One Man's Fight for Sobriety

After years of alcohol dependency, Chris Drapala, 41, decided to get the help he badly needed. But due to severe obesity, he was turned away from several local substance abuse treatment centers as a health risk. Then he found Bright Vista.

I had played golf since I was a kid, and in 2004 I became the golf pro at a local country club. Part of my job entailed socializing with the club members, and soon I was drinking every day. I began to isolate myself from my family, too ashamed to ask for help.

I had gained a lot of weight and felt horrible. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed. I got to the point where I felt I was going to die, and thought it would be the best thing that could happen to me.

“I couldn’t get the help I needed.”

By the time I decided to seek treatment, I was drinking a bottle of vodka each day or more. I wanted to be in a hospital setting because I was afraid of what could happen if I wasn’t monitored during detox. I tried several treatment centers near my home, but they all told me that my health problems made going through the initial withdrawal phase too risky.

“I wanted to be in a hospital.”

Finally, I found Bright Vista. It was 700 miles away from my home in Carlsbad, New Mexico, but they told me I could enter their prerehab medical stabilization program. I stayed for nine days in a private room at McAllen Medical Center, and I got the medical care I needed to get through withdrawal. I don’t remember experiencing any symptoms – no shakes, sweats or chills – and I felt alert and coherent the entire time. The staff fought for my recovery and would not give up. Without their kindness and knowledge, I would not be here today. After my stay at the hospital, followed by physical therapy at Edinburg Regional Rehab Center, I lost 82 pounds! I began to feel normal again.

Today, I’m finally sober and living a healthy lifestyle. Right now, I’m still focused on my recovery. Later, I’d like to become a counselor so that I can help others accomplish what I did. You can’t do it alone. We all think we can, and we can’t.

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2014 Health News from South Texas Health System.

For more information about Bright Vista, please call 956-971-5680.