Welwynn was born from my own experience with addiction. Like many professionals with successful careers, I managed to build a thriving business despite being a full-fledged alcoholic. The day finally came for me to face the music and it was a turning point in my life for which I am profoundly grateful.
In March of 1991, I founded an advertising agency that grew from a single-employee start-up over my garage, to a multi-million-dollar marketing firm that was voted the fastest growing business in Raleigh-Durham in 1999. The business was purchased by a holding company in 2006 and I was made president over the holding company’s entire marketing division. Not long after this, I was charged with my second DWI and fear took over; the fear of losing everything if I could not stop drinking. Shortly after, in June 2007, my wife drove me to a treatment center, and I have remained sober ever since.
In the years following treatment, I bought the agency back; lost my father, my wife and my mother; closed the agency; remarried and then divorced. But through all this chaos, trauma, and personal tragedy, after receiving treatment, I never drank.
While in treatment and eventually while working with an addiction facility, I began to reflect on the path professionals have to take with their addictions and the special circumstances they encounter. Welwynn provides services only to executives, professionals and their families with alcohol, drug addictions and mental illnesses, allowing them to get help in a setting with people to whom they most closely align. Combining professional peer support with outpatient treatment renders a difficult situation more palatable and accessible.
I’m humbled and grateful to say that with the support of family, friends, and the strength and grace of my God, I (Macon Moye) have been sober for over 9 years. I am recovering from an addiction to both opiates and alcohol. I can attest to the dark, deadly grip that opiates quickly place on your body, both physically and mentally. Here’s how my opiate addiction developed: I began taking pain pills because of chronic knee pain. This is not an uncommon practice for aging athletes. Gradually, I increased my opiate intake from once in a while as needed for legitimate pain, to daily intake, because I was becoming addicted to the opiate high. Listen, the combination of opiates and alcohol make horrifically toxic and alluring dance partners. Alcohol can quickly become the opiate “wing man” and in very little time, you have a full-blown addiction on your hands. Given that I was already a high-functioning, high-volume drinker, I began to add opiates daily for more than 15 years – and in very little time, I became a slave to that euphoric high that a Vicodin or Percocet or Oxycontin, washed down with a Vodka, can produce. My family and friends suspected that there was a problem, but they really had no idea of the sheer volume of pills and alcohol that became a daily need for my addiction.
One real and very dangerous issue for so many of us that suffer from addiction is the ability to appear in full control of our lives. If we can convince ourselves and hopefully others that we are providing financially for those whom we are responsible then that reinforces our belief that we really don’t have a problem. The pictures of homeless alcoholics and drug addicts digging through dumpsters and appearing so horribly unhealthy and dirty are what we point to when the addiction conversation breaks out. How incredibly ironic is it then that we, just as addicted as any of those less-fortunate appearing homeless souls, can preach about the horrors of alcohol and drug abuse?
As the Addiction takes its toll on your body physically, it also is quietly robbing you of your soul – and taking all matters of your life into it’s own hands. I can 100% promise you that if left untreated, the Addiction will eventually take your soul, all of your money, your family, your friends, your job and your life. Making that decision to seek treatment doesn’t often happen by the addict making a conscious, sound, reasonable, responsible decision. The Addiction, itself, has already done the job of eliminating sound, reasonable, responsible decision making, The Addiction is making the decisions and controlling the addict’s life. The addict eventually hits that “bottom” and loses control of almost everything that matters.
I will not go into describing all I lost, and the horrible things I went through on my way to the addiction bottom that eventually all alcoholics and drug addicts will face. For some of us, that bottom is death. As for me, I spent more than three months in a hospital, much of that time on life-support, very nearly dying from the physical issues my chronic alcohol and opiate use created. My family and friends watched me for months as I wandered in and out of reality. I will never be able to fully understand the effect my addictions and life choices have had on those I care so much about. Suffice it to say, that though I now understand the control that Addiction takes over one’s mind and body, I still hold only myself accountable for that addiction, as that is the reality, and is the only true path for healing. I continue to ask those I hurt for forgiveness on a daily basis, and completely understand when some of them simply do not want to hear my apologies.
So, this is part of my journey, and I share it with you in the hopes that you allow compassion and understanding to grow for those folks you might know who are struggling with addiction. I hope you can, as they say, “Hate the disease but love the person.” Maybe you can reach out to someone who needs your support with addiction. I am without a doubt fortunate. Thanks to my family, especially my brothers and some unbelievably caring and generous friends, I did survive, and I did walk out of that hospital on my own. As well, thanks to two very professional rehab centers and the amazing fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have been able to learn to live sober and clean for over six years.
Today I realize that there are so many addicts living in denial, and essentially riding in a car that each day picks up speed with no breaks. Eventually, the crash will occur and the damage is so very real and sad for everyone involved. Hopefully people that are still convincing themselves that they can “use” and be normal will at the very least consider that they may need some help. Thanks to the growing awareness and understanding of addiction, getting help these days is becoming much easier – and hopefully the social stigma that comes with admitting that you are an alcoholic or drug addict will become less problematic.
I remember my first AA meeting – standing up and introducing myself as an alcoholic. I was beyond nervous, with my mouth dry and my heart beating through my chest, wondering how in the hell I ended up in that room. When I sat back down, an eerie calm came over me, and for the first time in so many years, I felt like maybe I had a chance at life again. An actual real-life second chance at life. A successful, happy, sober life with success and happiness redefined and sobriety being a new way of life.
If you think you might have a problem with alcohol and or drugs, then you probably do. And in that case, I implore you to seek help. Find the strength to own-up to your problem to someone and get some help. I openly discuss my addiction with others because talking about it honestly helps me to stay sober. So if you know me, feel that you might be struggling with addiction, and would like to talk, please feel free to reach out to me. If you do not know me, go ahead and reach out anyway. One thing I can promise you is that you will not tell me anything that will shock me. Our stories are all too similar, yet unique, and I have a wonderful support network that I will gladly share.