Lance: Keep Coming Back!

Our lives, spirits, and souls must accept G-d’s will for us.  I want to emphasize my deep love for a higher power greater than myself.  I love life even though I have had many hardships and pain.  However, the happiness and spirituality kills all past pain.  Maybe G-d wants to test our faith in Him.  He must be loving and greater than you can even understand, because as our creator we seek pain in order to get to him.  Life is a challenge that we must always work to overcome.

Money comes and goes. In my life it came through drugs and alcohol.  It is difficult to believe that even when you are on the wrong path you are still seeking a power greater than yourself.  Just for today I am 3 years clean but medicated for my mental disorder. As I continue to recover, I hope to take less and less medication. Drugs and liquor don’t run my life anymore.  My spirit is calling on me to make a move.  I realized that my personal power is greater than the call of drugs. I will talk about it to help others. My greatest achievements are very personal to me.  Believe me it has nothing to do with drugs and alcohol.  I’m not going to sell you on one of my cool war stories but I will share this; my favorite part of life is watching friends and family blossom and thrive at whatever they are doing.  When I die I want to know I worked my hardest for G-d and myself and the people I love.  My heart goes out to all but you can’t help everybody alone.  You need to surround yourself with loyal men to achieve self-worth, and I need your support.  I have met many men who learned how to get through life with me.  A friend in recovery told me: “We need to do this to recover. Don’t ask what. Just put one foot in front of the other and figure out what you need to do.”

My mother helped to keep me clean for a while.  I guess its like saying “fake it till you make it.” I have been through the ringer – I think I got a tear in my eye – I’m feeling like a king, because my life treats me so well today. My goal is to share it with all.  I know deep down inside I don’t hate anyone today.

G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Keep coming BACK!…


Lance’s Story Continues…

February 2, 2013

One day I went away for a long time and I thought there was no turning back. I left my family, my friends my job, my support. I moved my business all the way to rehab. It was like an angel was calling me but didn’t leave a message. So I walked, talked, ate, and just kept going on with my own business. Whatever the business was caused me to become delirious. After causing me to become delirious I found my way in the brinks of hospitals, institutions, jails and death in the midst of my journey. I was broke and I lost all my self-respect. I lost it somewhere between Florida and Pittsburgh. With nothing left, all I really had was my broken soul.  I had people who liked me but I couldn’t be their friend. I swore to myself that one day I would get back to those people – so many different people, so many walks of life, attitudes, friends, so-called friends and interesting people.  Everywhere I go I manage to find a way to be all right. I swore to myself there would never be a day when I couldn’t spend 10 dollars. When that day came and I was about to check myself into the hospital – there was my friend waiting for me with a bag of bud and some pills. I chose the hospital over my friend. Shortly before, this friend went through a terrible tragedy. He lost someone he loved to drugs. When the death came I found myself on my last drug run. Death after death, I finally moved on and only the strong survive. When they put their guns down, I cried. That’s when I found myself bowing to evil spirits. I didn’t want to leave but somebody came and let me out of the dark hell I was in. Instead of that last bag of crack, I had lunch. I made a lot of new connections but they were dark and devious. Just before I left the angel sent me a message. He said: “Get out of here and don’t ever come back”. My family culture, which was once ruined, came back to life and helped me out of the grips of my hell. I found myself again walking in the street alone but this time I had ten bucks. I saved it for a pack of cigarettes.  I walked and walked and walked and one day I just cried.  My broken soul began to heal.

I Have A Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and Lance’s Mom

January 21, 2013

Today is Martin Luther King Day and I wanted to honor Dr. King’s memory and talk a bit about an ordinary Mom’s dreams, a Mom who wants to change the world – to educate people about addiction and mental illness. Twenty-nine years ago, my dream came true and I gave birth to Lance, a beautiful baby boy.  He had ten fingers, ten toes and seemed perfect in every way.  Fast forward to about 2002, a family of four boys and a journey through the world of drug addiction and mental illness.  My dreams turned to nightmares. I never dreamed we would enter into a world I knew nothing about: addiction and later, mental illness….  Without a known family history of addiction and mental illness, these issues were not in my realm of consciousness.  Be that as it may, I vowed to do anything I could to save my firstborn son who was smart, athletic, popular, the one everyone looked up to and idolized – until our world crumbled.  Today, my dreams are different than they were 29 years ago but I am happy to say they are filled with gratitude, faith and pride. My son’s mental disorder is stable and he is about to celebrate three years of recovery from substance abuse, a true miracle.   I encourage you to hold on to your dreams and although they may materialize differently than imagined, we can still find gratitude, peace and serenity. It may not be easy but if I can do it, anyone can!

In memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all those who have dreams, keep dreaming and never give up until the miracle happens.

Lance: The Long Road to Recovery

January 15th

Every day is a struggle, do I get high or do I not get high?  This entails everything I have ever worked for.  Would you throw that away to spend a night with the devil?  Ever since I got clean I have gotten back my friends and family, sanity and a few odd and end things.  With all this on my plate, every morning I choose the large cup of coffee over a bag of cocaine for the last 2 years and 11 months.  I almost threw away my clean time but by the grace of G-d I will have 3 years clean on February 11th.  Why does G-d give us a choice to make?  The answer is very simple, for every reason in the world you stay clean, but I have learned to believe the devil was the test.  G-d created her to give us options.  Do I make a left or do I make a right?  I finally chose right!  The only reason I ever got high was to self medicate, to heal my pain and sorrow, but most importantly my mental illness was what really was bothering me and drove me to the drugs.  I know that if you choose right life’s miracles will come to you.  I am not promising you the sun, the moon and stars but you will be free from your sickness a/k/a addiction, and all kinds of mental disorders that stem from the wrath of drugs.  My drug of choice was ecstasy.  I thought it was the closest feeling to heaven.  But I was wrong! G-d did not make heaven in a pill form.  It’s unfathomable today what I believe heaven is.  It could be the ultimate relief of not getting high and experiencing happiness in life, whether it is the birds chirping on a nice day, piece of mind, or a sunny day on the beach.  Materials things would include, the birth of a child, a wife, house and money.  I made the right choice today; I believe so strongly that one day a higher power will pay me back, not necessarily in luxury but in serenity and peace.  If you are struggling with schizophrenia like me, there is a better way of life. You can always count on your belief that this too shall pass but if you have a mental illness, it usually doesn’t without the proper help.  My disorder took me to places you can only imagine, but the story is true. This is part of my story and my struggle, how about yours?

Lots of love,

Lance Sheena

Persistence & The Serenity Prayer, Lance’s New Year’s Message

December 31, 2012

I am so grateful I no longer use drugs. My drug habit was “the nail in the coffin” for my Schizophrenia. After 5 trips to the hospital I still persevered to get clean and well. I love my life and I try every day to keep going strong. I am grateful for my support group for not giving up on me and myself for persisting.  After 10 years and 3 rehabs, 5 hospitalizations and a homeless mess, I came back to life. I needed strength and confidence to leave the hospital and make it on the streets of New York. Every day I wake up in the morning, living progressively gets better. Every day I thank G-d for giving me back my soul. I will always have my schizoaffective disorder but I still thrive and shoot for excellence.  Slowly but surely, I progress to be a better person and productive member of society. I try to give hope to others and myself. Every day I wake up I know my disease did not get the best of me or any of my supporters. I know my sickness actually affected all my supporters but most of all, it affected my family. My aunt and my mother told me once “We are all in this together!”

“G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Lance Sheena