Twenty five years ago, I was twenty and attending classes at a university in Boston. By this time my drinking and drug use was already excessive compared to the typical college student. At the early age of twenty I had accumulated an extensive criminal record. My attorneys recommended checking into a thirty-day rehab, as an alternative to facing jail time. I left for rehab unwillingly and didn’t get much from the experience. I couldn’t stay sober long enough so I was sent to jail for 6 months for violating the conditions of the court.
I tried to run from my problems by relocating. My travels stretched from London to Maui and quite a few places in between. The pattern was obvious but I never wanted to look at it. I was crippled by too much fear to even try to own it. I got in trouble and went to rehab over and over like it was my career. I had been to three different treatment facilities twice; that would not be the end of my journey.
Drugs overwhelmed the alcohol consumption and I started running with extremely dangerous people. Lost in a world of hustle, thieves, and dealers I was spiraling to a point where I had no one. My life was on the line. I reached the point of hopelessness. With nowhere to turn, my disease brought me to the streets. I was homeless living in a shelter and if not the shelter, a park bench. My affliction gave me homelessness, fear, hunger, and poverty. My pain was great. I desperately wanted help and was willing to do whatever it took to leave this hell I had created. I thought if I could only get the chance in a treatment center again. Desperation, this was my ultimate bottom at last.
The next day I walked to the public library where internet was free. I emailed a distant cousin and begged for help. I was embarrassed. Had I burned all my bridges and hurt all whom I loved? The courage to press SEND came. I had nowhere else to go, no one to go too. Time crawled slowly; I could feel desperation crawling all over me, like bugs on a dying animal. I waited 20 minutes in hopeless anticipation; that’s when I received a life changing answer. I read it and started to cry, those in that computer room pretended not to notice this unwashed, shady grown man crying like a child lost in a store. My cousin, ray of hope that she was, said that she would help. Plans were being made for my return to Sierra Tucson. On the flight, I knew this time was different, I felt the desperation for a new and better life.
My therapist at Sierra Tucson suggested sober living for after care. In my past treatment experiences I never considered this, but I was willing to do whatever to stay sober. I decided on a place in Los Angeles. My arrival was filled with fear but they comforted me, and I ended up living there for eight months. After the eight months they offered me a job. I found my passion in helping others. I was good at it. My experiences couldn’t be learned in any classroom.
Today, I own a sober living house for men in Los Angeles called Epiphany House. It’s a place where a guy can integrate back into society and not have to do it alone. At Epiphany House I as well as the staff will share our experience, strength and hope to everyone who resides there.