I spent 18 years of my life not knowing what my purpose was or who I was - I was just living. I surrounded myself with other people who drank and used like I did. My house was always filled with others and I was never alone. I didn't want to be alone to deal with my own thoughts, as I felt lost, hopeless, and full of fear. Like many, I turned to alcohol and drugs as a means to cope with the way I was feeling. This enabled me to change into whoever others wanted me to be in order just to fit in. I never knew how to just be myself as my addiction took me to a very dark world. I didn't care about anything or anyone, especially myself. I lost many things that were important to me the first being my health. I loathed myself so much so that I didn't care what happened to me. My family didn't want anything to do with me nor I with them. I was homeless, my car got repossessed, my credit was shot, and I had no money in the bank. I was on the verge of losing yet another job if I continued to use drugs and alcohol. I wanted to change and discovered I had to change or else I would either die or be locked up in prison for my poor decisions.
I decided to notify my boss about my drug and alcohol problem. We both agreed that I needed help so I made the decision to take a two-month leave of absence and put myself in rehab. I was given two choices for treatment centers in Chicago - one was located on the Southside and the other was New Hope Recovery Center. I thought to myself, “What a perfect name? New Hope Recovery!” That was exactly what I had been looking for - new hope to change my life, because the way I was living by my choices wasn’t working. I attended their 6-week intensive outpatient program, and then attended aftercare treatment for 6 months. I was so eager to learn new things about myself and began to discover things that I never knew. It was as if I had a new pair of eyes and ears and began to see and hear everything differently. The staff and the counselors at New Hope showed me a new way to live. There are no words that can explain the gratitude I continue to feel towards Jeff, Mauri, Abbey, Chris, and Janette.
I began to feel more comfortable attending and sharing at meetings. I started attending CMA (Crystal Meth Anonymous) and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings regularly. I gladly accepted service work at meetings when I was elected, I volunteered to make coffee, cleanup after meetings – basically do whatever I had to do to stay sober.
Since I've been sober, I found an amazing sponsor who has guided me through the 12 steps and has read through the Big Book with me. I am very fortunate to sponsor two gentlemen who I am guiding through the steps and the big book as well much as my sponsor did for me. With the wonderful help of Jeff from New Hope I was able to start a new CMA meeting at the very place I went for help. I am now able to give back to others who are seeking the same for their lives. I attend school full-time pursuing a degree in interior design, I work full-time, I attend meetings regularly as well as fellowship, I take care of my body today (going to the gym is my new addiction) and I treat people the way I want to be treated. It’s amazing what recovery can do for you if you are willing to do a little work to better your life. I am truly grateful for the life I have today and as long as I place my recovery first in my busy life, anything is possible.
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