2021 Champions for the Cause
Team Mason | Elizabeth Morris | Willie Entrekin
A few days ago, we celebrated Mason's birthday without him for the first time. It was a surreal experience, having a birthday party for someone who couldn't be there to celebrate it. But, in the truest way of honoring someone like him, the house was filled with smiling faces, sushi and pizza, and people who came from near and far to remember and celebrate such an incredible individual.
Mason was a person like no other. He was loud, incredibly weird, had no filter, and had a terrible habit of saying all the wrong things at all the wrong times. I've met many people who said they hated Mason when they first met him, or just couldn't handle him. But then they got to know him. Somehow, under that bombastic, over-the-top veneer, was a person who loved and cared deeply. Mason was someone who was willing to go to any lengths to be of service to those in his community. He found his niche working in sober living, where he could devote his time and energy into helping anyone and everyone who crossed his path with open arms and outstretched hands.
To the outside world, Mason was bubbly and energetic without bounds. After he passed, many of us wondered how someone so bright and full of joy could have found themselves back in the grips of addiction. The fact of the matter is that Mason suffered quietly. He struggled with mental illness and fought his demons privately while outwardly helping everyone else combat their own. Mason truly lived by the motto of selfless sacrifice - even when he had nothing left to give.
So as we all sat, celebrating Mason's first birthday without him, we each had a chance to reflect on what it meant to truly honor Mason. For me, to truly remember Mason is to try and channel some of his most admirable traits into my day to day life. I try to be kinder, be more open to having new experiences with new people, and always ready to reach out a hand to one in need. But also, I try to be more conscious of people like Mason: people who give so much of themselves but seldom receive. I let people know that if they're struggling, they don't have to struggle alone. I let them know that there are people in their lives that care about them, and would miss them dearly if they were gone. I try to let people know that it's OK to ask for help and that I, and others, will catch them if they fall. That's the kind of life Mason aspired to live, and the person he taught me to be.
Love you, Mason. We miss you.
Written by Greyson Von Hagel
My addiction started at age 24. I started using opiates after my marriage ended to my children's father. It started mildly at first with Lortab and then a short time later I lost custody of my two children to their father. After that I began to discover crystal meth and needles and my addiction took off from there. I used meth for a few years, went into detox got clean for about three weeks came home, moved to BHAM and I was introduced to heroin. It took over my life almost immediately.
I overdosed several times, I found myself in very dangerous situations and places. I was raped, padlocked In a house for two weeks, didn't see my family for months etc. My addiction just grew stronger and stronger until I was just a shell of the person I used to be. I had no regard for my own life until one day everything changed. I was so miserable and so depressed, I missed my kids, I missed myself I just missed life!
I heard God talking to me one night, I always talked to him every night, even through my addiction I never lost my faith, but on this night I heard him speak back. He told me that this was not my ending. That he had more in store for my future, not to give up. But that the journey I was about to take was long and hard, and I was gonna have to be stronger than I had ever been. I was ready. I couldn't afford rehab, so I had to trust in the plan... that God would pull me through so I decided to go cold turkey after 5 yrs of using hundreds of dollars a day in heroin. It was hard, those first few days felt like I was dying. But I knew I couldn't give up.
On August 3rd eight years ago, my body was completely clean of drugs. Then I began my journey of learning to live life after addiction. After three years of being clean and learning how to take my life back and working so hard to create a new life for myself and my children, I was awarded full custody of my children back. I also met my best friend and new husband who was also a recovering addict. We've been married and raising not only my two children but his son he lost when he was addicted as well for five years. We have our own home, cars, jobs and children! Everything we lost during our addiction God gave back to us after our recovery.
I attend the EHB Walk every year to remind myself of what I went through and what others are still struggling with. I walk to give HOPE that we do recover, that we can have a life after addiction. I attend the walk to honor those who couldn't beat their demons, to honor those moms who couldn't save their children. I walk to show my kids that no matter what you have done, everyone's life matters. We are not defined by our mistakes. I bring my kids so they can see a different side of addiction, the one of hope and freedom.
Check out Lizz's video submission below:
They say that trauma will mentally freeze you in time. And that your mind will revert back to that place and time when you start to heal. To me, that is recovery. Recovering who you were before you started hurting yourself. I hoped for that when I started letting clinic five care for me. And that’s exactly what they did. They cared for me. It’s called treatment but the word sounds to clinical when I think about them. They indeed treated the condition but they cared for the man who had to live with it. And that is where my recovery begin. The struggle is real but so was the victory. You start to see through your own eyes again. Start to remember everything that you didn’t know you forgot. The people around you start smiling and saying thank you. You get back to a time when they are happy to see you, not just happy to see you alive. You can get better. We do get better.
Check out Willie's full video submission below.