Case history – Michael

A bespoke treatment plan individually tailored for a single client.

The Bay, Case History, Michael, 41, Projects Developer, Arizona


How did you know about The Bay?

My wife found it. She did a lot of research first. Basically she realized that I needed support. She actually looked at treatment centres all over the world and The Bay stood out because of its holistic approach. Treatment centres here in the US are pretty sterile places.

What place were you in at that point?

I was working as a musician. I guess I’d developed quite a debauched lifestyle in terms of drugs, drink and sociability over the years, then I met my wife, she got pregnant, we had a son and I tried to live a different kind of life. I knew I was an addict and I was trying to be something else. I tried yoga and meditation but nothing worked. It wasn’t enough. At this time five years ago, I wasn’t actually drinking alcohol but I’d discovered these painkillers called Oxycoton and they are a form of opiate, so really it was a way of escaping the world and avoiding stuff. I felt insulated but I didn’t feel good. They’re also very addictive. My wife realized what was going on and really wanted to help me.

And were you open to this support and The Bay?

It came at exactly the right time. I couldn’t do it on my own. I was also vulnerable. I wanted to be a better dad and husband.

How were you went you arrived at the Bay?

I had no preconceptions. I was there for a month. There were a team of therapists looking after me, and finally I could put myself in their hands. I also had to do the work and I was open to that. A lot of people arrive and they are detoxing, I had already done that at home, I was so keen to get on with the program.

What did the days look like there?

There was a cook and she made all vegetarian food for me. In fact there was a whole team of people that met me on the first day including a yoga teacher, John, the founder, is a psychotherapist and he really saved me, an acupuncturist, a masseuse, a Feldenkreis practitioner. There was someone with me 24 hours a day if I wanted. It was very comforting. The house was a normal house in a gorgeous location too. That helped that it wasn’t a faceless centre.

Typically the day would be breakfast, yoga session, then a psychotherapy session, and after lunch a body work session like massage, these sessions worked together on me, my emotions and my body. And later on there would be meditation. I did develop a meditation practice while I was there and I see it as one of the mains ways of dealing with addiction.

What was it that worked for you?

The combination of therapies. That it wasn’t just one, it was all of them working together. The psychotherapy sessions were scary but transformative, this way I got to become aware what was driving my addictions, where they came from in my past. That was so useful. It didn’t happen immediately though. It took time to break through my social mask and trust. What I love about The Bay is that they don’t view addiction as a disease that is always present, they see it as a direct result of traumas in the past, and when those traumas get attention, the addictions are able to move. I found my sessions incredibly insightful and utterly liberating. I really think everyone should experience it.

One day, I remember having a psychotherapy session and then having a massage. They worked in tandem and I cried like I’d never cried before after the massage.

They also make sure you have a diet that suits you as an individual. That has helped to ground me more.

And I actually had the time and space to become at peace in a place of introspection.

What did you learn about yourself?

Mainly that I hadn’t been able to express myself as a child. Slowly every day another weight was lifted from my shoulders. It’s simple, in these sessions, you are encouraged to accept how you feel. That’s amazing.

Did the Bay experience help you reappraise addiction?

Yes, I always knew it was a physical problem but now I discovered it was an emotional an spiritual state. And then I found out that really if you uncover the source of the underlying lack of happiness, that is the key to a sustained recovery. You don’t need drink and drugs with this awareness.

How were you at the end of the month?

A completely different person. I used to be so scattered and scared and an absolute mess. I’d been through 12 years of substance abuse. Now I felt grounded and the best that I felt since I was a child.

Have you stayed clean for five years?

Yes, completely. I’ve been able to lead the life that I want to lead. It’s incredible.

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