I write a lot about my personal experiences in recovery relating to the 12 steps and things centered around the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, but not nearly enough about how I found these things. Though I attribute my success and newfound way of living to the program, it was my sober living and aftercare program, New Life House, which introduced me to this solid foundation.
Building A Foundation
At the end of my last run, I was in jail. I spent 10 days there and was finally ready to give something different a shot. My drinking and using had all but brought me to my knees, but I knew if I decided to keep going it could have been much worse. So when I called my parents from Men’s Central Jail in November of 2012 I told them I was ready to get help.
The only place I had heard of was New Life House, as a co-worker of mine had been through the house two years prior. I had no idea what to expect. I knew very little of Alcoholics Anonymous and nothing of living a sober lifestyle. But New Life House introduced me to all of that. What it did was educate me and it did so in an environment where I was willing to listen. Sure, at times I fought it, but in the end I had learned enough about myself and my disease that I knew what had to be done in order to live a successful life.
Forming A Community
What sober living and aftercare at New Life House did for me while I was a resident there was just the beginning. It was a very long and at some points arduous process, but the real payoff did not make sense to me until I moved away from it.
At that point I had more in my life than ever before. I do not just mean the material things, because those came; the car, the job, a nice apartment. But I had a family. I had brothers I could count on no matter what happened and people I could talk to no matter what I was going through. This became invaluable to me. I know now that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support and accountability provided to me by the community I received from New Life House.
Living in Gratitude
This, in turn, taught me to be grateful. Let me explain what I mean by that. I found it very difficult to be “grateful” while I was in sober living and aftercare, because I was still very selfish and was only thinking about the things that I “had” to do during the day-to-day grind. It was hard for me to see the growing benefit of all the work I was doing.
Yet when I moved out, I was able to see the big picture. I saw where I had started a year and a half earlier and where I was now. I had a deeper and more intimate understanding of my way of thinking and was able to see past the veil of selfish emotions. I knew then what it was to be grateful and I owed it to the time I spent in sober living and aftercare.
What are some of your experiences with sober living and aftercare?