If I could just stop drinking, I could have everything I ever wanted in life…

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Tommy, Victory House, September 2018

I knew I needed to work on my recovery when I started drinking again. I was in a relationship at the time and out of the blue I just found an excuse to start drinking with her. I thought I could have just one, but there is no such thing as just one for an alcoholic like me. I went to detox, but after detox I wasn’t able to stay sober. Two days later I went to the hospital and they detoxed me in the facility. I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired because the alcohol, it just grabs a hold of you. I knew there was nothing I could do but get back into treatment. Boston has so much opportunity for people who need treatment. I’ve been at Victory Programs before. It’s one of the best programs I’ve been in because knowledge and education is key. Knowing why I act this way and why I do these behaviors. They are always pointing me in the right direction. It’s a big help knowing people in the sober community.

When I made the decision to come back into recovery I was living on the street inside my car with my girlfriend. Money was starting to run low. It was the first time I’d ever lived in my car. I was pulled over and the cops gave me a choice between either getting arrested or sent to the hospital. Right after I got out of the hospital, the money it cost me to get the car out of impound, that $5 bottle of vodka cost me $500. My girlfriend was a huge motivator for me to stay in detox. I could see that if I could just stop drinking I could have everything I ever wanted in life, the things I need will come and anything I want is really extra. I need to be better prepared for that. I need more coping skills and there are things I have to learn that I haven’t learned in the past. There are things I haven’t done before like joining a sober fellowship and doing commitments. That is a major part of my recovery this time around.

I never really understood the term fellowship until last year. I never knew it was actually an active group of sober people who hang out and do positive things together. We go to other recovery programs and share our experience, strength, and hope cause that was us once. I can give back what was freely given to me. I always wondered what it was like to be on the other side of the table. Being able to sit there and see the expressions on other people’s faces, it is worth more than money. It’s seriously a miracle. It’s the power of giving back.

A couple of weeks ago we actually just went to the beach, and that is not something I would have just done while sober. The last time I was at the beach sober was as a kid. There I was just laying in the sun, talking about life. The sober community is a blessing. They are always there to help. I like having that network of positive people around me to help me grow. They don’t want anything back in return. My home group keeps me motivated. As a group member I do service work. I show up to the meeting early and make coffee. The best part of showing up early is you get to meet everyone that comes in to the meeting.

Being here at Victory House helps, too. There is always more to learn. Even that little refresher, there’s always that little bit. You might not have heard it the first time, but the second or third time it just pops into the back of your head like, wow, that’s what all that meant. I like the repetition of the groups and having that insight into what it really means to me and how I can benefit from the education. I like the program’s location because I am close to the T and everything is easily accessible. I easily get doctor’s appointments, meetings, and work.

I am currently working full time and I want to start school next month. I’m a carpenter, a builder with 18 years of experience. I’ve already had my company once. Going back to school and getting a business management degree for construction will really push me and give me that motivation. I can build anything, I just need to learn how to manage the books and work with people to get things done. I would have never done that if I hadn’t come to Victory House. They’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime. If I just stay sober, follow the program and do those things I haven’t done before and ask for help. With all those life skills, running the business, it’s where I need to be. It’s not going to be easy, I mean, life itself isn’t easy. Being able to come to staff, if I have any issues with my family, they are always there for me. The road to recovery is my own personal journey and who I want to be in life.

I can come to the staff at Victory House for anything. Being able to talk to staff helps me cope with things. They give me advice. They point me in the right direction. They definitely help out a lot especially with the counseling and medication management. They were able to simplify things and help me not worry so much. They’ve helped me find the right balance with doctors and physical therapy to manage chronic pain. They are always there to give me a hand. Sometimes there are things I don’t see, and being able to ask for help really helps because some days it’s just rough. Staff really help keep me motivated.

I want people who are early in recovery, or thinking about recovery to think about giving themselves a chance. Do you want to die or do you want to give yourself a chance to live. There have been times in my life where I didn’t want to give myself a chance. Having known what that feels like, I want to share hope with people. It’s just such a good feeling. Even if it’s just that one person in group, or that one person in detox that has that light bulb pop off in their head and wants to give themselves a chance that’s a beautiful thing cause you can see it on the inside.

I can stay committed to my recovery because of the positive people around me. I’m the type that, if you aren’t going to help an addict, don’t hurt one. And to everyone working on recovery, never give up. Be the best version of yourself you can be. Don’t dwell on the past but don’t forget it either. If we never knew how hard life can be sometimes would we ever really know how great life is?

This blog post was based on an interview with Tommy, a client at Victory House, our first residential recovery program, and was transcribed and edited by Victory Programs’ staff with feedback from Tommy.

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