Chagrin Falls, Ohio – Wendy Komac of Medina County has reached the heights of her professional career as a corporate executive, career coach, and author. The secret to her success is surprising.
“I have an amazing, blessed career because of my addiction,” says Komac.
The 58-year-old, who grew up in Garfield Heights, says she turned to alcohol as a child to ease major anxiety.
She spent her teenage and young adult years drinking one to two bottles of vodka daily and doing drugs.
“I do not think anybody knew what was going on,” says Komac’s cousin Victoria Filippi. “It’s almost like it was a double life.”
“Ultimately you learn to live a separate lifestyle from what the people you love get to see daily,” says Komac. “By today’s standards I would have been considered an alcoholic when I was 15. The physical need for the drugs and alcohol was really overwhelming.”
THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I’VE EVER DONE
The turnaround came in July of 1986 when Wendy found herself waking up in the basement of a building in downtown Cleveland with no recollection of how she got there or what happened.
She also says someone she loved deeply found himself in trouble, needing to sober up.
The two entered treatment together.
“I really know that if I had not stopped, I would have died,” says Komac. “The process of sobering up is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Wendy was forced to slow down and grieve the death of her father who passed away when she was 18.
She also had to examine herself to find what she calls her lost greatness.
“The problem with addicts in general is you don’t know who they are. Their brains are hijacked,” says Komac. “Every day that I was sober was a day that I got stronger. Every day that I was stronger was a day that I felt like I could accomplish anything.”
I CAN SEE GREATNESS IN PEOPLE
Because of Wendy’s confidence, Wendy’s cousin Victoria suggested she pursue sales.
“She ended up getting a job with a food company and grew it from there,” says Filippi. “She turned her life around.”
Professionally, Wendy even became a turnaround specialist focused on building global sales teams and strategies. She remained transparent about her addiction with her colleagues.
“Somebody inside the executive suite was generally struggling with addiction. I was the resident go to person,” says Komac. “The real gift I have is that I can see greatness in people when they can’t see it in themselves.”
It was this gift of seeing greatness in others that led Wendy to leave her executive career and start Luna Living in 2016. The outpatient addiction treatment and recovery center in Chagrin Falls is the culmination of Wendy’s dark past as as an addict and her bright career as a corporate executive. The treatments provided are what Wendy says worked for her.
“We have a 30-day program here and that 30-day program includes a ten-day medical detox. We do a whole program around nutrition. Food is super important. We get your hijacked brain back,” says Komac. “We’re all light workers helping other people come out of the darkness and into the light.”