Real Recovery Success Story
For this week’s Real Recovery Success Story we spoke with Matt M, a New Life House alumni who tried a number of times to get sober successfully before finally landing at New Life House.
New Life House: Was New Life House the first time you tried to get sober?
Matt: No, I have been through 5 other programs before new life which started when I was 14.
NLH: Why didn’t those programs work out for you?
Matt: They were very focused for a certain period of time, as in the span that I was in them, and I didn’t leave with a foundation to carry through my sobriety. I left each of these places still wanting to go back to my old life and party.
NLH: What was the catalyst that brought you to the house after all the failed attempts?
Matt: The last program before New Life was WTC, Wilderness Treatment Center, and they knew approaching my discharge that I needed to go to another program to continue to build my foundation. They did good work there and helped me make the right decision.
NLH: How did you feel about that suggestion?
Matt: I felt like it was going to be like every program I had been to and I was just excited to go to California, and I thought I’d be able to run my own show.
NLH: What were your biggest struggles in the house?
Matt: The adjustment to the structure, I noticed immediately that it was a tightly ran ship with a lot of accountability, and the first thing I identified was that there were no weak links in the house. I could always seek out someone else who was not trying to be sober, and I would link up with them, but the first thing I noticed at New Life was that there was no one like that here and everyone was inspired to be sober for the rest of their life and they would do anything to maintain that.
NLH: How did New Life set you up for success?
Matt: New Life pushed me, and gave me the tools I needed in order to realize how far I could actually push myself. They instilled in me the idea that I was more than the life I had previously been living. I was comfortable in my old life and I never realized how much more there was to achieve, the house not only opened my eyes to that but it taught me the behavior, the mindset, and the work ethic that was needed to achieve true happiness.
NLH: Was there anything particularly important about the structure of New Life house to help you obtain long-term sobriety and build a solid foundation?
Matt: At first I hated the structure, and I didn’t understand how people were living their life that way. But I soon realized that the structure at New Life was parallel to the structure that successful people live, and although it is a little more intensive, it gave me the values I needed to live my life outside after graduating the house
NLH: So are you still in contact with the guys you went through the house with?
Matt: Absolutely; the guys I went through the house with are my best friends today; I don’t think I would still be sober without those relationships in my life.
NLH: Now that you are out of the house, what do you do for work?
Matt: Now I work in financial sales, I work with business owners who are trying to finance equipment for their business or looking for working capital for their business.
NLH: What is it like working in sales in sobriety?
Matt: I don’t think I would be nearly the caliber of salesman I am today if I weren’t sober. I discovered a side of myself in sobriety that I’m able to utilize in a positive way to better my life. Somewhere along the line I fell into a sales job, and I discovered that I’m pretty talented at it, and I think if I ever turned my back on sobriety that gift which I had discovered would disappear.
NLH: How have you worked at refining that gift in your recovery?
Matt: With any craft, you perfect it by learning by the ones you’re surrounded by, and because I’m around very gifted sales people I get to practice the humility that was taught to me by New Life so I ask the questions that will make me better in my profession.
NLH: You also graduated college with a music management degree, have you thought about pursuing that at all?
Matt: I’ve been able to find that the passion for music management was a result of my using and driven by a desire to continue to get high, and I figured if I were in the music industry, managing, then I could continue to get paid and party all the time. So when the drugs were taken out of the equation I got to discover what I was truly passionate about, sales.
NLH: Now that you’ve been out of the house for a while, how has life changed and what is your current relationship with New Life like?
Matt: When I first graduated I was so used to living in that community, seeing and living with all of your best friends for 13 months, I was actually pretty bummed when I had to leave. So when I got to leave I was both nervous and excited, which is why I think it’s so great that I moved out with people I went though the house with. One of the things I will always appreciate is the community that was given to me by going through New Life House; I never want to loose that community, which is why I continue to show up for the next class of guys that go through the house so they can know the importance of that community as well.
NLH: Any long term goals?
Matt: I’d like to continue on the career path I’ve discovered and continue to move upward. I’ve grown a lot in the short time I’ve been where I’m at and I’ve seen a lot of opportunity, so I’d like to capitalize on that and see where this goes. I believe I can do this if I continue to practice the values that were taught to me at New Life House, such as honesty, integrity, hard work, unity, and service.
NLH: I know in the house you struggled with your weight and health. You have come a long way and made your health a priority since then – what was that process like and why was it important to you?
Matt: I appreciate that you delicately worded that question, but let’s address the pink elephant in the room; I was fat bro! I was really fat and I was really lazy. I was learning so much about sobriety but I had continued to put my weight and shape to the way-side. When the structure dissipated, I needed a regimen to keep myself on track, I was tired of being out of shape and unhealthy so the house and my sponsor had recommended me to take on a work out routine while implementing a good diet. I can honestly say, that after doing the work I feel indescribably better. So I continue to do the work, and I am in a lot better shape now and it is important for me to maintain that; this has surely been a major contribution to my sobriety.
NLH: Do you have any advice for the guys or their families or anything else you would like to add?
Matt: Stick with it, you get out what you put in; there’s going to be times when it’s very difficult. Coming from me, who clearly didn’t want this thing in the beginning of it, I discovered a gift that I wasn’t even looking for because the people around me kept pointing me and pushing me in the right direction; because I took that direction and stuck with it I ended up where I am today. For the parents, if you are questioning whether or not this is the right place for your loved one, it undoubtedly is; you couldn’t make a better decision than sending them to New Life, it saved my life.