Before arriving at New Life House, my life had gotten extremely small. It consisted of only my immediate family, and even they were unable to find a way to connect with the person I had become. In the past, I was always an extremely outgoing and fun loving person that loved being around others, but due to drugs and alcohol, I became a recluse only wanting to keep to myself. I wanted to have a group of people that I could genuinely connect to, but I had come to the conclusion that nobody understood me or the things that I was going through, and I would live out the rest of my life alone. I knew that the next treatment center I went through could be my last chance to have a real shot at life, so I was willing to do whatever it took.
I always thought the whole program of A.A. and spirituality was taboo and that it would never work for me, but upon arriving at New Life House, the one thing I could not deny is that the people here looked happy and had a light in their eyes. This gave me hope that something like this could work for me. The guys in the house immediately showered me with love and care that I had never seen at any other treatment center or sober living I had been to in the past. I could not believe that twenty dudes I had never met really cared this much about me. After my first couple weeks spent in the house, I realized that the community aspect and showing up for one another is one of the biggest foundations that this house is built on. I knew that I had finally found a place that I belonged, and there were guys here that I could relate to and trust talking to in a way I had never been able to in the past. I was able to cultivate relationships within a few months in the house that were stronger than those with people I had known for years because of the hardships we went through together. I knew everything about these guys, and they knew everything about me.
There were many times throughout the house when things were tough, and I began to doubt myself. I thought, “Can I really do this?” or, “Is this really worth it?” The one thing that always went through my mind was that I was not willing to lose my community consisting of these twenty other guys who had become my best friends. It is these same guys who I was able to lean on when I struggled, and they helped me find the internal strength needed to make it through all of the roadblocks I faced. There was never a time in the house when I was dealing with a problem and was unable to find someone else in the house who had experienced and gone through the same thing. Yes, I was able to find a God of my understanding and gain belief in the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but I genuinely believe that the community and brotherhood that is fostered in the New Life Program is what truly makes it special and unlike any other program.
When I first started this program, I had hopes that it could possibly give me some of the things I wanted; a good job, a car, an apartment, and all the other external things that do not truly make me happy. What I did not expect to gain was the thing that I have always longed for; a group of people who truly loved me for me. I don’t have to worry about these guys being fake or their motives being impure like I have with friends in the past. There is a certain level of accountability, and they will not just agree with every word I say to be my friend but will tell me when I’m being insensible or falling short because they want the best for me. I have been able to gain a deeper understanding of true friendship and showing up for someone no matter the outcome or what kind of situation it will put you in.
Since graduating and moving out of the house my life has continued to change and get better, but the one thing that has stayed the same is the relationships I gained throughout the house. Many of those guys are still good friends, and I recently moved out of the house with two of my best friends. I’m eternally grateful for all of the things that this program has given me, so I want to continue to provide that back to all of the guys currently in the house. I remember all of the people who showed up for me along my journey which continues to drive me to show up for the house.
Although I no longer live in the house, I still consider all of those guys family who I will always be there for. Taking guys in the house to meetings or simply stopping by on weekend night to hang out with the dudes are the things I love to do. Whenever I see someone in the house that is struggling or going through a tough time, I immediately want to show up for them and try to help them in any way that I can. It’s great that I have the opportunity to contribute to the program as alumni, not only does it keep me close but it also deepens my life’s meaning. Helping others and being able to make a positive impact in other’s lives have been able to give mine a sense of purpose. I remember a time in my life when I felt alone, lost, and had nobody I could turn to for help. I hope that anyone else in the house that is feeling the way I felt can build that community that I have been able to create. No matter how big my life gets, whenever the house calls or needs help I will always show up because I would not even have a life without New Life House.
Written by Mike S.