Jeff Merrick

27 May Intervention plus Legal Representation = Holistic Recovery

Part One

Intervention in the old school sense used to rely heavily on tough love.  Families would gather at a pre-designated location and unbeknownst to the addict, surprise him or her with strict words and an ultimatum.  The sole focus was to get the addict into treatment and away from the family.  The more co-dependent a family, the more the need to separate them.  But things have changed – for the better.

I sat down with attorney, Jeff Merrick, last week in Larchmont Village and discussed the “new, more powerful intervention” – a systems approach that addresses the family’s behavior, specifically co-dependency.  It is an invitation for the entire family to join together for their loved one, getting them to be accountable to each other in order that they can all move towards change in unison.  I discovered what makes Jeff tick, what he’s passionate about and how he’s helping families who struggle with addiction issues transform their lives.  I received so much valuable information from Jeff and found this topic so fascinating and relevant that I decided this would be Part 1 in a series covering Intervention and Legal Defense.

Jeff Merrick is a former big firm litigator whose work is now as an interventionist as well as an attorney and advocate.  He lived in a world that emphasized winning at any cost, rationalizing behavior after it happens and rewarding people for behavior that wouldn’t be tolerated on the playground.  “It’s very alcoholic that way, litigation,” says Jeff who understands this well because he is also an alcoholic in recovery.  “In todays big law firm, arguing about people’s money and their businesses and the contentious nature of litigation, although I was good at it, it was my lowest self.  I can be a talented arguer; I can be all about the argument and the rationalization, I am also an alcoholic.  What I really have to keep myself in check on is what brings me joy.”  Being able to align his recovering self with his lawyering self is his joy.

Jeff has helped to create a holistic approach to intervention by partnering with the court, with probation, with other professionals, treatment providers, court services, and today’s treatment center. He is able to bring into collaboration with a client, all these moving parts and establish a solution that is not just one-sided.  While his client is in treatment, the family has their own recovery and as they are able to have some space from the problem, they naturally become attached to the solution.

The solution is something Jeff speaks about repeatedly.  He believes that where intervention is concerned, it is of maximum importance that the addict is given the solution in the form of treatment, but that they also understand the problem and that they understand that the people who love them are no longer willing to be manipulated.  This will be expressed on the day of the intervention.  Family and friends will express their pain, their sorrow, but they will also express their resolve – that it’s not going to be business as usual any longer.

Through partnering with the renowned clinician, Dr. Louise Stanger, Jeff has implemented “change agreements” with accountability team meetings designed to move the family system forward.  “If that system doesn’t move forward it’s going to defeat treatment and recovery.” Jeff describes it as being akin to going into a using environment that hasn’t changed – it’s going to be too much for those in early recovery.  The system remains stagnant, the addict eventually relapses and it’s business as usual with them once again.

Additionally, avoiding the old school dialogue is a component of the new, powerful intervention.  It used to be, “How many days am I in?  I’m only doing 30.”  “No, you’re doing 90.”  Jeff’s experience has shown him that if a family agrees to 90, they won’t get a day over 90!  For some addicts this is an adequate start but they will still need a year of some kind of treatment.  What Jeff is recommending now is instead of getting into the dialogue dance as a family, they say, “You’re going to be there as long as clinically advisable and we’re not going to have a conversation about what’s less and we’re not doing the bare minimum when it’s a disease that wants your life.”

Jeff’s work in intervention is about showing families that this is not less love, it’s loving from a really deep level, a place that says we are not willing to do business as usual.  We’re not willing to play by your rules.

Continue to follow our blog for Part Two of Jeff’s interview. For more information on Jeff Merrick and his services, please visit his website www.attorneymerrick.com.



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Another shot from Tony and Aarons trip to #yosemitenationalpark !

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Another shot from Tony and Aaron's trip to #yosemitenationalpark !

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New Life House and AA have given me the tools and ability to be successful in my career and in my sobriety. Thanks to all my friends and family for being supportive!

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Congratulations to Spencer H. on his 4 years of sobriety!

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Congratulations to New Life alumni Chris H. on his college graduation from UC Davis! The sky is the limit once we get sober and put in the work to recover.

I dropped out of college with 1 class left and came into New Life House. Once I graduated the house, a major goal I set was to finish my degree. My friends, family and Scott, my house manager, helped push me to complete what it was that I started. I am extremely grateful for what New Life has done for me and continues to do for me.

