of the Assisted Recovery program and Naltrexone Within an hour of taking the Naltrexone, I felt as if a monkey that had been on my back for years, suddenly jumped off. The relief that I experienced was immense and difficult to describe. I have completed the recommended 90 days on the Naltrexone While my craving to drink has been eliminated, I realize that I must make the adult decision every day, not to drink.
I spent 40 years of my life – from age 12 until I was 52 – in an alcoholic daze. As a consequence of my drinking I lost my job, my family, and even my dignity. I almost lost my life too. But thirteen treatment programs and 30 psychiatrists couldn’t pry the bottle from my fingers, no matter how hard they or I tried. I might abstain for a week, a month, once even for a year, but every time I left treatment I went back to drinking. The reasons I started were always different but the result was the same.
Alcohol ruled my life, until I discovered Naltrexone The first time Lloyd Vacovsky told me about Naltrexone and how it would stop my craving to drink, I thought “No way” could it do that. But Lloyd convinced me I had nothing to lose.
If the Naltrexone didn’t work, so what! Nothing else had worked either. Well the 14th time turned out to be the charm.
Within hours my craving for alcohol went away, and for the first time in years I was able to focus on the important things in life. Without Naltrexone, I am sure that I would be dead. Today I am alive, happy and sober, and have been since January of 1997. Thank you, Lloyd, for giving me back my life.
POSTSCRIPT: In a tragic end to this story, Gary was murdered on a Phoenix street in August 2000, while walking home from the grocery store. At the time of his death, Gary had remained sober for over four years, and was truly happy for perhaps the first time in his life. He was an inspiration to many of the newcomers to our program… and he was our friend… and we will miss him.