“… what Billy did for my son was unprecedented. He saved my son.”
In February of 2007 my son met Billy at a rehab facility in Los Angeles where Billy was his narcotics counselor. Over the next two and a half months, into April, as I talked to my son and members of the facility staff, I quickly realized that Billy was the person both I and my son trusted and liked the most. When the time for his discharge came, my son and another teenaged, male patient moved out from the facility into downtown Los Angeles. Neither boy being from Los Angeles, neither of them having a car, and neither of them having a single relative in the area, they quickly fell into a state of isolation and loneliness, ingredients ideal for relapse. No system was in place for a transition from the controlled environment of the rehabilitation setting to the chaos and freedom of open society.
A week passed and I had not heard from my son. Not surprisingly I became worried. However, out of the blue came a call from Billy, whose responsibilities to my son had ceased upon his release. Billy said he was concerned about his former patients and, even though he was no longer being compensated for his efforts, asked if he could check on them and give myself and the other boy’s parents a report. I of course agreed and waited anxiously for him to call again with an update on their status.
Since phone calls weren’t being responded to, Billy had to drive to their apartment and pay a surprise visit. When he arrived there, he found them sitting in a dark room, the only light two computer monitors reflecting computer game action. Together, they had begun a process of enabling one another’s isolation which would have more than likely led to relapse. Billy broke into their lives, interrupted their world, and told them he would not allow them to continue living like that.
He then called and let me know they were okay but needing guidance. We discussed the situation and Billy offered his help, saying he would be a full-time counselor and advisor to them both, providing transportation, support, and a transition from institutional life to social life. Essentially, he would provide out-patient care and take them into independence. For what was a very fair salary, Billy spent nearly a year with the two driving them to meetings, school, work-out sessions, weekend trips to NA conventions, dinners, to his family’ house for holiday meals, and, in general, being a mentor. In my opinion, what Billy did for my son was unprecedented. He saved my son.
They became great conversationalists, discussing life and politics and sports, talks which allowed my son to blossom and gave him confidence and friendship in a new world. Today, over two years later, my son is nearing completion of a degree from a Los Angeles community college with plans on going to a four-year school upon finishing. He also has been working out steadily and exercising and his health has improved dramatically. Most importantly, he now cherishes life and smiles.
Even now when they see each other much less often because of school and job priorities, Billy still communicates with my son and me and offers us Billy’s advice, always welcomed. I simply cannot say enough about Billy’s devotion, sincerity, and sense of sacrifice he has demonstrated in his care of my son. He has a deep understanding of addiction and its dangers and the inherent pitfalls in overcoming the obstacles faced in recovery. I can vouch for his willingness to work to help his clients, not for a salary, but because he cares about the health, both spiritually and physically, of the people he treats. I feel both blessed and lucky to have found a counselor like Billy in what for my son and for me was a new city, Los Angeles. I now call him a good and trusted friend and owe him a debt I can never repay, for he in large part saved my son.
Thanks for everything, Billy.
~ A client’s parent