RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH!
Sobriety Date: May 30, 2005
I was raised in Sheffield Lake, Ohio by a family that provided me opportunities and ample security. I never felt comfortable and specifically have an etched memory of being a liar at age 13 and riding a banana bike to escape. I didn’t want to feel the way I felt when I was me, so I picked up my first drink at this age. By the age of 15, I had already become an everyday drinker, to escape myself and anything that had to do with responsibility and reality.
By the age of 15, I had already become an everyday drinker, to escape myself and anything that had to do with responsibility and reality.
I had immediate consequences, although at the time I thought it was a teenage phase and it would change. My grades were suffering, my friendships, my trust in myself and others…and worst of all my perspective had fallen. I no longer had the ambition and drive that once gave me the outlook to look forward to my future. I went through the motions of applying for college and received a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship at the age of 18. With that scholarship came rules, stipulations and responsibilities–all of which I was unwilling to adjust my lifestyle to. Within a year, I lost that scholarship due to unlawful behavior and was once again wandering with a broken perspective and a progressive daily drinking habit.
I enrolled in the US Army for the next ten years, stationed overseas and gaining rank. With my military career, I drank more as I learned to not deal with life on the terms it handed me. It seemed easier to drink and stay drunk than to get help, which was suggested and finally demanded of me by my superiors. Eventually, due to my refusal to enter rehab in the military, I dropped rank and was discharged as dishonorable with honorable conditions.
Once I got caught in the judicial system, I couldn’t find my way out.
I made my way back to Ohio, working in restaurants and continuing to blame my life on everything else. At 28 years old I was introduced to my choice drink that would introduce me to the prison system three times in the next few years. Once I got caught in the judicial system, I couldn’t find my way out. It was a perpetual ride of going in and out of jails, prisons, and eventually I ended up at Brecksville VA Hospital and Stella Maris where I received my first tastes of sobriety, although I didn’t find recovery.
Comfort for me at that time was sleeping outside for the next 2.5 years, drunk, near Steelyard and literally existing to just do it all again the next day. It was soul numbing. During my 2.5 years of staying on the streets, AA never turned its back on me, specifically John Kylie. He was the Director of the Ed Keating Center (EKC) at that time, and he committed to keep his hand out to me and did. He would see me on the streets and take me to a meeting and talk with me, even though I am sure I was not always the best company. He showed compassion for an alcoholic because he had been where I had been, not necessarily physically, but emotionally with that sickness in his soul.
My road of sobriety has not necessarily been easy or absent of mistakes, but it has been worth it as I learn to walk in faith and rely on this program.
You never know when the miracle will happen, but with God’s grace and mine happened on May 30, 2005. My road of sobriety has not necessarily been easy or absent of mistakes, but it has been worth it as I learn to walk in faith and rely on this program. I can tell you that today I can give hope and compassion the same way that was given to me, because I have lived it and because somebody didn’t stop picking me up.
I was able to take a Director position at the EKC after five years of sobriety, and that has been one of the most rewarding gifts of this recovery journey. With the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, EKC, and the lessons and sobriety that I am continually taught, I now no longer have that soul sickness–God now resides. Phyllis and Jack used to quote the saying “Never look down on anybody unless you are helping him up,” and I try to live by that. EKC and AA have done that for me, thank you for not giving up on me.