I remember being back home in Cleveland and being woken up in a drunken stupor at around 9 pm. I was woken up by my mother telling me that my aunt, who is a therapist was over and wanted to talk to me. I proceeded to walk into an unexpected intervention that potentially saved my life. I had a small desire to get sober but I was in such a delusional state of mind from my use that I did not truly believe that I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. I thought that I was still “having fun” and that I could stop whenever I wanted to. After hours of deliberation, I came to a point of surrender and agreed to go to a wilderness program in Oregon for three months, called Evoke Therapy.
Three days later, I was on a plane to Oregon and the realization of what I had gotten myself into dawned on me. I felt as if I was not ready for what I was about to experience. I grew up in the suburban Midwest and was spoiled by parents who only wanted me to have a good life. Hiking and camping weren’t necessarily hobbies of mine, but I figured three months was not that long and that I could get through it and then go back to my life maybe, hopefully, sober.
After two months of living in the woods, sleeping in nature, and disregarding any real sense of an overly-sustainable hygiene, I was now willing and open to the idea of continuing my program in an aftercare facility. I was given two options; A: move up in the Rockies to Carbondale, Colorado or B: the city of Los Angeles to a program called New Life House. The choice for me was easy, I had wanted to move to a big city for as long as I could remember. I realized that whatever so-called “life” I had back in Cleveland was not really that much of a life outside of a dead-end job that I hated. The closest friends I had were my parents and then my drug dealer, who was not really my friend at all. I wanted a new experience with life and that is exactly what I got.
Moving across the country to another state that is far away from any family was a daunting move, but it was something I knew I had to go through with. After 65 days of living in the woods, I flew into LAX and arrived in the city where I have begun to build a life for myself.
As I sit here and type this, I am almost seventeen months sober, and I am a graduate of the New Life House program. Looking back at all that happened during my time as a house member I had some of the happiest times of my life and I have also had some of the hardest times of my life. This process is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life but I told myself when I got to New Life House that I was going to finish something for the first time in my life and I did! My life looks dramatically different than it did a year and a half ago.
Today I have more friends in my life than I could have ever asked for. Not only do my dreams seem attainable today, but sobriety in this community is attractive. The amount of young people in the AA community in Los Angeles is incredible. A year and a half ago if you had told me I would be living in Los Angeles with a good job I would have told you you’re crazy. My future looks brighter than it has ever looked and I feel better than I have ever felt. Today I think clearly and I am in control of my emotions. I believe that I am capable of handling whatever life throws at me and I owe that to the work that I did at New Life, and in AA. I do not know if I would be sober if I didn’t make the decision to move to Los Angeles and join the New Life House community. The way this program is structured and the community of graduates that have long-term sobriety are simply impressive. I am more than grateful for my life today, and the bright future ahead.