Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 3, 2013

JOSHUA BALL: Many roads lead to one common place — recovery

LOUISA — Trying to sift through 30 or so pages of notes of my day spent with 19 brave women in the midst of treatment at Karen’s Place, I come to the following conclusions: Addiction does not discriminate and that there are many stories, many roads to where these women came from, but there’s one destination — recovery.

Rebekah Deahl, 27, of Bristol, Tenn., did not fit my preconceived idea of an addict. She grew up with everything. Her parents were medical professionals, and she seemed to be on destined path of success.

Despite having everything on the outside, there was something missing. That void led to an eating disorder, specifically bulimia, and that led to a personal decline that resulted in addictions to drugs and prescription painkillers.

Her story is detailed, from contemplating, and in her words being rescued, from an abortion, to adultery and watching her then-boyfriend’s brother being bludgeoned to death by a baseball bat.

It’s enough for a 1,000 lifetimes, but despite the bad turns, she completed an undergraduate degree and worked as a social worker, a healthcare programmer and for the federal corrections system.

“There were times I went to work high,” she admitted. “It was my fix.”

 She experimented with treatment, including Methadone and Suboxone.

“I used that treatment to my advantage to stay high,” she said. “I was going out of control. There’s periods of my life I don’t remember a thing.”

In July of last year, she overdosed on a cocktail of prescription drugs, but that didn’t stop her. She had married an Iraqi-war veteran who adopted her daughter.

However, it was another near death experience — this one a car accident, that moved her closer to recovery.

“It was half me, and half my parents,” said Deahl. “I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t get clean by myself.”

On top of the addiction, her marriage was failing as an affair with a cocaine dealer during this time had another aspect of her personal life in limbo.

“My husband visited last month, and I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get out of here,” she said. “I’m prepared for whatever, but I know he knows that I am sorry and that was not the same person he fell in love with.”

Deahl has had sober periods over the years, but knows this is a different path — a path of deliverance.

She’s been at Karen’s Place for five months and will leave sometime this month.

“I’m excited for what the future holds,” Deahl said.

When asked about her daughter, she got emotional: “I’m looking forward to the birthdays, the trips to the mall and the relationship free from any drugs,” she said, wiping away tears. “My daughter has big plans for us, like going to see the Easter Bunny and other things. Those are the things I missed, and those are things I look forward to in the future.”

The biggest misconception I had about treatment was the structure. I guess I thought it was a 12-hour-a-day therapy session versus a 12-step process or other therapy models.

It’s not. Instead, it’s a lesson in life and being given the blueprint of living. It’s about perspective and putting what’s important in it to serve as the motivation to move forward on the path that’s right and prosperous.

And finally, it was a message of faith: a message of not only love from a higher power, but the power of the human spirit to care for one another despite your past, despite your upbringing and despite your circumstances.

My day on the mountain left me inspired that those at Karen’s Place are on the frontlines of fighting the epidemic that has destroyed lives, homes, families and the futures of so many. They are righting the wrongs of so many through compassion, love and faith.

We could all use a little time on the mountain counting our blessings.

 JOSH BALL is a freelance writer from Paintsville. His “In Their Shoes” segments runs on occasional Sundays throughout the year. Read him at jball@kyteleworks.com if you have an idea.


Text Only
Local News
  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ashland couple indicted on grave violation charges

     A man and a woman from Ashland have been indicted for allegedly stealing brass flower vases from graves at Rose Hill Burial Park.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Shore clerk gives updates on city building bids, sewer project

    City officials may not have to wait much longer to move from their temporary offices on Main Street into a shiny, new building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fate of stray animals in Carter County questioned

    Stray animals in Carter County may be disappearing because no one seems to know exactly where they are going.

    April 22, 2014

  • Recovery center finds home

    The mayor of Grayson said he isn’t concerned about the money a new recovery center will funnel into the city, although he is deeply appreciative of what the proposed facility may be able to offer “people who really need help” recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

    April 22, 2014

  • Olive Hill man charged with shooting wife during dispute

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.
    Robert Tackett, 47, of Olive Hill, was lodged in the Carter County Detention Center on Monday, charged with attempted murder-domestic violence, Kentucky State Police at Ashland said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Two of three Greenup commission seats on ballot

    Two of three commission seats are up for grabs in Greenup County this fall, and both will involve primary contests to determine the ballot lineup in the November election.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423attmurder_tackett.jpg Olive Hill man charged with attempted murder

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rotary updated on Alliance

    Ed Neely, president of the Ashland Rotary Club and chairman of the Ashland Alliance, addressed Rotarians in both capacities during the Monday meeting to give an update on the organization’s recent progress.

    April 21, 2014

  • Prater has been satisfying fans’ hunger for 40 years

    Debbie Prater has satisfied thousands of athletes’, parents’ and fans’ snacking desires for nearly 360 months.
    That’s just about 40 years of serving nachos, popcorn, chili dogs, water and soda from Lewis County’s football, basketball and baseball concession stands, and Prater is retiring after this year’s last pitch.

    April 21, 2014