January 12, 2016 | Continuing Ed with Ed Baker

"Continuing Ed" with Ed Baker: Nice to Meet You!

My name is Ed Baker. I’ve been an LICSW and LADC for 30 years.

Ed Baker 2 RGBAs the Addiction Education Specialist for Burlington Labs, my job is to educate people about the inner workings of addiction and its impacts on communities. I answer questions from Burlington Labs staff, and I also give presentations on current drug trends to outside partners, organizations and community leaders.

By way of introduction, I’d like to tell you “my story.”

I’ll begin with a statement I’ve heard countless times at NA and AA meetings over the past 30 years: “I didn’t set out to be an addict/alcoholic” and “I didn’t want this to happen.” This is certainly true for me, but I became both anyway. This is how that happened.

My father died suddenly when I was just 13, devastating my entire family; my mother, two sisters, and my brother. I was the youngest sibling by 10 years.

Nobody ever talked about what happened, and I was filled with emotional pain; my home was a depressing place to be, and I hit the street.

On the street I found people to hang out with who weren’t depressed, and I found what we now call “self-medication”: nicotine, alcohol and marijuana.

Drugs worked for me, I thought. I became a Hippie, disguised my progressing addiction as counter-cultural protest, and eventually let another Hippie stick a needle in my arm. From 1966 to 1973, I used drugs intravenously, lived on the street, and grew hopeless.

In 1973 I went into treatment for 17 months at a Therapeutic Community in the Bronx, and began an earnest attempt at abstinence from everything but alcohol. From 1973 to 1984, I developed full-blown alcoholism, and relapsed with intravenous drug use intermittently. During this period I also completed both Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees in Social Work, married, and had two sons: I lived the “double life.”

My final bottom occurred in 1984, and I’ve enjoyed unbroken Recovery ever since, made possible by the rock-solid guidance of the Fellowships and the sensitive support of a few talented therapists.

In 1985, I began focusing my therapy practice on people suffering from addiction, and I have enjoyed a fulfilling professional career in this field ever since. Being able to offer therapy – and a message of hope – to people suffering from addiction has brought tremendous joy to my life.

While my life story has certainly had its ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade one minute of it. You can never change the past, but you can change the meaning of the past by how you live the present.

I look forward to continuing the conversation about addiction, treatment and recovery.

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Ed will be back in a few weeks with his next blog post on a current topic in drug addiction, treatment and recovery.

Have an issue you'd like Ed to cover? Drop him an e-mail!

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Read more articles from our January/February 2016 issue of our newsletter, "TheBuzz":

Massachusetts Lab Increases Capacity with Facility Move
My Story: I Gave Up a Kidney -- and Gained a Friend
Compassion in Action: Adopting Families for the HolidaysPolar Express
Event Educates, Unites Families Impacted by Addiction
From the Lab Bench: Not All Assays Are Created Equal
Partner Profile: Richard Winant, Kelly House, Wakefield MA
Drug Trivia: Alcohol Use During Pregnancy
Patient Services News: Burlington Extends HoursRutland Ribbon-Cutting

Or, click here to download the full PDF.