S2 E7
Deena Harless: Unpacking Recovery (Part 2)

Released August 14, 2023

In the  conclusion to her two-part story on the Recovery Replay podcast, Deena Harless openly shares her journey from the depths of alcohol addiction to the triumph of lasting recovery. Joining the discussion is Lori Bachman, Executive Director of Meadows Texas at Meadows Behavioral Healthcare, who provides valuable insights and expert commentary on Deena’s experiences.

Deena’s battle with substance abuse reached new heights after a cross-country move from Florida to Alaska, where she confronted a series of life-changing challenges. The heartbreaking loss of her mother to cystic fibrosis, combined with an unhealthy relationship and escalating work stress, fueled Deena’s descent into heavy drinking and alcohol dependence.

As her alcoholism spiraled out of control, Deena’s physical and mental well-being deteriorated rapidly. Severe alcohol poisoning, multiple hospitalizations, and brushes with death served as startling wake-up calls. Despite attempts to quit drinking independently, Deena acknowledged that professional addiction treatment was her only path to survival.

Lori Bachman emphasizes the significance of Deena’s decision to seek help, noting that it is a critical step in the recovery process. She highlights the importance of addressing underlying traumas and developing healthy coping mechanisms in a supportive, therapeutic environment like Meadows Behavioral Healthcare.

With the steadfast support of friends and a dedicated therapist, Deena made the life-altering choice to enter a 40-day rehab program at Meadows Texas. During her stay, she embarked on the challenging work of confronting past traumas, acquiring essential coping skills, and establishing a solid foundation for enduring recovery.

Embracing her newfound sobriety, Deena courageously chose to leave Alaska and embark on a new chapter in Texas. In a remarkable turn of events, she now works at the very treatment center that facilitated her own recovery, utilizing her lived experience to motivate and support others on their healing journeys.

Lori Bachman underscores the power of Deena’s story, emphasizing how her journey from addiction to recovery can serve as a beacon of hope for individuals struggling with substance use disorders and mental health issues. She stresses the importance of seeking professional help, engaging in therapy, and cultivating a robust support system to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Cross-addiction triggers and life challenges: Deena’s story highlights how significant life changes, such as moving across the country, losing a loved one to chronic illness like cystic fibrosis, and toxic relationships can trigger or exacerbate alcohol addiction and substance abuse.
  2. Recognizing the need for professional addiction treatment: Deena’s severe alcohol poisoning, hospitalizations, and near-death experiences emphasize the importance of seeking professional help for alcohol dependence and substance use disorders. Attempting to quit drinking alone may not be sufficient for lasting recovery.
  3. The role of therapy and coping skills in recovery: Lori Bachman stresses the significance of addressing past traumas and developing healthy coping mechanisms through therapy and support from addiction professionals at treatment centers like Meadows Behavioral Healthcare.
  4. The power of a strong support system: Deena’s journey underscores the crucial role of friends, family, and addiction treatment specialists in providing support and guidance throughout the recovery process and in maintaining long-term sobriety.
  5. Transforming personal experience into purpose: By sharing her story and working at the treatment center that helped her overcome addiction, Deena demonstrates how individuals in recovery can use their experiences to inspire and support others facing similar challenges.
  6. Breaking the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health: Deena’s openness about her journey challenges the stigma associated with substance use disorders and mental health issues, emphasizing that recovery is possible for anyone who seeks help.
  7. The importance of comprehensive addiction treatment: Meadows Behavioral Healthcare and Lori Bachman’s insights underscore the importance of comprehensive addiction treatment that addresses both substance abuse and underlying mental health concerns for successful long-term recovery.

Through this raw and honest account, Deena challenges the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health, demonstrating that recovery is attainable for anyone, regardless of how far they have fallen. By sharing her story and working alongside experts like Lori Bachman at Meadows Behavioral Healthcare, Deena aims to inspire others to take the first steps towards a life free from the grip of addiction.