The One Who Needed the Saving… @StopFryingBrain

Stephen Kavalkovich

SFYB Contributing Author Stephen Kavalkovich, Former Paramedic 

As I was stirred to consciousness in the front seat of the running car at 4:45 am, the fog slowly lifted. The red lights were flashing all around and the cops and medics were banging on the windows. The blood was still dripping down my arm as the pulled me out and lifted me into the cot.

I looked up and saw a slightly familiar face, it was Jeff, my old paramedic partner from years ago. He said,” hey buddy, we’re going to give you some Narcan.” The withdrawal was instant and the worst physical sensation I had ever had to date. How did it get this far?

 

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As a teenager, a youth leader tried to molest me. I came forward and tried to tell of the horror to the “responsible” adults. They swept it under the carpet and no one believed me. The abandonment and rejection was crushing. Soon after, I joined the fire department to become an EMT and help others. It was years later that I realized that my unconscious reason was to be able to rescue others from pain and horror because no one was there to rescue me. I became a paramedic at 20 years old and was now the master of the universe. It was a time to be looked up to, in charge, and know everything. Little did I know that I was an egomaniac who was scared to death. The ignorance of my own hopeless condition was not apparent until the weight of my pain brought me to Narcan and lying on a stretcher.

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I hung with the crew from work after shift drinking and telling stories. However, they had the idea to have a few to take a load off. My idea was to get obliterated every time. I slowly graduated to making up illness to score Percocet. The progression continued to taking pills from the medicine cabinet of patient’s homes and then further to stealing the “waste” from the Morhpine and Fentanyl. Eventually, losing many jobs and being sent to rehab a few times. I lost my certification in one state and reputation as a stable provider. Heck, I am unsure if that reputation ever even existed. The choice to commit suicide was there, but I was too coward to end it abruptly. I chose death on the installment plan. Losing my career, a wife, my home, and regular access to my kids was my journey.

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Shortly after being saved my old coworker, I surrendered to the fact that my best thinking almost killed me. I had no idea how to live and wanted someone to show me. The pain became great enough and desperation was all I knew. They put me on a plane to Florida and I took any and every suggestion offered. I did the things I didn’t want to do, but I kept the idea that the great Me knew nothing. I now work in treatment and all day I get to sow seeds of experience and redemption to others who hurt as badly or worse than I did. Falling asleep at night instead of passing out is priceless. There is a way out.

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Stephen Kavalkovich
Stephen Kavalkovich - Nationally Certified Recovery Coach, Author, Speaker, Former Paramedic

I am a man who lost, rather, gave up all that I had as a result of addiction. My substance abuse began shortly after returning from New York City on 9/11 following the terrorist attacks. However, my entire life until and beyond that point was a vicious cycle of switching seats on a sinking ship up until I all but drown. It is my goal to share and care for others just like someone did for me. I hope to inspire and encourage you and show that their is a way to freedom and peace. As my writing will show, I have experIenced much pain and loss in my life. My purpose is to share through written word and speech as a way of helping others face their demons.

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