MANSFIELD, TEXAS, SEPT. 11, 2023 – Paul Pruitt remembers getting his first taste of alcohol at age 5.
His mother and much older brother had been watching Johnny Carson as they both drank a beer, laughing at comedian Foster Brooks’ lovable drunk skit.
“I reached over and grabbed one of their beers and took a swig and started acting like that guy I’d seen on TV,” recalled Pruitt, who turns 59 this month. “They started laughing, and while I didn’t get a physical reaction from that beer – I had just taken a swig – because of their response to me, I attached myself to that emotionally, because I had never before felt a part of my own home.”
Alcohol, and at times drugs, would later play a major role in the life of Pruitt, who followed a “Let’s Party” mantra. He tried quitting in 1987 but soon fell back into his rut.
By 1998, a 33-year-old Pruitt realized that alcohol was no longer allowing him to mentally check out from his problems. Instead, it was magnifying them. With the support of a 12-step program, he quit again and has now celebrated 25 years of sobriety.
A married father and electrical contractor who lives in Arlington, Pruitt volunteers for Texas Health, sharing his story across the Metroplex. In honor of National Recovery Awareness Month, the public is invited to hear Pruitt talk about his sobriety journey from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Texas Health Recovery and Wellness Center, 240 Miller Road, Mansfield.
“We call it ‘carrying the message,’ or passing your story on to the next person that you might help,” said Krysta Aycock, lead recovery specialist at the center. “You never know what you might hear that resonates with you. We always tell people to focus on the similarities and not the differences.”
The Texas Health Recovery and Wellness Center in Mansfield began treating people with addictions in 2017. Information about the center’s programs and tours of the facility will be available during the Sept. 19 event.
Certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the center offers residential treatment programs and services for men and women, including a detox and residential treatment program for alcohol and drug addiction, a partial hospitalization program (six hours a day, Monday through Friday) and an intensive outpatient Program (three hours a day, three days a week).
Addiction treatment specialists, including physicians on the medical staff, nurses and licensed professionals, use an evidence-based approach to guide patients on the road to recovery in a comfortable setting that includes outdoor meditation areas, a pool, a yoga studio, a fitness center with an on-site trainer, drum circle groups and a massage room.
“Recovery from addiction takes a village and Texas Health recognizes the importance of caring for the whole person – body, mind and spirit,” said Sarah Schmock, LCSW, CPPS, administrator of the Texas Health Recovery and Wellness Center. “That’s why in addition to individual counseling, we also provide group therapy, family sessions and groups focused on spirituality and maintaining sobriety after discharge. We also offer on-site meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.”
Pruitt said when he hears someone tell them they can quit drugs or alcohol on their own, he asks, ‘Why would you want to do this alone?’” The support of others, including a sponsor in a 12-step program, who have already been down the same road is like having a GPS system, because they know the way.
“When you’re on a mountain, you cannot see the mountain you’re on. But your sponsor is down in the clubhouse and he’s watching and saying, ‘Look at ‘Ol Paul over there. Man, he’s headed for that cliff again,’” Pruitt said. “Because he’s not on your mountain, he can see it, and not only can he see it, but he also already knows what’s ahead, because he’s already been there.”
About Texas Health Resources:
Texas Health Resources is a faith-based, nonprofit health system that cares for more patients in North Texas than any other provider. With a service area that consists of 16 counties and more than 7 million people, the system is committed to providing quality, coordinated care through its Texas Health Physicians Group and 29 hospital locations under the banners of Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Huguley. Texas Health access points and services, ranging from acute-care hospitals and trauma centers to outpatient facilities and home health and preventive services, provide the full continuum of care for all stages of life. The system has more than 4,100 licensed hospital beds, 6,400 physicians with active staff privileges and more than 28,000 employees. For more information about Texas Health, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.