Congratulations to New Life alumni Chris H. on his college graduation from UC Davis! The sky is the limit once we get sober and put in the work to recover.

"I dropped out of college with 1 class left and came into New Life House. Once I graduated the house, a major goal I set was to finish my degree. My friends, family and Scott, my house manager, helped push me to complete what it was that I started. I am extremely grateful for what New Life has done for me and continues to do for me."
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Jeannie Lynn Peters-PesnerAwesome job. You earned that degree and nobody can take that away from you!!! The sky's the limit for you!! I'm glad I got to know you as you are a kind and caring young man that will make a difference to many other ppl that want to finish college!! Congrats to u my friend

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Carolyn BreckenridgeGood for you! You look great. Congratulations on a new life!

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Mike KroenerThat's my boy! Get it Chris!!

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Leslie Mann KelleyA HUGE congrats to you Chris!! Way to go!!!!

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Susan DohrenTwo fantastic achievements to celebrate

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Carol ChampagneCongratulations!!

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Sonya PhillipsCongrats😄🎉😉🎊😘😇🌺😄

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Christine HartmanCongratulations - dad and I are proud of all your accomplishments.

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Mardi FolksYou are inspiring. So happy for you.

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Lori ChamberlainWay to go, Chris!! Congratulations!!!

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Happy 9 years sober to Chase T! Seeing alumni rebuild their lives is an inspiration to so many of us.

Im overwhelmed with gratitude for the life I have today. Around this time each year, I think back to what my life was like those last months and weeks before making the decision to do something different. Its hard to imagine the person I was 9 years ago, but its important for me not to forget. Thank you New Life House for providing the safe and structured environment I needed that first year of my recovery. Its awesome to be an alumni of such an amazing place. Thank God for Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps! My life is full of amazing individuals who help me be the best husband, father, son and friend I can be. Much love to you all!

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Happy 9 years sober to Chase T! Seeing alumni rebuild their lives is an inspiration to so many of us.

"I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the life I have today. Around this time each year, I think back to what my life was like those last months and weeks before making the decision to do something different. It's hard to imagine the person I was 9 years ago, but it's important for me not to forget. Thank you New Life House for providing the safe and structured environment I needed that first year of my recovery. It's awesome to be an alumni of such an amazing place. Thank God for Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps! My life is full of amazing individuals who help me be the best husband, father, son and friend I can be. Much love to you all!"

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Chantel ThayerI am so proud of you brother!!! You are an amazing brother, husband, father and so many other things. I love you so much and happy that I am your sister!😘

3 days ago   ·  5

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Pam Haslem DanaCongrats Chase! What an inspiration you are to anyone struggling with something that seems bigger than them! Happy 9 years!

2 days ago   ·  2

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Randy PalmerI'm happy for you brother. We've been sober long enough to qualify for life insurance...lol

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Marlene Rodriguez KatriadakisCongrats keep it strong!!! I love these stories it gives me hope for my son

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Darsi Mason WishnackCongratulations and thank you for the help you've given so many in the past!!

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Carolyn BreckenridgeYou look wonderful Chase, what a great journey. May God bless you always!

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Brian O'SheaChase T!!! You are a powerful example All the Blessings and Promises !!! Well deserved !!! Grateful for YOU!!!

3 days ago   ·  2

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Jason KenyonCongrats brother can't believe or days were 11 years ago

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Austin Ryan AndersonYou're a super hero Chase Thayer. Get some spandex bud cause sobriety just got real!!!! 💪🏻👊🏻 love ya buddy!

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Tony BaltazarCongrats to you Chase! You are clearly an inspiration to many.

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Peterandkimberly RelfYou the man! And husband and Dad! HAH!

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Tracy SundeCongrats Chase!! You're an inspiration to many!

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Jeff HolbrookWhat a handsome couple. NICE!

2 days ago   ·  2

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Rob Joseph JuhaszCongrats chase! Miss you bud 👍

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Tricia Seamons EvansSo proud of you!

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Heather Little HortonSo wonderful. Congrats

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Carol ChampagneCongratulations...An attitude of gratitude and counting your blessings can bring such inner peace and clarity...Those one day at a time moments add up to an amazing and beautiful life...Yeah You!!

