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The Gifts of Recovery

As I watch this blinking cursor, I am aware that today marks a special “occasion” in my life. I officially outlived my Dad. My survival was not without its challenges. I am an addict in recovery. I have medical issues including a blood clotting disorder and a recent pacemaker. Modern medicine and recovery is keeping me alive. I did not succumb to the disease of substance use disorder like my Dad. He died when I was 31. Today, I am 56 and have lived an incredible life because of the blessings given to me by dentistry, the NCCDP, and recovery.

My addiction was a surprise to me. My Dad was affected by Substance Use Disorder and that wreaked havoc on my young life. There was divorce, exposure to drug culture at a young age, negligence, and a lack of fundamental family stability. I used to say, confidently, “I will never use drugs.” Wrong. Ironically, my Dad’s death would be the final straw in a long line of unfortunate and traumatic events that completely eliminated my resolve. For years, I took pills and other mood and mind-altering substances to escape myself. There was not much left of me when I reached out for help from the North Carolina Caring Dental Professionals organization in 2003. I did have hope. Hope that I want to share with you, the reader.

In the last 20 years of recovery I have lived my life “hard”. Kind of like Dewey Cox in that film, “Walk Hard”, but without the drugs, alcohol or musical success. The most profound gift recovery has given me is MYSELF. I have helped to raise five beautiful children, owned and sold four dental practices, traveled the world and made music with the best musicians in Rock and Roll. I have been able to give back to those who have helped me survive and thrive by taking an active role in substance use disorder outreach. I am on the board of Will’s Place Recovery Community Center in Stanly County. I get to see the miracles of recovery happen daily for those affected. It has been a beautiful journey of “being there”.

The NCCDP sent out this newsletter you are reading and it drew me in. I reached out because of a personal story written by a grateful recovering dentist who had done the same. I sought help and did what was suggested. My life got better and better. In fact, it became better than I could imagine. The road to recovery (and life) is at times difficult but it represents a journey out of darkness into the light. It represents a journey from a false reality to a thriving version of myself. I am living today as a whole person. I can love, solve problems, have fun, create, and give back freely of what I have been given. I wish the same for you if that is what you need.

Mark’s music can be found on all music streaming platforms under 

“Mark Lassiter” and under “Fractured Truth”, his side project with another dentist.