My Journey To Special Issuance Medical


Filing Flight Plan
Feb 15, 2015
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In 2004 I moved to Santa Barbara, California to attend school, my first big move away from the sheltered and innocent upbringing I had known. Within 18 months, I acquired my first DUI after driving under the influence, falling asleep at the wheel, and crashing my car off the freeway, rolling down a steep embankment into a creek. My parents immediately forced me to move back home, enrolling me into a 30 day drug/alcohol in patient treatment center.

I remained sober for a short time, but once again fell back into my old ways of heavy drug and alcohol use. I acquired my 2nd DUI in the summer of 2011, and also received an additional charge of possession of Marijuana. I had alienated myself from my family and concerned friends, making the "party" my top priority.

At the end of 2012 I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had a 9 month old with a friend of mine, and talks of legal adoption from another man made me realize that I needed to change. My last drink or drug was February 2nd, 2013. I attended multiple AA meetings a day, willing to do anything to stay sober. I ran from everyone and everything that was comfortable to me. The people, places, and things in my life were toxic.

I have always been fascinated with time, space, nasa, flight, but was always too messed up to do anything about it. I would watch NASA TV drunk or high, and imagine myself on the International Space Station, believing I had missed my calling.

As I acquired more sober time, I thought I was ready to pursue my love for aviation. I looked into applying for a Medical Certificate, but quickly realized that I would have to explain my checkered past. I began a long process of requesting all of my court and hospital records from the past.

In July 2015 I met with a HIMS AME, and she suggested that we immediately begin monthly random drug/alcohol screening, and that I get a Psychological Evaluation before we begin. The psychologist cost $1,000 and recommended that I attend Betty Ford Drug and Alcohol Outpatient Center for an 8 week intensive outpatient program, followed by a 6 month extended care program which cost me $14,400.

After a follow up Psychological Evaluation in June of 2016 which cost another $1,000, the psychologist recommended me for Special Issuance Medical.

My AME submitted 12 months of random drug/alcohol testing at $70/visit. ($840), countless letters from my AA sponsor, family, friends, and colleagues attesting to my remarkable transformation and continued sobriety.

The FAA responded in November of 2016, requesting a neuropsychological evaluation.

In December 2016 I spent 8 hours (and $2500) at the neuropsychologists office performing cognitive brain tests. They took 8 weeks to generate the report, but eventually recommended me for Special Issuance Medical.

In February 2017, we submitted 8 more months of clean drug/alcohol tests ($560), more letters from my AA sponsor, family, friends, and colleagues, recommendation from the Neuropsychologist, and recommendation from my HIMS AME.

I started flying helicopters in December 2015, and never stopped my training during this entire process. I wanted to be ready to solo, the moment the FAA approved my Special Issuance Medical. Most importantly, I stayed sober. I have immersed myself in Alcoholics Anonymous, because it saved my life. It transformed who I am as a person, and my life is much more fruitful because of it.

Today I have 106 hours of dual training in helicopters, and started my fixed wing ADD ON training in the meantime, acquiring 25 hours in Cessna Airplanes.

I spoke with Oklahoma City this morning, and they have approved my Special Issuance Medical Certificate, as long as I continue monitoring through my HIMS AME, and continue working a diligent program of recovery!!!!!!!!!!

It has been a very steep climb to be where I am today, but every moment has been worth it. I have an amazing relationship with my family, engaged to a beautiful soul, have an amazing relationship with the mother of my child, and most importantly, am able to set an example to my son, who turns 6 years old this month.

Betty Ford Clinic - $14,400
Psychological Evaluations - $2,000
Neuropsychological Evaluation - $2500
Random Drug/Alcohol Testing - $1400
HIMS AME - $500

Total Cost - $20,800

Sobriety - PRICELESS

1st Contact To Issuance -

611 days
87 weeks and 2 days
14,664 hours
879,840 minutes
52,790,400 seconds

A blip of time in the large scheme of things. Some days I would feel defeated. Not every day is your birthday. You can change your life if you truly want to. My story is a testament to that. I would read these threads and feel that it would be impossible for me to get approved. If you have the willingness to be honest and change, you can do it too.

Fly Safe, Have fun, Believe in yourself!
Kudos to you and hats off to your percivierance

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
Statistically, a very improbable outcome on the finances alone. Good for you and congratulations on reclaiming the ability to fly in the eyes of the government. Enjoy.
Thank you for posting. Definitely something to bookmark for future reference.
Thanks for posting. I only know you from your post, so I hardly know you, but I'm proud that I do.
Congrats! You literally just told my story...minus the kid. I got my SI 3 weeks ago. One day at a time brother.
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