Real Recovery Alumni Spotlight
For this week’s Real Recovery Alumni Spotlight we spoke with Luc S, a New Life House alumni who is also an up and coming tattoo artist making waves in the industry. He took some time to chat with us about life, long-term recovery and his career.
New Life House: Was New Life House the first time you tried to get sober?
Luc: New life was the 9th program I had gone to and the first that ever truly worked for me. I had hit my bottom and was living in a park before I got there and an old friend of mine that went through New Life House and graduated and told my parents about it.
NLH: When you were in the house, what were your biggest struggles?
Luc: My biggest struggle was living an honest life. My whole life revolved around lying, cheating, and stealing prior to coming in. I got to make amends for all of the things I had done prior to the house.
NLH: Was there anything in particular in the house that set you up for success?
Luc: New Life taught me a whole new way of living; from the way I keep my apartment clean, all the way to how I interact and carry myself in everyday life. Every rule and reason the house had was something that would make me productive in the long run. I still live my life by a handful of the rules I learned several years ago in the house.
NLH: What about the friendships you made there?
Luc: That was the biggest thing that helped me – the bonds I built with the guys. I made life long friends in the house. I still talk to my close friends from the house every day.
NLH: What did you do for work in the house?
Luc: During the house I worked in a restaurant and rose up the ranks quickly using the motivation I had learned in New Life. I still use that to apply to my current job today – I am now a tattoo artist.
NLH: What is that like and how does it tie into your other hobbies?
Luc: I push everyday to continue to progress in tattooing and gain a level of notoriety in the industry. I have started taking classical oil painting classes to help, and I keep myself healthy by working out.
NLH: How do you stay involved with AA and the house while you pursue your other interests?
Luc: Looking back 7 years ago, I would not change a thing. I learned things at the house that will stay with me the rest of my life; I go to as many meetings that I can having a busy, busy schedule. I do not go visit the house as much as I would like to now, but I took a ride of house members to a meeting at the very least once a week for my first 5 years.
NLH: What are your goals for this year?
Luc: This year I will be moving shops and I would like to continue progressing in my industry.
NLH: How much time sober to you have and do you have any advice for current house members?
Luc: I currently have 7 years sober – if I would give any advice, it would be to give the house and the program an honest shot. It really works if you let it. For the guys in the house, just listen! Everything in the house and every rule is there for a reason. It will all help you! For the parents, don’t enable! I know you love your kids, but they need to learn about consequences and need this time to grow as an adult.
NLH: What is it like being a tattoo artist?
Luc: I absolutely love my job, it is stressful at times, but at this point, I can’t see myself doing anything else and liking it any better than I like this. I am finding success in the tattoo industry. Shops from all around the world are for asking me to go out and work with them. It has been a long journey, and it will continue to be long. I apprenticed for two years, while working two restaurant jobs and working every single day towards a different aspect of my art. I draw and paint every day after work, even if it was a 12 hour day of tattooing.
NLH: What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone trying to pursue a creative career?
Luc: The biggest thing I can say to anyone wanting to pursue anything similar is to push, push, push. Don’t let anyone tell you anything to bring you down – it’s all about having tunnel vision on your goals. I consistently push myself by critiquing my own work and always looking at what I can do better. I try to do every medium of art, from drawing to painting, woodburning, building frames – anything outside of tattooing that is a medium or form of art.
NLH: Where do you hope to be in the next few years?
Luc: Over the next for years I will be continuing to move on to better and better shops. Within five years I hope to own my own shop. I love my job! It is very rare that I consider it work – it is absolutely a passion of mine. I get inspiration from nearly everywhere. Whether it is an artist I like, or just walking down the street and seeing a decorative pattern on someone’s house. There is inspiration everywhere.
NLH: Sounds like you’re killing it. Where were you when you first started out?
Luc: I started as an apprentice and worked my way up to where I am now. Lots of hard work and extremely humbling experiences. I have drawn ever since I was a kid but I never once took an art class up until recently when I started putting myself through oil painting classes. There is a lot of competition in the tattoo industry in Los Angeles. It is also filled with drug abuse and a crazy party lifestyle. I consistently use what I learned in the house to cope with certain situations. If it was not for the house, I would not be able to keep progressing while staying sober at the same time.
NLH: Anything else you want to add?
Luc: Never let anyone tell you that you cannot get to where you want to be. One of my favorite things I ever heard Mike Joly say was, “The only limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves.” I remember hearing him tell me that my second week in the house over seven years ago, and it has always stuck with me.
Thanks for talking with us Luc, we look forward to watching you continue to grow!