When I arrived at New Life House, I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t ever associated Los Angeles with being sober before. Initially, I had strong feelings of insecurity and uncertainty getting sober in my teen years. Most of my friends and all of the people I had known weren’t sober and I felt like an outcast. In my hometown it seemed as though a sober community was out of the question. However, upon arrival in Los Angeles it didn’t take long for me to feel comforted. With over 3,000 12-step meetings a week, its no wonder why Los Angeles is the most popular place for young addicts to find recovery. I remember quickly noticing other people my age who identified as addicts with conviction, yet they had re-developed healthier lives and were happy to be apart of meetings and a young people’s sober fellowship. It was a relief to witness hundreds of addicts my own age with years of sobriety, living life effortlessly, and happy at the same time. I questioned, “If there’s living proof of this lifestyle for young people, maybe it can work for me?” I gained some hope.
As much as I believe that finding recovery is a common ground for anyone who seeks help, it is a bit different for people in their teens or early 20’s to find recovery and stay inspired. Our social norm is not to have been sober for nearly 2 years before the age of 21! However, in Los Angeles, I am not alone. Additionally, there are endless opportunities to have fun in sobriety in Los Angeles. With the beach only 15 minutes away, beautiful hikes, amazing concerts, and a supportive community around me, it is hard to deny the fact that I have found exactly what I need and always wanted here.
Since I got sober in December 2013, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I understood that I had a problem and needed help, but I didn’t know to what extent my life had to change and didn’t have the slightest clue about a recovery-based lifestyle. It was almost as if I needed to transform myself through and through in order to reach a stable and peaceful state, or I was doomed. That entailed a vigorous mission to rebuild my character and surround myself with healthier people that supported my pursuit. I was paralyzed by the fear that upon coming to Los Angeles and New Life House, I would never find friends that could relate or understand me. Like most of my fears, this was far from the truth. In fact, the community of likeminded, sober, motivated individuals that care for me in Los Angeles are the very people that paved the way and have shown me what it’s like to thrive in recovery. I was introduced to the New Life alumni community and instantly felt the energy of compassion. Undoubtedly, I was attracted to their lifestyles. This gave me even more motivation to surrender to the process and find relief that I could live a different way of life. The change in perception has been the most powerful tool for my recovery and a happy lifestyle.
Throughout the years, as I look back on all of my experiences in recovery, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come from the timid and confused boy I was when I first step foot in Los Angeles county. Little did I know that the “Mecca” of sobriety was waiting for me and ready to help me gain the life that I unknowingly, had always wanted. There are friendships that I gained early in the process, which have continued to grow and strengthen. We reminisce on the days of being new together with awe, continuing to remain grateful for the life that recovery and the young people’s sober fellowship had given us.