Like any other proud parent, I had a beautiful son who was a good boy with a bright future. Ryan was an excellent student, played sports and was popular with his friends. Then one day in high school, the dark clouds rolled in and my son became an addict. Little did I know my darkest days were ahead.
Ryan started with alcohol and pot. My instinct as a parent was, “all kids try drinking and pot” or “it’s just a phase.” But I soon found out it wasn’t just a phase as Ryan went on to using the “hard stuff.” I finally had to admit that my beautiful boy was an addict and I feared for his life.
My life became unmanageable. My marriage was on the rocks, I lost friends and I was financially drained. Thank God, I found a wonderful Nar-Anon family group or I’m not sure I would have survived.
Ryan went to many inpatient and outpatient programs and detox but nothing worked. I prayed and I begged him to stop using but nothing ever changed. And then there was New Life House….
Ryan was being discharged yet again from a detox center and I had to make a decision about where to send him. I was leaning toward a program in Utah to “get him away from his environment.” By the grace of God, I heard about New Life House and thankfully there was an opening. Mike, the owner, was a little concerned about accepting Ryan because he was only 17 and he lived in Torrance. But he took a chance on him and because of that, Ryan is where he is today. For this, I will forever be grateful.
Since Ryan left New Life House nearly 3 years ago, he has been thriving. He shares a house with 2 other NLH alumni. He was a server for a while, and he worked as a manager at NLH. Then he decided to get his Real Estate license. He’s now selling homes in the South Bay and launching a promising career. He is following his dream and it’s because he is following his program.
When Ryan is not working, he is mentoring his sponsee’s, giving rides to house members and going to AA meetings. He often attends men’s stag AA meetings where the members have 25+ years of sobriety because he looks up to them and finds them so inspiring.
I often wonder how young people stay sober when the temptation is so great. When I ask Ryan how he stays sober, he tells me “the worst day sober is better than the best day getting high.” Following the steps of AA gives a person a completely different perspective on how to live life. It’s all about honesty, integrity, community, service and basically “following the golden rule.” The young people I have met in the AA program are truly amazing because they “get it.” In many ways, I think Ryan’s addiction was a blessing because of the man he has become in the program.
In a few short months, Ryan will be taking 5 years! I truly believe that if he stays on this path and with the help of his Higher Power, he will be successful in staying sober.