YOU’RE NOT ALONE
I’ve Been There - Done That
By Daniel S.
I knew there were problems in my life. I also suspected that the drugs and the alcohol compounded the problems. I was unhappy to the point of despair. Despite the fear of the unknown, I admitted myself to a treatment program for chemical dependency. I wanted no one to know I was there. I resisted telling my family, my company and the FAA. I was scared, which revealed itself as anger. Eventually I told those few people who needed to know. That was my first release of control and my first steps into the world of trust and faith.
When I returned home it was difficult. The treatment center had been safe but at home I was surrounded by my old haunts, old thoughts and then loneliness set in. I missed the old friends but had to make new ones. I was still out of work and bills piled up.
In about 8 months from leaving the line, I received my conditional First Class Medical in the mail. By this time I was a regular at my home group meeting and Birds of a Feather. I humbly celebrated receipt of my FAA medical with my new sober friends. The Company welcomed me back into training and was very supportive. The only people that know what happened to me are the people that I tell. My Union HIMS Representative stood with me throughout the process and continues to support me each step of the way. So far, everyone has been compassionate and encouraging.
It’s now 3 ½ years since I entered treatment. My life has changed completely. I have respect for myself and others; I live an honest life free from guilt; I am free from the obsession to use; and the bills which I accumulated over the past 4 years have been eliminated. My FAA monitoring period covers 5 years and in the past that would have bothered me, but not now. It’s just one more aid to encourage me to stay clean and sober. Attending my aftercare group, the Baby Birds, is part of my required monitoring and I experience it as the most beneficial activity in which I participate.
Thank God I had my job as a pilot to keep my nose to the grind stone. I love my job....and now my life.
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