By Melissa Preshaw — CRC Health Group Director of Community Relations

I took a vacation to Turkey recently. I love to travel. In fact I find traveling one of the many gifts you get when you stop being a slave to drugs!

When you are “using” you are trapped – you can’t leave the area for fear that you won’t know where to score what you need. Even a simple weekend trip seems like a huge ordeal.  When you’re free of those chains you gain much more than just being clean but the world opens up. The word freedom takes on a whole new meaning.

I try to go somewhere interesting every year. And this year it was Turkey and it was an amazing trip. The culture, the history, the customs, the architecture, the people -all added to my experience. There are far too many stories to share in this blog, but I did have an amazing interaction with a restaurant owner.

I was with a couple of friends in Kusadasi and we were in search of a restaurant. We were hungry and my friends were grumpy. We picked one of the first places that we found and when we sat down I realized that I was the only one who wasn’t grouchy.

When the waiter/owner approached, my friends ordered what they wanted and I said that I wanted to taste a sample of some of the Turkish cuisine. What did he recommend? Seconds later another waiter arrived with a tray of what would be considered small plates or appetizers. I looked at everything and said “you pick, you surprise me! – bring me six or seven different dishes”.

He was delighted. When the food came it was unbelievable. My friends quickly abandoned what they ordered and we all feasted on the tastes of Turkey. The waiter looked at me and said softly “Are you rich?” – That made me stop and pause. Am I rich?   I looked at him and said “Today I am!”

For the rest of the meal I pondered that question and I thought of all the ways I am rich.

I am able to travel, I have a job I enjoy, I have my health, I have friends and family that love me – I was in the middle of a wonderful adventure – how lucky am I? Yes, I decided – I am rich!

With that I made a decision that no matter what the bill cost I would treat for dinner. So when the bill came, I picked it up and said “this is on me” and I never felt so good. It wasn’t until after my announcement that I looked at the bill –   the entire bill came to $32.00 (US dollars)!

Am I rich? – You bet I am!


Photo at top of post of Ephesus Library near Kusadasi, Turkey, by Flickr user Kusadasi-Guy. Licensed for use with attribution via Creative Commons. Originally posted on