Addiction, mental illness recovery stories, options shared at Huntingtown forum


Seven years ago, Mike Foley was homeless and living in a tent in Lusby. On Wednesday, he celebrated seven years of sobriety as he shared his “story of hope” with the dozens of people who attended the community forum on hope and healing from addictions and mental illnesses at Emmanuel Church in Huntingtown.

Foley, who grew up in Calvert County, said he had his first alcoholic drink when he was in high school and then transitioned to drugs. After obtaining a job with the Department of Defense, in which he “traveled all around the world” as a “functioning alcoholic and addict,” he settled back in Calvert County, where he met his now ex-wife.

After the two married, Foley said he “only drank and partied on the weekends.” The couple’s first son was born shortly after they wed, but four months after his birth, he died in his sleep, Foley said.

“That was a life-changing moment where I should have turned to God and looked for help,” he said Wednesday. “[But] I cursed God, and my drinking and using went to phenomenal levels.”

Foley said he and his ex-wife had two more children before she left him. Then, Foley said, he was fired from his job. He soon became homeless “for the first time” when he “reluctantly” made the decision to seek help.

Within a few years, Foley said, he “had everything back,” including a new job and a place to live. He then made the decision to go on a cruise, which made alcohol easily accessible to him. On the cruise, he ended up drinking, he said, and ended his sobriety. Foley said he “wiped out his bank account” and sold all of his possessions to fuel his 

addiction, and he soon found himself again living in a tent in the woods.

“Finally, I had a moment of clarity,” Foley said. “I went and asked my dad for help.”

With the support of his family, he was able to successfully complete a rehabilitation program and lived in a halfway house for a while. He then returned to Calvert County, where he said he reconnected with his two children and met a woman who is now his fiancé.

Foley’s main message was that although a person may hit rock bottom, treatment and recovery is possible.

“There is no quick fix but there is hope and there is healing,” said Emmanuel Church pastor the Rev. Vic Simpson.

Before the forum began, Simpson shared with the attendees struggles of his own personal experiences with addiction and his familiarity with drug abuse and mental illnesses through family members.

“… I was able to recover and overcome through God, and God alone,” Simpson said, adding that “as a veteran of many battles with addictions … [they] have left me scarred but not scared. God is using me to spread hope to others and to let them know that you can overcome.”

Simpson reminded those in attendance that recovery “did not come easy,” but is a journey with many bumps and 

struggles. He said after the forum, representatives from more than a dozen community organizations were available for anyone to use as a resource for finding solutions to drug addiction and mental health illness. Read More…

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