BRIAN BAILEY…”THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE.”
In order that we experience awareness of others to the extent of connection, and of serving, we must be fully connected to self, and to God/Spirit/Universe. We must authentically live with a heart and mind filled with empathy and logic, remaining steadfast in clear intention, and allow Spirit to guide us. Here is a story of epic awareness…awareness of self, of another, and of Spirit.
Recently, as I read my dear friend, Brian’s Instagram page about his own book being prepared for publishing, my heart filled with so much gratitude and love for my friendship with Brian. We met in 2013, shortly after I began my recovery, and Brian had been attending a 12 step meeting that I decided to give a try. It turned out that the 12 step approach was not for me, and instead, I opted to create, and to follow my own holistic “Wellness Approach to Recovery,” however, Brian was the Divine blessing and gift in my short time of attending these meetings. Spirit brings us all that we need…people, situations, and places in the most creative and healing ways.
Brian’s journey was one of severe childhood abuse and neglect, being imprisoned and sexually trafficked at the age of four years old, needing the protection of Child Protective Services, living in a foster home. Later on, Brian battled addictions, and other challenges which we know are a direct “trauma response.”
Brian and I became fast friends. One of the kindest and sweetest souls I’ve ever met. In the beginning of my own recovery, I was hosting a radio show on Intention Radio on the internet called, “The Rx Diaries,” and my dear friend Brian, in an attempt to help me to succeed in sharing my own story of lifelong prescription drug addiction and co-occurring disorders, as well as to share his own story to help others, agreed to allow me to interview him for my radio show.
His story was almost unbelievable, yet so true, and more common than we know. It was compelling, chilling, awe inspiring, and probably the most frightening account of abuse and neglect of a child that I had ever heard. As I listened to his account, my stomach tightened, my heart was racing, I felt a rush of tears thinking about what my friend had lived through at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect him, and I found myself completely engrossed in this sweet soul’s account of his “childhood.”
Brian and I enjoyed our friendship time together. I went to see him perform locally in “The King and I,” a brilliant performer, and we took my granddaughter, Rosie, out for lunch in our town, as well as spending lots of time texting and talking on the phone, engaging in many, many meaningful, heartfelt conversations. Eventually, after Brian moved to Rhode Island, (I live in New York) we lost touch, yet I always loved my friend, and my heart smiled when he crossed my mind. He had been such a great comfort to me, as well as a loving support, when I felt completely lost in early 2013 just starting out in my recovery.
And then, God/Spirit/Universe, had a “reunion” planned for us one late night in 2018, even though we were living states apart, a reunion that would literally save Brian’s life.
Unable to sleep late one night in 2018, approximately 11:00 PM, restless and uneasy, I tapped my Facebook app to log on to divert my busy mind, and I immediately saw my friend Brian doing a Facebook LIVE. Brian was clearly intoxicated, and he seemed hopeless, helpless, and experiencing suicidal ideation. He was not making any sense, and was escalating in his agitation. He was also clearly delusional. I knew I had a limited window of opportunity to help my dear friend. Brian was spiraling, LIVE in real time.
He needed help fast. He lived hours away in Rhode Island. I was trying to join him on the LIVE, unsuccessfully, and typing in the LIVE comments as I tried to guide him, and to let him know I was there, to no avail.
Brian was completely oblivious in his mental state and acuity, and was not responding to me. My heart began racing, and all I could do in that moment was to remember my Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Safety training…I’ve taught these steps to hundreds in my work throughout my community…breathe, remain present in order to be clear in stating the facts in order to send for help, and speak confidently. CALL 911. Unfortunately, implementing the ALGEE action plan (Mental Health First Aid-ASSESS for risk of suicide or harm, LISTEN NON-JUDGMENTALLY, GIVE REASSURANCE AND INFORMATION, ENCOURAGE APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL HELP, and ENCOURAGE SELF HELP AND OTHER SUPPORT STRATEGIES) associated with my training and education where we attempt to administer Mental Health First Aid until help arrives or until the situation is resolved, was not an option, as I could not reach my friend via phone, Facebook, or text.
I immediately called the police in Brian’s town to assist. I calmly explained what I had just observed on Facebook, and that I was a Recovery Specialist who works in the field of mental health, and asked that they go over to Brian’s home to do a “wellness check.”
Unbeknownst to Brian, he was about to begin a brand new type of recovery…body, mind and spirit, as I reached out to a friend/colleague who works in the field at a top drug/alcohol/mental health facility in the country…if Brian made the decision to accept the help.
The very next morning, Brian called me while I was at work at the Mental Health Association. He was deeply grateful for my intervention, what we know was “Divine Intervention.” We talked for some time, and I suggested that he allow me to guide him in finding the perfect rehabilitation “fit,” for him so that he could begin a “holistic recovery” through an integrated approach, body, mind, and spirit, aligned with a traditional medical approach. He agreed gratefully.
I stayed close in support of Brian over the next couple of months as he reached out very often to vent, or to talk, or to tell me what he was afraid of as he prepared for treatment. I always took his calls, and checked up on him a few times a week while he awaited an empty bed in the facility. It was like this in every facility. A break down in “supply and demand.” This breakdown was life threatening, so I gratefully stood in as the “transition” until a bed became available. I knew once Brian entered the facility, he would not be allowed to have his phone to continue our communication. I let him know that I would be there in “spirit,” and cheering him on in the background, and praying for his wellness.
Brian is doing so well today, and writing his book so that he may share all that he has experienced in order to serve others. Brian has crawled out of the darkness through Spirit’s light and grace, and now shines his light, also led by Spirit, for others to find their own way.
Here is what he wrote to me in May, 2021.
“EARTH ANGEL! oh. Do I have your permission to tell our story, cause you threw a bouy…my dear!”
What a blessing to have been chosen by Spirit to help my friend in God’s grace. My answer?, “Of course. Anything for you my dear friend.”
Brian went on to thank me for all of the work that I do daily in being of service to those who are living with Substance Use Disorder, and Mental Illness.
“And bravo for the daily work you BE for guiding our future! Not work for the faint of heart! The work ahead requires complete transparency. Vulnerability. And how we lift each other cause sometimes we can’t lift ourselves!”
God/Spirit/Universe guided and used me that night to save Brian’s life. This was the purpose which brought us to cross paths in 2013. And, It was an answer to my daily prayer…
“Today please show me who to see, where to go, what to say, and to whom, to help another person.”
As a matter of routine, I am never up at that late hour, and certainly not on Facebook. I was guided there by our loving Universe. Spirit is always guiding us and using us to serve and support others. If we are open to Divine communication, we are able to see and hear beyond our physical limitations, and truly serve. Humility.
Brian is one of my truest inspirations. What an incredible and brave man and journey. I can’t wait for everyone to hear Brian’s courageous story.
Love you my dear friend. I am honored to be your friend, and to call you mine, and I’m so grateful to be a part of your story. I cherish our friendship.
Brian’s light is shining once again, and in sharing his story, and in serving others, it becomes brighter and brighter.
My dear Brian, Spirit heard your voice singing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” and answered on that late night in 2018.
“Faith that perseveres is faith that is strengthened.” And, it is food for the soul.”
Love and blessings,