Monthly Recovery Story!
Written by: Bo D. – Jean Marie House Alumni
My name is Bo and I’m an alcoholic. My sobriety date is October 25, 2009.
I come from an alcoholic family on both sides. This, of course, does not make me an alcoholic. Drugs and alcohol were always present in my home and most family gatherings. My cousins, older sister and I would sneak sips of beers at family parties when we were very young. Drinking and partying always looked so appealing to me and it’s what the adults did so naturally that’s what I wanted to do. I had everything I needed and wanted as a kid. My Dad had a very good job and an even better illegal job. Due to his illegal and alcoholic lifestyle, my Mother left my Father and moved us to Florida.
Going from having everything to almost nothing was hard for my Mom, me and my sister. My Mom worked multiple jobs to take care of us. This gave me a lot of freedom. I started acting out. Skipping school to hang out with my friends, drink beer and smoke cigarettes. We moved back to Ohio from Florida when I was going into the 6th grade. I didn’t really care much about school. I just wanted to get attention and make people laugh by doing things that most other students wouldn’t.
… and on the last flip was ejected out of the driver’s side window.
During the last couple weeks of my senior year of high school, I was in a bad drunk driving car accident. I was driving my friend’s Mom’s new convertible and flipped it 4 times Being as drunk as I was is what saved me from being a paraplegic. This was the first time I was introduced to AA. I never once at 18 years old thought I was an alcoholic. I just thought I did a stupid thing. My partying just got worse over the years. I started dabbling in pain pills. After doing pain pills for a few years, I found out that you can snort heroin and it was cheaper and better than pain pills.
I decided to go to culinary school to become a personal chef. I loved school! I was focused and did well. I got a phone call one day and was told that one of my best friends had died from an overdose. This was the first time a close friend who was doing the same things that I was doing died. I’d like to say that this opened my eyes to what I was doing, but it did not. I dropped out of school and moved back home.
My drug use only got worse. It consumed my life. It’s all I thought about and wanted. Before I knew it I was stealing from my job, my family and eventually my friends. I couldn’t keep a job, a car or an apartment. I tried to get sober multiple times by going to detox. I thought that if I could just get the drugs out of my system I could just drink, because when I drank, I wasn’t that bad. At the end of my using I was homeless staying with my dealer, or a prostitute and even the hospital where my sister worked. I was completely dead inside and didn’t care if I was dead or alive. I had nothing. My sister paid my cell phone bill so that they would know if I was still alive. I was banned from my Mother’s home and my sister would let me come over from time to time so she could feed me and let me take a shower.
I heard about a place in Cleveland called Maggie’s House which is now Jean Marie House. I moved to Cleveland from Warren with all intentions of getting sober and getting my life on track. I refused to admit that I was an alcoholic and that made the next few months very hard to stay sober. I would get high and go back to the house over and over. I was still running the show. Katie never gave up on me and she would always check on me and let me back into the house.
When I sobered up, I found myself on the steps of a church on Kinsman.
One of the last times I was out, I overdosed and was brought to back to life. When I came to I was so angry. I couldn’t even die properly!! I don’t remember the next few days after I left the hospital due to ingesting as much drugs and alcohol as possible. The first phone call I made was to Katie. After a mild meltdown on her part when I told her where I was, she told me to stay put and don’t talk to anyone and she picked me up yet again. I went back out a few more times and the last time out I had a plan to move to Florida with a girl I was using with to live with people I did not know. As I was sitting in the classy motel room on Brook Park road, something came over me and I realized that moving to Florida was a bad idea and it was time to get it together. I was picked up and taken back to Jean Marie House and have been sober ever since. It wasn’t easy sometimes. I made a lot of mistakes, sometimes more than once, but I never picked up over any of them and THAT was the most important thing to me.
My life has gotten so much better over the years. My relationship with my family is stronger than ever. I can’t even begin to know how I made them feel and the terror I put them through when I was using. But everything I do today is to make them proud and not ashamed of me. I work in the recovery field today. I work with alcoholics and addicts every day and I love it! Seeing the men I work with come in completely defeated, get life back in their eyes, get jobs and get their families back is truly rewarding. People rely on me today and even ask me for advice. ME…of all people!!!