It was the end of September 2019 when I found New Life House through Google. I was looking for a sober living/rehab location for my grandson Gabe and praying to God for help. I came across something that caught my eye, it was different from all the other rehabs. They work with boys/young men that are addicted with multi-diagnosis and help them develop life skills to lead sober independent lives. I knew right away that’s what Gabe needed. I called Howard immediately and was able to get Gabe into the program the next day.
I’ll have to admit the cost surprised me, but when I did the math to figure the daily cost and took into consideration the service, support, peace of mind, so decided I was willing to sacrifice to make this work. Everything got so bad, there was so much chaos, drama, turmoil, heartache, disappointment and such a feeling of loss —I lost my grandson to drugs. I had to accept the fact that I may never see the grandson I knew and raised, his mind was in a state of psychosis and he was okay with surviving on the streets. I had longed to see Gabe live a good normal life, drug free, but now had to accept the fact that he may never be able to take care of himself. He was so far behind in his personal development losing years to drugs and addiction. This was my last-ditch effort to get Gabe the help he needed.
Over the previous 7 years he went through three different sober living homes, about four detox/rehab treatment facilities, three outpatient rehab programs; various counselors, psychiatrists, and therapists. While these worked for a short time, Gabe would go back to the drugs.
From age 16 Gabe was getting suspended from school, drinking, smoking, getting into fights, hanging out with gangs, and put in foster care. When he came home, he was addicted to meth, stealing, lying, disappearing, secretive, angry, having psychotic episodes, in/out of jail/hospitals, and it reached a point we had to lock him out of the house.
The biggest gap I saw with the other programs is they didn’t address real-life everyday challenges of the individual and self-esteem. They didn’t address behaviors of manipulation, lying, following rules, having structure, calling out the bullsh*t, lack of gratitude, uncaring attitude, keeping commitments, respecting other people’s property/time, and selfishness. While other programs addressed addiction, none really included the other matters. This was basically reprogramming a person altogether!
The first month Gabe went into the New Life, he left three times. The staff were extremely helpful in guiding me on how to handle the situation each time. It wasn’t easy, but they stayed connected with me, gave me the strength and courage I needed to stay strong and hold my boundary. The other parents were also key in helping me during these difficult times, they understood my pain and gave me support.
It’s been 17 months now Gabe has been sober, he’s worked the 12-step AA program, has a job, contributes to the program cost, and working on a driver’s license. He’s much more considerate, appreciative, has better self-awareness/control/esteem, shows care, makes better decisions, no longer manipulates, is healthy again, and most of all I can see the life skills he’s gained. He’s also gained new friends and a brotherhood community, while I gained a parent support system. This is all thanks to New Life, the directors, house managers, counselors, doctors. They gave me hope, a miracle, and my grandson I thought I had lost.