Select Page

Chasing Illusions

Addiction did not fully hit until my early 40’s. My alcoholic brain kept telling me that I was too good to be addicted to anything. But deep down, I knew I was and had known since I was 21 or 22 years old.

Addiction was for lesser people. Not the Great Shayne (an ego maniac with an inferiority complex – a perfect description of the person I was). Plus, I did not drink for most of my life so how could I be an alcoholic?

By Shayne Sundholm, CEO, Clean Recovery Centers

Unhappy “Golden Boy”

Restless, irritable, and discontent were my earliest memories as I chased “material illusions” in the hope of feeling better – athletic achievements, college degrees, promotions, titles, money and things. I was showered with accolades and awards for much of my life. People called me the “Golden Boy.” None of it made me the least bit happy for more than a minute or two.

Between ages 16 to 30, my drinking escalated. Then at 30, alcohol stopped working. I remember thinking I could kill myself, or I could stop drinking and see if I could find satisfaction by focusing even more on my career.

I chose the latter and my career became my addiction. As for getting help? No way. Then people would know; what if someone found out? Aside from a few relapses, sometimes for only a day, I would not drink from ages 30 to 43.

Disastrous decision

At 42 I made a very reckless, ego driven, “dry drunk” business and career decision that brought my disease to the attention of our families and everyone we knew – all within 24 months! I was losing everything and had no recovery or coping skills to help with the level of stress and embarrassment I was feeling.

How could this happen to the Great Shayne?

Though I had desperately needed addiction treatment since the age of 21 or 22, I had never been to detox, residential, PHP, IOP or OP treatment. That would change very quickly.

Deep, dark fall

In less than 24 months I would have 20 ER visits, 15 detox stays, 4 residential rehab stays, 4 psych center stays, several attempts at IOP treatment, 2 DWI’s, wind up $500K in the hole and separated from my wife – with a knife to my wrist. I resisted virtually every addiction recovery process offered during this time. That is, until I was almost dead.

At that point, from the moment I stepped into that last rehab, I felt different. God or the Creator of the Universe, or Source, or whatever you would like to call it, was going to do for me what I could not do for myself.

Letting go

I finally and completely knew that I was an alcoholic and that my thinking was broken. I made a decision to let other people, who knew what they were doing, do the thinking for me. I would do all that I was asked to do. I let go and got well quickly.

After spending most of my life unhappy not matter what, today I am more than reasonably happy most of the time – no matter what. It’s a far better life than I could have ever imagined. My mind no longer spins a million miles an hour as it did for my entire life.

One of God’s kids

I do not live in the past or the future. I live in the present moment. I no longer chase material illusions. I tried that and it didn’t work. Today, I don’t have to be or want to be the Great Shayne. That person never existed – it was just another illusion! I am just another one of God’s kids, nothing more and nothing less.

Today my life is about helping others and passing on what was given to me. On daily basis I get to experience something I did not, could not, or would not allow myself to feel, ever – GRATITUDE!

Recent Posts

Epigenetics and Withdrawal

Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious problem that affects families, communities, and society as a whole. Certain genetic, social, and environmental factors make some individuals more likely to develop addictions than others. Specifically, how genetics and...

Identifying and Preventing Substance Abuse in the Workplace

When an individual engages in substance abuse, it affects every facet of life from personal to professional. Studies show that most drug users are employed, and the drug use does not stop between the hours of 9 to 5. Drug abuse in the workplace is a problem on a...

Elderly Drug Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction and abuse in the elderly population is an often overlooked or underestimated issue. It’s a growing one, though, as people are living longer and medical practices including increased access to medication and more prescriptions being doled out...

Short and Long Term Effects of MDMA Abuse

What Is MDMA?MDMA or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine is a synthetic drug originally intended to help medications designed for controlling bleeding to synthesize. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was commonly used in psychotherapy, though there were no long-term studies...

PRESS RELEASE: Clean Recovery Centers Welcomes Stephanie Safos-Moriarty as Clinical Director

Clean Recovery Centers Welcomes Stephanie Safos-Moriarty as Clinical Director FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASETampa, FL, June 17, 2021 – Taylor Weil, Executive Director of Clean Recovery Centers, announced today that Stephanie Safos-Moriarty has joined the staff as its new...