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Sonya PhillipsCongrats😄🎉😉🎊😘😇🌺🎉😄🎉😄🎉

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Anne Taylor- HoldawayThank you Chase!! I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am for you and your whole family!!! Darlene Thayer and I go way back!! To see this picture of you and your wife and to know you chose her is priceless!! God Bless You!! ❤️❤️

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Jeannie Lynn Peters-PesnerI'm so happy for you. I met u 2 years ago as I was bringing my son in and I was fond of you from that moment. Your words of encouragement to a very new life house mom were very much what I needed that day. I am thankful for u and all the other guys that helped Jeff be able to celebrate his 2 yrs sober. Keep up the good work as you have a beautiful family and need to be there for them Congrats to u my friend

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Chris DuckettCongratulations Chase! Everyone needs help and change in their life. Some are willing to share their story and help another. You are indeed one of those and the countless people who you may never meet may see your success and save themselves through a program such as this. All the very best and continued success to you and your beautiful family!

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Joann Woodmansee-McGrawMy hats off to you Chase. Such a wonderful accomplishment to be very proud. You and your wife make a beautiful couple. You have many reasons now to stay sober and I have faith that you will. God bless your strong heart. 🙏🏻

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Cade SaurageProud of you bud, grateful to the God that got u there. See u soon!

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Kelly ThayerLove you son !

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Talk about life on lifes terms! New Life alumni have been all over the world recently - heres some pictures of their travels from Arizona all the way to Israel and everywhere in between!

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Talk about life on life's terms! New Life alumni have been all over the world recently - here's some pictures of their travels from Arizona all the way to Israel and everywhere in between!

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New Life Alumni Nigel T. exploring Seattle! Recovery opens doors for us and breaks us out of the box that our addiction leaves us in!

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Bill McClellanHey Nigel , if you make it up to Whidbey island look me up ! I can pm you my contact information 😀 I'm a New Life alumni also !

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Happy 6 years sober to Mike K!

I am extremely grateful to have 6 years sober. New Life and AA has given me a fighting chance in the world, and a bright future I never saw when I was using. I have a stronger love for my friends and family, and I am forever in their debt for never giving up on me. Happy 6 years to my brother who has trudged this road along side of me. Couldnt have done it without you.

Happy 6 years sober to Mike K!

"I am extremely grateful to have 6 years sober. New Life and AA has given me a fighting chance in the world, and a bright future I never saw when I was using. I have a stronger love for my friends and family, and I am forever in their debt for never giving up on me. Happy 6 years to my brother who has trudged this road along side of me. Couldn't have done it without you."
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Megan Kennally CleggSo proud of you! I love you very much!

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Carol ChampagneFantastic...Congratulations!!

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Marlene Rodriguez KatriadakisCongratulations keep it strong

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Darleen MintonThat's great

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Karen Ann BeaumontSo happy for you. 6 years of sobriety is really something to be proud of. I will pray that you continue to seek Goods will in all things. Take care & God bless.

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Sheila Roberts BaughanWay to go Mike!!! Happy Birthday and congratulations to you!!! Thanks for the example!!! All the very best!!!

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Alisa SetliffAn inspiration

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Happy Fathers Day to all of the dads that are such a huge part of our recovery!

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Happy Father's Day to all of the dads that are such a huge part of our recovery!

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Happy 5 years sober to Howard B!

Im overwhelmed with gratitude today for God, New Life House, AA and my family for all the love and support I have been blessed with. I remember coming out of detox shaking, sweating and unable to look anyone in the eyes. I didnt have any friends left to wonder where I went when I went into the house and I felt hopeless and alone. Fortunately I had a family that gave me one more shot. New Life introduced me to AA and showed me what it meant to be a man. How to show up for people around me, live my life with integrity, and most importantly start thinking about someone other than myself. Today I have lots of really cool material stuff that I never had before I got sober, but more importantly, I have character, love and a purpose. A huge thanks to Mike J, the rest of the New Life staff and all of the alumni that came before me and showed me through their behavior what it meant to be a good person. I cant wait to see what the future brings.

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Happy 5 years sober to Howard B!

