14 Aug How Did You Hear About New Life House?
These New Life House parents share how they found New Life House Recovery Community. Everyone’s story is unique but they all have a common denominator – hope.
My son had been in several 30-day programs and each time he would relapse within a short time. He was at Chapman Hospital in Orange County detoxing and I was desperately looking for another program for him to go to when he got out. We live in Torrance and I had heard of New Life but I had never checked into it. I was actually thinking of sending him to an out of state program to get him out of his environment. Our local counselor brought up New Life again and that’s when I called and spoke to Mike J. We live in Torrance, so Mike was a little reluctant to take him. But thankfully he did. He graduated and has almost 3 years sober! I will forever be grateful to New Life House.
Our son was in college when he told us he had a problem, so, being the “fixer” that I am, I found a program that he could participate in and continue school at the same time. Perfect! It was only a six-month program and then he could get on with his life. I certainly didn’t understand why my friend put her son in New Life House about the same time and he would be there for about two years? Ha! My son was going to be “fixed” in six months. What a no brainer, right? Well, that was six years ago and my friend’s son has been sober for six years and my son has been sober for a little over three years. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize the six-month program didn’t work. Thankfully, New Life House was there when we were finally ready. Mike J. is my hero. Our son is the amazing man we always knew he could be. We are so proud of him and my husband and I have learned so much about the disease of alcoholism along our journey. Our lives are much richer from Al Anon, we have our family back, and we are grateful for our son’s sobriety each and every day.
Here’s how we found New Life: I strongly suspected my son was using drugs in March 2013. I had been suspicious for a while, but that was when I began to get alarmed. He didn’t admit anything to me until August of that year during a phone call he finally answered. (He only answered because he needed money.)
I gave him a choice – he could go to rehab or he could pass, and be on his own. He asked if he could think about it (!!!), but ended up calling back a couple of hours later and agreed to go to rehab.
When we hung up my first thought was, “Well now what do I do?” I instinctively knew a 30 or 60-day rehab wouldn’t work with my son. It had to be something longer-term.
Then I thought about his high school friend Brian H. Brian had been to some rehab four years earlier and according to my son was still clean and sober. So I immediately stalked Brian’s Facebook page and saw a reference to “New Life House.”
Thank God he had that on his page, is all I can say. I visited the New Life website, cried, and then later talked to Brett L. at New Life House L.A. God continued to help us, as there was one bed open at the time. I grabbed it and my son started his “new life.” He’s now 11 months clean/sober and I couldn’t be more proud of him. I thank God every day for New Life House and especially, Brett L. and Scott D. Oh, and Brian H. too! 🙂
When my son agreed to treatment, we first asked for a recommendation from a friend at church whose son had graduated from New Life House. Her son had gone during high school and my son was now 22, so she did not think New Life accepted older men. I also met another mom at the gym whose son had graduated from New Life, and she always told others how superior it was to any wilderness or 30 day program because of the life skills her son gained.
We ended up sending him to detox and 30-day treatment at Axis in Palm Desert. Thankfully, they recommended long term structured after care and steered us to Axis L.A. I did not feel it was a good fit after visiting the house, so I kept asking the case counselor what other options there were. She was hesitant but eventually also mentioned New Life House L.A. (men up to 32 years old). Then I Googled New Life House and structured sober living and got the contact information from the Internet!
My son had been raised in recovery, even attended the 2000 International Convention in MN with me. Christmas, when I finally told him we loved him, but we couldn’t have him coming into the house anymore until he got sober, it was the right thing to do. New Years (my son’s birthday) passed and 2 weeks later I got the call, “Mom, I’m ready. I have to detox, can I come over?” If you’ve ever worked with a lot of newcomers there’s often a sound to their voice when they are really “done”. Sometimes it lasts, sometimes it doesn’t. My kiddo went to work and called me, sometimes every fifteen minutes while trying to get through the craving with people drinking all around him. He’s a chef and an excellent one, but the environment of a high-end restaurant isn’t always conducive to recovery. I helped him through telling his boss he had to go to rehab. The alcoholic mind told him he was irreplaceable, but of course his boss (who also had his stints in rehab) told him it was a good idea and good luck.
This was my son’s first experience with humility. What was so amazing was that my sponsor’s son had gone through NLH L.A. 3 years prior and I’d even had the chance to hear him speak at her home-group about 6 before that. I barely recognized him. My son’s best friend, M, had gone off to New Life not too long after high school. When he was back in town for visits, I’d encouraged my son to get together with him, but it was awkward, their lives had started in a similar fashion, but M had gotten sober and I know he was a mirror to my son’s disease. I still hoped “attraction rather then promotion” and that the seeds of recovery were there.
So, after my son’s detox, I called NLH L.A., but wondered how would we get him to LA? And then I saw and experienced, again, recovery in action. Two boys from L.A. got together and despite their jobs drove straight through 11 hours to have dinner with their families; my son and I lovingly refer to it as “the last supper.” They came by the house, asked again if my son was ready. Nervously, my son piled into the car with the two young men and headed back to LA.
My son is only seven months sober. And he had his first struggle with the old rage and wanting to leave the house. I called in my marker by simply asking him to stay out the month and commit to calling a few people; his sponsor included and talking it out before he made a final decision. This was his first tangible experience with “this too shall pass” when he thought he would feel that way forever.
He’s written a fourth step and shared his fifth. He’s made his list.
We as alcoholics/addicts are so amazingly talented and before he went to NLH my son moved to LA to pursue his dream of a music career with my encouragement. He had two band-mates; one a dear friend from high school that I still lovingly refer to as my son’s greatest enabler; and the other a great guy, not an alcoholic but the adult child of a still using parent. Needless to say I had adopted them both years before and they are still family today. One is dealing with what might be an inoperable brain tumor and now my son can really be there for him, sober. We can be there for him as a family in recovery.
I visit every couple of months when work permits. He’s the man I’ve always known he was, but now he wears it on the outside, rather then “just having potential” which is every parents nightmare : )
New Life House has a stellar group of dedicated parents who visit the house on weekends, prepare food for family potluck, visit when they’re from out of town, take the guys out for movies and meals and help the young men from out of state feel a part of when they are far from home. When a family comes to New Life House, it’s as if they have 30 more sons and the guys have 30 brothers. Thank you parents; you are a vital part of your son’s recovery!