Looking Back on 30 Years of Sobriety, Thanks to Natchaug
Ronald Durgan was 50 years old, in danger of losing his ties with his wife and children, when he turned to Natchaug to help him treat the alcoholism that had been tormenting him all of his life.
He doesn’t remember who the counselor was who spoke with him, but he remembers the message he received as clear as if it was yesterday.
“You better stop drinking if you want to keep your family, that’s what they told me,” said Durgan, now 80 and celebrating 30 years of sobriety. “That hit home with me like nothing else.”
Durgan said his wife, Alta, and their two grown children were at their “wit’s end” as his alcoholism progressively worsened in the 1980s. A worker at Pratt & Whitney, Durgan said he was barely hanging on to his job and his family when he decided to seek help at a “dry house” for alcoholics in New Hampshire. But after giving the facility two chances to help him, he began to lose hope when he continued to relapse.
Durgan said he decided to give recovery one more try at Natchaug, which is close to where he and his family were living. After a few days of intensive counseling, he said, he had a moment of clarity that put his life in perspective and set him on a course of recovery.
“I did it for my family, but it’s been great for me too. I’m not sure I would have made it to this point in my life if I didn’t get help.”
- Ronald Durgan
“Looking back, I don’t know how my wife put up with it, but she was patient and she just kept hoping I would be able to stop,” said Durgan, who now lives in North Windham.
Durgan continued to seek help with his recovery, and over time he found it was easier to avoid alcohol and keep it out of his life. He said he is grateful to Natchaug for turning his life around.
Ronald Durgan found his way into recovery thanks to Natchaug Hospital.
“I did it for my family, but it’s been great for me too,” he said. “I’m not sure I would have made it to this point in my life if I didn’t get help.”
His wife of 58 years passed away two years ago, and Durgan said he is most proud that he was able to give her what she had wished for most – his sobriety. The couple grew up in Maine, but spent their married years together in Connecticut.
“It was the best thing I ever did,” he said.