Profiles in Recovery

Martin Jim McFadden

We often hear the term “hit rock bottom”. For many this is the lowest point that person could go. When it comes to alcoholism, rock bottom could be a near death experience, legal trouble, or the loss of a family member or friend. For Martin Jim McFadden this point came when his father passed away before he was able to say goodbye. McFadden recounted, “My father was on his death bed and was asking and looking to see me. At this same moment I was getting arrested for brawling and smashing up a bar (about half hour drive from our home)”.

McFadden remained sober for eight years before a relapse. With the relapse all the “horrors” of the past came flooding back. One day he was gifted a set of Rosary beads and from there he rediscovered his faith and found “true peace”. He looks to God daily through prayer to support his fourteen-year sobriety.

He has chosen to put all his energy into helping others by sharing his story in writing, on stage and through music. “After I got sober, I discovered my gift and passion for writing and this was more meaningful as I had dropped out of school with no education or qualifications. I also went on a fourteen-year journey searching for long lost family members. This resulted in my visiting Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and London, before I eventually got closure and peace on same.” McFadden continues to focus on his future knowing if he stays on the path of sobriety “the rewards are endless”. Most importantly, “I would like to thank Liz, my wife, for standing by me during our darker moments and having faith that I would change my ways.”

Day Job:
Hospital Porter

What I lost to addiction:
My father was on his death bed and was asking and looking to see me. At this same moment I was getting arrested for brawling and smashing up a bar (about half hour drive from our home). My father passed away before I got to see and talk with him. I would walk away from someone I loved in favor of a drink.

What worked for me:
I spent time in rehab, aftercare and therapy. I did manage then to remain sober for a period of eight years, but I was still searching for something. I went back drinking again and back to all the same horrors I thought I had left behind. I was then presented with a pair of Rosary beads and this brought me back to God. I experienced a beautiful conversion and finally found the true peace and joy I was longing for.

Best advice for newbies:
Just reflect on all the pain and worry your addiction has caused you and your loved ones so far. Make the firm decision to quit and believe in yourself. Then fuel all the energy and thought process you put into getting your next fix or getting out of a dangerous situation, into chasing and achieving your dreams and discovering the gifts and talents that you possess.

Advice to my younger self:
If I knew the devastation and pain my drinking was going to cause I would not have touched that first drink.

Rules I live by:
I ask God first thing every morning to keep me sober throughout the day and prevent me from falling into mortal sin. I repeat this simple prayer every evening to help me through the night.

What I value most in recovery:
Peace and joy in my heart and looking forward to reaching out and helping people I meet along the way.

Proudest moment:
My conversion and finding God again.

Stigma I faced:
Some people wrongly judge you if you’re caught up in addiction and when you are at a low point, this can knock your confidence and belief in yourself.

Rock bottom moment:
My rock bottom was not making it home in time for my father’s passing. To hold his hand during that moment and tell him how much I loved him.

On my bucket list:
I have self-published my autobiography ‘’Don’t Go There’’ and turned same into the form of a One Man Play. I have already taken this show to a few theatres and my goal and dream is to take the show on an international tour of Theatres. I have written and recorded two songs and a poem and plan on writing more books, plays and songs. I am very passionate about sharing my message with the view of helping and inspiring others who might be suffering from any form of addiction or struggling with having faith and confidence in their own talents and gifts.

Favorite recovery quote:
A friend once said to me: ‘’If we don’t quit, we can’t fail’’ Don’t ever give up on your dreams and your ability to achieve. The old saying, ‘’A leopard will never change his spots’’ is just not true. I would like to thank Liz, my wife, for standing by me during our darker moments and having faith that I would change my ways.

When cravings come:
I just think back to the pain and heartache I left behind because of me just taking that first drink.

Thoughts on relapse:
I struggled and relapsed many times in the early years as I tried to address my addiction. Don’t give up and remain positive. The rewards are endless and you will be in a position to then grasp the opportunities that come your way.

At my worst, I was:
I was haunted by demons. I couldn’t settle in a job or stay in the one place. I was always on the run, fueling my paranoia with alcohol. I almost lost my life in an accident in 1986 and spent many months in the hospital as a result. Once I recovered, I went straight back to my old ways, creating mayhem and worry to family and all who loved me.

On my schedule today:
Started off with my morning prayer. I am off work now due to an old knee injury and I am using this time to work on my writings and my upcoming One Man Play. Working to helping others keeps me inspired and motivated.

What I learned about myself:
After I got sober, I discovered my gift and passion for writing and this was more meaningful as I had dropped out of school with no education or qualifications. I also went on a fourteen-year journey searching for long lost family members. This resulted in my visiting Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and London, before I eventually got closure and peace on same.

How I get through the holidays:
I just start each day as usual with a prayer and I find this works for me.

I get inspired by:
Most recently, your website: Profiles in Recovery.

What saves me from myself:
I know I have so much to give by remaining sober and so much to lose if I don’t.

On Finding Purpose:
I look forward to the journey ahead and learning of the success stories of the people who are struggling at this moment but who can and who will achieve their dreams and goals

SHED THE STIGMA:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].

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