Real Recovery Alumni Spotlight
For this week’s Real Recovery Alumni Spotlight we sat down with James K., a New Life House alumni with just over 2 years sober. He answered some questions for us about recovery, his experience and what his life looks like today.
New Life: Thanks for taking some time to talk with us James! How much time sober do you have?
James: Today I have just over 2 years sober.
NL: Was coming into New Life your first attempt at getting sober?
James: This was my first program and as well as the first time I’ve gotten sober.
NL: What was the catalyst that brought you to the house?
James: I first went to a wilderness program before New Life House. It was suggested that I’d go to an aftercare program and we narrowed it down to New Life.
NL: What were your biggest struggles in early recovery?
James: My biggest struggles in the house and in early sobriety were being myself and being transparent. I discovered that I was a people pleaser. I wanted everyone to like me. I never wanted to confront anyone even when I knew I’d be selling others and myself short by not doing so. I chipped away at a lot of who I thought I was and I had a lot of help with it the whole way through the house.
NL: What are you pursuing now?
James: I joined an acting school that I go to twice a week. I look forward to going every week. I’m having fun, learning a lot, meet a lot of interesting people and I’m currently working on booking auditions! That’s my goal, to be an actor.
NL: That’s awesome. What were you doing before you got into acting?
James: My first job in the house was at the Redondo Beach Hotel. I was a houseman which meant I cleaned everything, and I mean everything! I got promoted to the front desk and worked directly with the guests. It was a great time. It was near the ocean and the view was incredible. My second job was at True Foods Kitchen and there I was a busser and food runner. I worked with a few New Life alumni and that was my favorite part about working there.
NL: What was it like graduating, moving out of the house, and what’s it like now?
James: I didn’t know how to react when graduated. It happened so fast and it didn’t at the same time. Moving out has been a learning experience. Looking at places to live, furniture, cleaning supplies, etc. was new for me. I have had my place for three months now and live with two other graduates. It has been fun so far. Life is in session!
NL: Outside of acting, what hobbies do you enjoy?
James: I love long boarding around the city. I get around almost everywhere on my board. I feel that I explore a new part of Los Angeles almost every day. That’s fun for me. I also am always looking for what is going on in the city that would be interesting to check out, like farmer’s markets, movie showings, comedy shows, etc.
NL: Are you planning on going back to college?
James: I’m actually enrolled at Santa Monica City College for the fall of 2016!
NL: Now that your out of the house, looking back on your experience what did you get out of the program?
James: That I always need to continue to work on myself and keep moving forward, to live with principles, and do my best to be selfless.
NL: How do you stay involved in AA?
James: Right now, I go to meetings regularly, have two commitments, speak on H&I panels, and I go to Young People AA Events.
NL: Are you still involved with the house?
James: Absolutely! I go by the house when I can to visit, I hang out with the guys in the house and take them to meetings and to hang out with me.
NL: Do you have any advice for the guys in the house, their parents, and people in AA?
James: I’d say patience is important for the process. You also should get involved and get active!
NL: Is there anything you’d like to add?
James: I didn’t expect to be here when I decided to get help in 2014. It’s been such an experience and I’m so grateful to have the life that I do today.