Recovery In Austin: Irek’s Story
September is National Recovery Month and, to honor the occasion, we’re sharing personal stories of triumph over addiction. Many members of the Infinite Recovery team are in long-term recovery or have been deeply personally impacted by addiction. Kyle and Lydia shared their stories earlier in the month and our next story comes from Irek Banaczyk.
When I was five years old, my mother left our home country of Poland in pursuit of a better life for our family. My three-year-old sister and I were left behind with my father. It was five long years before we reconnected as a whole family in the United States of America. I recall the bewildering excitement of seeing my mother for the first time in five years under the twinkling evening lights of the New York City skyline. After three years in New York, we moved to Austin.
My parents didn’t get along; when I was thirteen they divorced. I strongly recall the anger, confusion, and rage which boiled under my skin as a teen already overcome by physiological changes — the perfect storm.
At first, I started sneaking my parents’ liquor, but it wasn’t long before my craving to numb the pain progressed to taking much harder drugs. My father, with whom I lived, worked fourteen-hour days and was oblivious to my long nights out and many of my shenanigans.
With my family fragmented and unavailable, I found a new one. The gravitational pull drew me into a circle of others, who, much like myself, were looking to fill the void. We suffered a collective wound of not feeling heard or understood. We craved connection and we found it in each other and in the copious amount of drugs that filled the streets of Austin during the 80s and 90s. At age fifteen, I used intravenously for the first time.
For the next twenty years I used drugs to hide the pain and empty feeling inside. The pursuit of happiness through chemicals brought me to my knees before the gates of utter hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. At age thirty-seven, completely defeated and nearly homeless, I prayed for help!
January 30, 2007 was the rebirth of a new life.
I spontaneously started attending 12 Step meetings and meditating. Transformation and healing progressed much like my disease of addiction. As the brain began repairing, I formed new neural pathways and associations for happiness and meaning. In the past six years as a counselor, I’ve appreciated the importance of secure attachment and need for a stable, nurturing environment. I have also learned about the impact of trauma, and how vital it is to be fully present with someone during their pain.
In my darkest hours of life I found the impetus for change. It is a change which profoundly altered the course of my life, and I feel so grateful for this opportunity to have an occupation that allows me to meet people in this way each day. My former self-destructive lifestyle gives me great empathy and understanding, which allows me to offer my clients hope and assistance in their desire to transcend the cycle of suffering, and, instead find a life filled with purpose and meaning.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol and drugs, they can find the same freedom I have. Call the team at Infinite Recovery at (844) 206 – 9063 or apply online today. My experience has shown me it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.