Marvin McCloe is an exemplary member of the CleanSlate team, admired by his peers because of his authenticity and ability to connect with patients. He has been a certified recovery specialist at CleanSlate in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for more than four years and has helped many patients remain committed to their recovery journey because of his unwavering optimism and hope. To Marvin, his job at CleanSlate goes beyond a typical employment opportunity. “It’s a lifestyle,” he says. “Helping people is a part of who I am.”
Marvin’s relationship with addiction started as a young child, watching how the disease affected his mother. He struggled to cope, seeing how difficult her addiction made it to provide for her four children and take care of herself. The experience had a lasting impact that led him to avoid substances throughout his youth until he experienced an accident in his late teens that left him in a full leg cast from his ankle to his hip for several months. It was during this difficult time that some friends convinced him to try marijuana.
Despite Marvin’s prior efforts to avoid all substances, he found himself thinking he had nothing to lose because of his injuries and inability to do much else. His experimentation with marijuana led him to try many other substances including alcohol, cigarettes, ecstasy, Xanax and more. “It came to a point where I lost myself,” he recalls. “I didn’t care about myself or anyone else, all I cared about was chasing that next high.”
After some time of living this way, Marvin got into an altercation with another gentleman and ended up in prison for four and a half years. This experience had a big impact and caused him to reevaluate his life. “It was an eye-opener,” he says. “I thought to myself, ‘what am I doing?’ My whole life was ahead of me and I couldn’t see anything good in it.”
After Marvin came home from prison, he began to use a synthetic marijuana and became so addicted that he would feel sick if he didn’t have it. “It got so bad that, at a certain point, I was just crying, laying on the floor, feeling that I needed this drug,” he recalls. His girlfriend came into the room and witnessed him on the floor falling prey to the substance. “She looked at me and said, ‘You’re disgusting’ in a way that was so disappointing that it really pierced my pride and ego. It was a wake-up call.”
Marvin attributes the start of his recovery journey to his experience with his girlfriend that day. In those moments when he was lying on the floor, crying, he found inspiration through his faith and called out to God for help. He feels that something happened to him that day that gave him the strength he needed to move forward and get over his addiction. He never touched a drug again.
Marvin retells his personal story often when talking to CleanSlate patients and people who are interested in pursuing recovery. His faith has been instrumental to his recovery journey and also inspired him to use his voice to help others on their path. In his role at CleanSlate, he often finds the people he works with have some sort of presence of faith in their lives. Many principles of spirituality can help people make sense of their lives and help them along their journey. Marvin feels it is important to offer patients an opportunity to connect with others on a spiritual level about their recovery if they desire.
“Everyone has their own unique recovery path. If spirituality is something important to some of our patients, we can help them incorporate it in their recovery plan. If it’s not – that’s okay. Ultimately, we love them and want to help them. We meet them where they are. Everyone is worthy of recovery.”