My name is Pashka, I am a graduate of New Life house and I have three and half years sober. Like many of the graduates, I grew up in sunny San Diego. I come from an amazing family, my parents immigrated here and were able to accomplish exactly what they sought out for, the American Dream. Not only were they able to establish themselves successfully in this country, but were able to provide me, their only son, with everything that they were not able to have themselves.
I have nothing to blame my alcoholism on; I had the ideal childhood: a large and loving family, vacations, tutors, private school education and essentially every want and need provided for me. Looking into my past with my current perception and self-awareness, I am able to see that there was something missing for me. It was not love, attention, or the fault of anyone or anything. It simply felt like a void, a part of me felt like I did not belong like everyone else. I felt different, like I did not have this “thing” that everyone else had.
The only time that feeling was removed, or the only time I felt relief from it, was when I felt liked, or I was in my own virtual world of video games, or when I was distracted by watching excessive television. However, it would always come back. The void especially increased as I made my way into high school. I went from a graduating eighth grade class of 30, to a freshman class of almost a thousand.
My parents had paved a path to success for me, a plan that should have resulted in me attending a stellar university. My freshman and sophomore years of high school were spent in honor’s and AP classes, studying excessively and attaining a 4.2 GPA. Any free time I had was spent with the other “nerds” and playing video games. I remember as those couple years went on I felt increasingly worse, I often had bouts of depression and feelings of worthlessness. I wanted what the other kids had, I could never quite put my finger on what it was, but it seemed like everyone else was glowing, like they had a purpose, like they had a community and a sense of ease and comfort.
I wanted to experience the same things everyone else was able to experience: the social scene and parties, girlfriends, sports teams, trips out of town with friends, etc.
Halfway into my sophomore year of high school I found the answer to all of my problems. I had successfully gotten drunk and high. It was not my first time trying, but it was definitely my first time finding the relief I did not even know I was looking for. I figured out that all I had to do to have fun, to have a community of people, to be liked, to feel fulfilled, was to smoke a plant and drink a liquid laced with the chemical alcohol. I finally felt like everyone else.
To sum up the remaining years of high school, my senior class voted me “Most Changed.” I went from a 4.0-4.2 GPA my first two years, to a 3.8 GPA my junior year, and around a 2.0 GPA my senior year. I went from the nerd to the drug addict party kid and I honestly have to say I was proud of that reputation. What took place in the years following high school until my experience in New Life House was a disaster. I was strung out on heroin with a constant high-stress level at home, playing the “game” with my family by attempting to find the cure to my “heroin issue” with therapy, Suboxone, hanging out with different friends and trying to dive into hobbies. Nothing ever worked, I always made my way back to the heroin and foil.
I entered New Life House on December 9th, 2011 and my first day sober was December, 10th 2011.The house brought back everything my family instilled in me when I was a child: integrity, accountability, a hard work ethic, love, tolerance, compassion, and a passion for life. Today, I have more REAL friends that I have ever had before, sponsor young men in the program, have a healthy relationship with a girlfriend for almost two years, and am pursuing my dreams of graduating college and ultimately achieving a PHD. My days consist of studying, attending meetings, sponsoring young men, working as a sober mentor, and living life to the fullest.
My relationships with family, friends, and my girlfriend are one of the greatest gifts of my sobriety. I have a completely open and honest relationship with my family, there is nothing unsaid and unspoken. I feel honored that I can do my part in my family unit. My ability to show up for them is the direct result of Alcoholics’s Anonymous and New Life House. My grandmother recently passed away and I am being given the honor to deliver the eulogy at her funeral this Sunday and I feel truly blessed that I can do that I have had more fun and excitement since being sober that I have eve had before. I
‘ve gone to AA conventions in different states, traveled to various places in the country, seen more music shows that I can count on two hands, and I can remember and cherish every minute of it. I am a free man today, I am able to go anywhere I please without having to be in fear or discomfort. New Life House did not give me a life, it gave me a life that I thought was only possible for the rest of the world, a life that is worth living for.