Monday, April 29, 2013

Recovery for Boston Bombing Amputees

An essential component to recovery is helping others through their recovery. When a person has overcome a serious challenge – be it a sickness, addiction or loss of limb – they are in the best position to help those who are new to facing the same challenge. The 12 Step concept of “giving back what we were so freely given” is applicable to recovery writ large, not just addiction. No one is better suited to help another than someone who has gone through the same experience before.

This concept was evident last week when war veteran amputees went to help victims of the Boston bombings who also lost limbs. Among the victims was Celeste Corcoran who lost both her legs from the first bomb that exploded in Boston on April 15th. Pictured below is of one of the veteran amputees, Gabe Martinez, who went to give service to victims like Celeste:

Photo Credit 
Sgt. Gabe Martinez, who was wounded by an IED in Marjah, Afghanistan, in 2010, comforted Celeste by asserting, “we’re the exact same.” He tells her she will be able to support her body weight better than he can because she kept her legs to below the knee. “This isn’t the end,” he said, “This is the beginning.” And for Martinez his amputations were the beginning of something new. Although he lost both legs, he lives life well today thanks to the advancements in prosthetics. He is currently a Paralympics hopeful for track and field for the Rio for the Olympics in 2016. He uses this goal as an example to victims currently suffering, “one thing that I tell all the patients I saw, whatever your passion was, you're going to be able to get back to it. You're going to get new passions, I promise you.” When Martinez spoke to victims at their bottom in their hospital room, it bore a resemblance to the picture of Bill Wilson, the founder of AA helping another alcoholic at his worst in a hospital:

Photo Credit
Although these are two extremely different circumstances that require recovery, the principles and human element of recovery are the same – people need help from those who have gone through and overcome what they are facing. This aspect of service is a major component to the drug and alcohol treatment programs represented here on Passport to Recovery. Addiction treatment center staff can say the same for their new clients as Martinez said about the Boston victims, “It is just, right now, they're just kind of discovering who they are now. And it is going to be an ongoing process that will take some time, but every one of them will pull through.”

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