On May 15, 1980, I graduated from The University of Connecticut School of Law. I had no worries, except my studies, as my parents paid virtually all my bills until I was 25 years
old. In college at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, I had a work study job, and for one year of law school, I worked at the West Hartford Public Library. The second year of law
school I did title searches for a real estate attorney. After graduating from law school, I spent that summer studying for the Connecticut Bar exam.
Back on April 14TH of 1980, I was involved in a head on car crash, which happened while I was in an alcohol induced blackout. I tell you this now because it might have contributed
to my suspicious thinking, which eventually led to fullblown paranoia. I quit that job in February of 1981 without having another job. Eventually I went to live with my parents who suggested that I see a psychiatrist. I met with the doctor for no more than one half hour, and he prescribed 10 milligrams of Stelazine. This was a shock to my body and in February of 1984, I signed myself into the John Dempsey hospital in Farmington, Connecticut. For the first week there I was not well. The doctor recommended Thorazine. This med worked well enough to have me discharged from the hospital to a transitional living facility in Hartford, Connecticut.
For the next 8-9 years. I repeated what would become a pattern. I would do well on a new med, then decompensate and have to be hospitalized. Throughout this time I was also drinking beer, off and on. I had a total of 19 admissions, with stays lasting 2 months to 2 years. In 1992, while at the Norwich State Hospital, a doctor suggested that I try a new med called Clozaril. With an adjustment to take it all at bedtime, that turn out to be my last hospitalization until a 4day stay for anxiety in 2013.
During that same hospital stay at Norwich State, I stopped drinking beer. I continue to be a recovering alcoholic with 23 years of sobriety. In March of 1995 I secured a full time position with the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network (WCMHN) in Torrington, Connecticut. I continued to work there until my disability retirement in December of 2014.
I was introduced to Schizophrenics Anonymous by Jim Cronin. I refer to Jim as my SA mentor as he helped me to start the Torrington area SA meeting in 2004. Today it is a closed meeting. It is a class within the Recovery & Wellness program at WCMHN. I have been involved as the paid staff person from 2004 until December 2014, when I retired. Along with Jim Cronin, I was one of the first moderators of the SA group calls. In 2014 I was elected to the SARDAA Board of Directors. SA has been a very important part of my life and recovery.
(this post is an excerpt from the October 2015 SARDAA Newsletter)