"I'm overwhelmed with gratitude today for God, New Life House, AA and my family for all the love and support I have been blessed with. I remember coming out of detox shaking, sweating and unable to look anyone in the eyes. I didn't have any friends left to wonder where I went when I went into the house and I felt hopeless and alone. Fortunately I had a family that gave me one more shot. New Life introduced me to AA and showed me what it meant to be a man. How to show up for people around me, live my life with integrity, and most importantly start thinking about someone other than myself. Today I have lots of really cool material stuff that I never had before I got sober, but more importantly, I have character, love and a purpose. A huge thanks to Mike J, the rest of the New Life staff and all of the alumni that came before me and showed me through their behavior what it meant to be a good person. I can't wait to see what the future brings."

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Laurie FoegeWe are so proud of you!! You have worked so hard and continue to live your life with strength, dignity, and compassion while encouraging everyone around you!! Love you!!

6 days ago   ·  1

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Megan FoegeSo proud of you!! What an awesome accomplishment! Such an insanely difficult hurdle to jump over. You are incredibly strong and brave! Keep inspiring, educating, and mentoring those around you!! I have such an incredible cousin who has beat all odds!!!! I love you!! Be well, be safe, and "live it lite!"

7 days ago   ·  1

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Stacey WestHappy Birthday Howard. You are a living testimony to the other young men and I am thankful for the help and guidance you offer to them and us parents! Congrats!

2 weeks ago   ·  2

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Darsi Mason WishnackCongratulations, Howard, for what you have accomplished for yourself, but also for being a wonderful mentor to so many other young men! Thank you, thank you!!!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Jackie WattsonYour inspiring story brings hope to all of people who are still struggling with this disease. Happy Birthday and God Bless you.

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Sheila Roberts BaughanCongratulations Howard!!! So very happy for you and thank you for your great example!!!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Linda Rosten EnyeartHappy Birthday! You are an inspiration to those who are struggling!!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Michelle McShane GaonaHoward, you inspire many by being the you God intended you to be! Congratulations

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Carole Castro ShirreffsYou are an inspiration and we are all blessed to have crossed paths with you!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Carolyn BreckenridgeI'm so proud of you. You look wonderful. May god bless you always!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Michele Baker HagstromHappy happy birthday Howard. You are an inspiration to many. Keep on trudging this road to happy destiny. Luv ya lots.

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Katherine Norman HinschHey Howard! So proud of you, are a true testimony to spirituality and helping others. So happy to know you! Big #5

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Roberta Lenner LermanHappy 5 years, Howard! You are such an inspiration to so many! We are so grateful for all you've done and continue to do.

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Robert HinschHey Howard, congratulations. Your an inspiration to all of us..

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Connie YurczykCongratulations Howard...and many more.

1 week ago   ·  1

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Dana Young SarukCongratulations Howard. Sooo proud of you.

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Patricia JohnsonCongratulations Howard! You are amazing.

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Marlene WaltersCongrats how wonderful ! Inspiring story

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Carol ChampagneCongratulations!!!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Kim FlearyCongratulations, Howard!

1 week ago   ·  1

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Lori ChamberlainCongratulations!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Tammy LoweAwesome great job

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Letty Portilla-EuforaCongratulations Howard !!! 🎉🎉

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Mike KroenerHappy birthday brotha!!

2 weeks ago   ·  1

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Sonya PhillipsCongrats😄🎉😉🎊😘😇🌺😄🎉😄

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This past year has held a lot of new experiences for me. I have been fortunate to dive deeper into my self-discovery, spirituality and life fulfillment. I have been able to do some incredible things professionally, pursue new ambitions and connect with some amazing people along the way. I get to be the man I always wanted to be - right now and today! All of these things are possible because of the foundation I built while at New Life House. Thank you!

Happy 6 years sober to Josh F!

#newlifehouse #realrecovery #growth #character

"This past year has held a lot of new experiences for me. I have been fortunate to dive deeper into my self-discovery, spirituality and life fulfillment. I have been able to do some incredible things professionally, pursue new ambitions and connect with some amazing people along the way. I get to be the man I always wanted to be - right now and today! All of these things are possible because of the foundation I built while at New Life House. Thank you!"

Happy 6 years sober to Josh F!

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Ginger LarsonXOXO

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Karen Ann Beaumont6 years that's terrific. I'm so very happy for you. I know this was not an easy road for you when you began this new journey but l'm glad for you that you did take this path that God has you on. Take care & God bless.

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Kim FlearyCongratulations, Josh!

1 week ago
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Dana Young Sarukcongratulatons josh.

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