Collin B's Sober Living Success Story - Real Recovery
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Collin's Sober Living Success Story

Collin's Sober Living Success Story

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Sobriety Date: 3/30/2020
Age: 33
Drug(s) of Choice: Alcohol/Crack/Opioids/Xanax/Heroin
Alumni Interview Date: 11/13/2022

Using always started with Alcohol and ended with Alcohol, with pretty much all the stuff in between. However, pain pills were what started the cycle of ways and means to get more.

– Collin B.

Personal Background

Grew up in a coastal town in Maine. I’m the youngest son of three boys to a loving
mother and father who are both still alive and married. Pretty normal childhood for the
most part. My two older brothers were significantly older than I was, one by nine years
and the other by 6years, so I was a total “whoops” child. Because of that I grew up faster
and saw more stuff at a younger age than I think a lot of kids do. Not to mention my
parents just didn’t have the energy to parent as hard as they did for the first two kids,
so I never really learned the word “No” and just gave me what I wanted so I’d chill out.
I liked to do a lot of active stuff, at an early age I started skateboarding,
snowboarding, jumping off shit whatever made me look cool basically. I idolized the
pros and the older kids in skateparks and who was good and they were smoking weed
and drinking. I played all the sports until about 9th grade and figured the team thing just
wasn’t my gig.
I started working as a dishwasher when I was fourteen and that restaurant
lifestyle had from the start man. I was by far the youngest person working there got
to hang out with older people, feel cool, and had some financial freedom at a young
age. I bought weed and skateboards, pretty simple…… then beer……….then
By my senior year of high school, I was a line Cook in a fast-paced steak and seafood
joint and didn’t know what to do the next year. My grades were not good cause I
was skipping so much school to get baked, skate, and work that my options were kind of
slim. I’m lucky I have some smart parents….. figured if I was going to cook, I had to be
good at it and get a degree. So I went to culinary school, graduated, and moved out
Got to travel the country, working at luxury hotels and restaurants and that’s
really when the party truly began……

Recovery Background

My addiction was always there, I was always up to no good and doing bad shit.
After high school though, I had “cleaned” it up a little and was able to have a
manageable life for some time.
Using always started with Alcohol and ended with Alcohol, with pretty much
all the stuff in between. However, pain pills were what started the cycle of ways
and means to get more. It started pretty small with prescriptions for Vicodin and
Percocet and pretty quickly it progressed to buying Oxy, Dilaudid, opanas, and
morphine off the street. Once all that got too expensive/ hard to get…. Heroin was
everywhere out west so because of the replacement.

Everything just went downhill so fast once the IV use started. I was the
executive sous Chef at a Forbes five-star hotel and got fired, months after that got
evicted, and the car was repossessed. After all that stuff my family started putting the pieces together. I was introduced to NA and was attending meetings daily, but I didn’t have a
drinking problem…only a heroin problem. As we know that warped thinking doesn’t
work, always led back to opiates or blow and within no time I was in treatment. It was a thirty-day, thirty-thousand-dollar program. Got out, once again….. I only had a heroin
problem…..not a drinking problem. Long story short everything happened all over
again… except this time there was no fancy-ass rehab to go along with it. The people
around me were getting tired of throwing money and energy at the problem. I had
tried the whole methadone program for a little while but was still shooting up as
extracurricular and drinking… whatever.
I’m the kind of addict who has to learn the hard way and go to the
bottom-of-the-barrel man. I had run away to SE Asia, thinking that all my issues would be left behind, but they followed me and holy shit did things get sooooo much more
gnarly…. The booze, the meth, the prostitution, and just despicable things that I did
over there had me at what I thought was the lowest. Got locked up over there and
eventually kicked out of Thailand, and was back in the States…. Florida to be exact, and that’s when the crack use started and took me to my absolute bottom. After a year of smoking a stem I was 120lbs, about to be toothless and homeless, I looked like a friggin concentration camp survivor. Things had gotten so bad and the hole kept getting dug deeper. Must have been god doing what I couldn’t do for myself….. and I got the shit beat out of me in the hood and put me in some a physical mess that it must have been some kind of awakening. On March 30th, 2020 I took my last warm sip of steel reserve and that was the last time I used.

How were you introduced to the 12-step program and recovery?

I’d moved back into my parents house and one of the conditions was to get some
sort of help and I didn’t have any money or car anything really at all and they were definitely
not about to give me any. Basically I needed something free and available and at the time It
was narcotics anonymous. Online meetings were really what was available when I got clean
due to COVID so every night I was on the 9:30pm “no Pants meeting”. I had been clean 2
weeks and got a job as a butcher, saved some money, bought a car.
I knew I needed to do something different, I couldn’t trust myself to function
responsibility and be held accountable. That was when I called Mark at RR, I was 90 days
clean and moved in. Truly the best decision that I have ever made.

Collin's Journey at Real Recovery

How was your experience at Real Recovery?

I wouldn’t be who I am today without RR. It gave me the stability, time, and structure I
needed to grow the F up. Also, it gave me a sense of community. Once I realized I could
have friends who were clean and sober and we could do stuff and have fun without
getting effed up it was such a game changer.
RR gave me a kick in the ass I needed to get a sponsor, work the steps, get a
homegroup, do service and be part of and take responsibility for my life man. That weekly
meeting list sheet man is really what kept me on the straight and narrow for a while, I mean
that. For me, that sheet was so important.
The people in my network today are the people I connected with during the time I
lived at RR and it miraculously changed my life and perspective.

Was there anything that you did while you were in sober living that you think made a difference this time?

I got a routine, built some structure. For me a big thing was exercise, I got a gym
membership and that was something that really filled up my free time and pushed me to
take care of myself.
I had been that about 6 months and was asked to be a house manager. I think that
was a huge part of my early recovery and being held accountable and responsible. It gave
me a little confidence also, that someone believed in me to do the right things and make
good decisions, total sense of pride that I hadn’t had in awhile.

What was the hardest or most challenging step for you?

For me, the 9th step was the most difficult. Getting the courage and guts up to
make face-to-face amends to some people I did some nasty shit to was powerful
and scary. To tell the truth, not everyone on that list was willing to forgive me, and making peace with that is also challenging, but also humbling.

Was there a step or a point where you felt that things shifted or that you got the most relief from?

I would again have to say the ninth step. After I had made amends and cleaned up some of
the wreckage I had cause I felt like I was finally able to move on and didn’t have to carry
that stuff around with me anymore. I could finally make some room inside to put some good stuff.

After Real Recovery & Life In Sobriety Today

How’s life now?

These days my life is manageable, and the gifts of recovery keep on giving. The
opportunities that have been presented to me as a result of staying clean and doing the
work is tremendous. Jobs, relationships, friendships, travel, spiritual well-being, mental
health, physical health I mean all these things are a result of working the 12 step

Maine Golfing Collin

What three things/tips would you tell your past self or share with someone considering sober living/recovery?

  1. Don’t take yourself to seriously and give yourself a break 

  2. Make some friends and find your people in recovery that are active and moving
    upward and don’t hang out with or be around people who drink or use.

  3. Get involved with service, and stay in the center of the recovery, not on the edge. People on the edge, fall off.

Do you have a daily routine that helps you stay sober?

Yep, I read the just for today each morning followed by some prayer, doesn’t work for
everyone, but it works for me. I do the basics man, Make my bed every day, no excuses. Eat breakfast. Brush my teeth. Work out. Go to work on time. Go to a meeting or something service-related daily. Go to bed early and sleep well. And just try to be the best version of myself I can be on a daily.

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