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Living in Addiction Recovery

Sometimes, we do not always appreciate someone until we walk a mile in his/her shoes.  Ever wondered what it’s like to live and work in addiction recovery?  Check out this piece written by a Surfside staff member on his experience in recovery, and ultimately, in his career of helping others!

A life in recovery is one that must be traveled every day, and thus far, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I often hear the phrase “Road to Recovery” from members in the community, and it proves to be a perfect description of the twists, turns, caution lights, and heavy traffic that inevitably show up in life. Through continuous action and mindfulness, I can avoid getting “stuck in traffic” and keep trudging the road to happy destiny.  When I first got sober, I was not “in Recovery”… I was only sober.  My mind and thoughts were still insane, my body was still in pain, and my spirit was broken and torn. 

By digging deep into the depth of my soul and finding a wee bit of willingness and open-mindedness, I began to realize that God, or a Power much greater than myself, made itself present in my life frequently. It became something I could talk to, ask for help, ask for guidance, cry to, scream at; and then afterwards, ask for forgiveness for screaming.  After some time being free from drugs and alcohol, but still feeling spiritually, emotionally, and physically sick every day, I began to pray and realize that God’s will and path for me was significantly different than what I thought it would be. 

At 29 years old, I began to recover from 17 years of chaos and misery.  I started my journey on the road to recovery through the help of God, strong men who have recovered and have a similar experience, and the 12-Step Fellowship.  The journey at first was slow; metaphorically it was like riding a beach cruiser bike, rather than a car, down the road.  Ironically, during the first 9 month of my recovery, I did not have a car and traveled by bike.  By putting one foot in front of the other and taking action each day to change and grow, I gained speed and rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence as if I was in Doc Brown’s Delorean in the film “Back to the Future”.  I eventually traded my bike in for a car… both in real life and my spiritual life.

Through my continuous action and help from others, my spirit became alive again.  However, I do not forget where I came from. Once an alcoholic and drug addict… always an alcoholic and drug addict. That does not mean I am without hope. As I strive to live by spiritual principles, God has granted me with the humility to learn and grow into a better man for myself and for those around me. Now, I live in Recovery each day.  We do Recover!

Working in Addiction Recovery

As I have embarked in my career of working in addiction recovery, I have had my fair share of spiritual experiences- mainly from watching young men come in hopeless and leave as free men.  Every day, I witness the miracle of watching guys humble themselves enough to take a true look at who they are and grow as a result of the process. What has shocked me thus far is observing the varying backgrounds of the residents. But no matter where they came from, they have shared experiences of the wear and tear of active addiction: no money, outstanding court dates, no family contact, suicidal thoughts, and complete hopelessness. The list goes on and on. Through my own experience in recovery, I can form unique connections with these men who are also seeking a solution.

No matter how far down we have fallen, if we are willing to be open-minded and honest, then we can all recover. The broken and beaten down transform into glowing and self-confident; the spiritually sick develop a relationship with a Power greater than themselves; the thin and sick become healthy and strong; the estranged son/brother creates a healthy relationship with his family; the financially bankrupt repair the chaos of their past and become functioning members of society; and the suicidal find themselves happy, joyous and free.  It is truly a miracle.

It is a blessing to help these extraordinary gentlemen each day. I know where they have been, and through sharing my experience, I can help them through their struggles. As I continue to be open and honest with them, they actually help me. Through conversations regarding spirituality, sober activities, and overcoming life’s obstacles, we help each other on this road to recovery.

The path to my career in addiction recovery had many winding turns. I obtained a degree in Marketing that I put to use for many years. In addition, I have worked in restaurants, landscaping, utilities and countless other professions, but I have never found a true purpose until now. To my core, I am convinced that God brought me to my knees so that I could find recovery and help others do the same. Today, I can pass on to the next man what others have passed on to me, and that feeling is second to none.

From Surfside’s inception in 2016, our staff have been the heart and soul of our mission to help young men recover from addiction.  Without them, Surfside would not be possible!

As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out.  Our Executive Director is ready for your call to help point you in the direction of treatment services.