"When you love someone, you make sure they are nourished." – Another Name For Autumn, by Corrie Greathouse
When I wrote Another Name For Autumn, I was writing myself a different ending. I’d been heartbroken forever, it seemed. (It had really only been since Age 8, but that’s a different book entirely. It’s called Most Likely To Self-Destruct and we aren’t here to talk about that.)
We are here to talk about things I have learned about Love. When I wrote myself a different ending in the literary sense, a new beginning became. My husband Mark and I began dating about 6 months prior to Autumn’s publication. I felt safe and loved for the first time in longer than I cared to remember.
And in that safety, I took a risk.
Most who know me know that my life was forever changed when I responded with "I will try" when asked to open an IOP in Beverly Hills for someone. Every day since I committed to trying has been unlike anything I ever thought I deserved—both good days and bad. I had never worked so hard in my life. I had an opportunity to create something with a mission I still believe to my core: to make the highest quality of substance use disorder treatment available and the belief that every person deserves access to high quality care.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, before I said I’d try, I made sure to say I was done working evenings and weekends because I wanted to focus on my book and on writing. Well, creating this place for people to get well quickly became my life. My team was everything: we were in the trenches of the opioid epidemic and writing took a back seat.
For the last 5 years, I’ve been on the most beautiful detour, discovering purpose and meaning in my life beyond the best I thought I deserved at my most grandiose. And I’m getting back to writing, but that is beside the point.
See, I learned something that I imagine all parents know on a far deeper level: when you create something from nothing, you are changed. There are no perfect organizations and there are no perfect leaders, but we had thousands of perfect moments and were able to create something beautiful and I was able to bring amazing people together who share a commitment to excellence and heart. I’ve never seen a more incredible team and one of my greatest joys in this life was growing with them—from a team of 2 to 28.
Almost 18 months ago, in one of the most difficult decisions of my life, I resigned from my position at the organization I created for another and focused on one I had quietly created for the people I saw trapped in the treatment system.
When I resigned, I was 10 years sober and it seemed my higher power had finally shown up to deliver my wisdom to know the difference. I sobbed the ugly, sweating, guttural cries known only by those who have lived the cry that accompanies death, and I resigned. Quietly. Unceremoniously. I asked if I could send an email to My Team and tell them how much they mean to me and how much I love them. I was graciously allowed to do that, and I did. I never received responses, but I prayed they knew every word was true, especially the love.
When you love someone, when you really, really love them—you do anything you can to help them, even when you don't see them anymore. Especially when they don't know you're doing it or they know you are and don’t like it at all.
Team is not a term I take lightly; words hold weight. I've crumbled beneath their levity and flown with the echo chamber clang of their shackles clamoring to hold me in place.
When I created that place on behalf of someone else, the one I left—I intended never to leave it. Things don’t always work out the way we intend.
On Monday, August 7, 2017 the place I created on behalf of someone else closed and my team are in trouble. I’m asking for your help. My Team are mothers, fathers, independent and responsible men and women who were earning a living wage and are now without a way to pay their bills as they have not received their final paychecks. This team is comprised of people I hired myself after hours long interviews and people who I haven’t met but are my team because they are of the Team I built the first time I realized maybe I really could make a difference in the lives of others and maybe writing wasn’t the only thing I’m good at.
I created the Life Uncommon Foundation to provide high impact financial scholarships for people in recovery. I can’t think of much that could be more impactful in this moment and a better demonstration of my love than to ask you to please help the Life Uncommon Foundation to do right by the team I never wanted to leave.
If you are a treatment professional in the Los Angeles area and have available positions for high caliber therapists, client advocates, case managers, counselors, administrative staff, please email [email protected] as we are actively seeking to place newly available candidates in positions where they will succeed.