At the end of my active addiction, my run was lonely and depressing. I only had friends that wanted to use substances with me or sell them to me. I had lost all the friends that genuinely cared for me and were doing the next right thing in their lives. They told me to get help or leave them alone, so I kept using and stayed in active addiction longer. The ultimatum did not bring fear, they just did not understand I needed to use to not feel my pain. I rationalized, justified and minimized my use to the point I could not even understand why they cut me off, “I was not that bad.” As time went on, addiction did not show me anything more except the fact- I was that bad!
When I finally decided to get help, those friends were the first ones to pick me up, unlike the “friends” surrounding me at the bar or my using partner. When I went away for treatment, my friends were there to encourage me and they even wrote me letters. I never had a missed call, voice mail, text message or letter from the friends I was using with, was that a surprise? No, they had moved on to their next target and I was free.
After treatment, I began to go to 12 step fellowship meetings and meet more people that were trying to recover. There were men and women who cared about me and helped me, not looking for anything in return. This was a great feeling and gave me a chance to start letting go of my old behaviors. I could then become the person I once was inside. Making friends in recovery can take time but is well worth it compared to where I came from. I now have people that will help me and go through stages of my recovery with me. I never have to feel as alone as I did when I was using again. At some 12-step fellowship conventions, they play the song “Lean on me” at the end, now I understand why.
Dr. Emilio Mantero-Atienza, commonly referred to as Dr. Mantero, is a distinguished Psychiatry Specialist operating out of Miami, Florida. With an impressive tenure spanning over four decades in the medical domain, he has established himself as a leading figure, especially in addressing Psychotic Disorders and Addiction & Substance Abuse.
Dr. Mantero's academic journey commenced with his graduation from the University of Sevilla School of Medicine in Sevilla, Spain, back in 1981. His fervor for mental well-being led him to acquire a Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry and a Master’s degree in Public Health & Epidemiology from the University of Miami Medical School. For over a decade and a half, he played a pivotal role as a faculty member at the University of Miami School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital, fostering academic research and molding the future of budding medical enthusiasts. His commendable leadership in Behavioral departments across prominent Miami-based hospitals, including Cedars Hospital and Mercy Hospital, underscores his prowess in General Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine.