Joe S' Sober Living Success Story - Real Recovery Solutions
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Joe's Sober Living Success Story

Joe's Sober Living Success Story

| joe s fishing

Sobriety Date: 12/08/2021
Age: 37
Drug(s) of Choice: Alcohol/Cocaine/Stimulants
Alumni Interview Date: 11/13/2022

Life is better now than I ever thought it would be. I didn’t think it would be so fun being sober but some of the best memories I have were made during the first year of recovery.

– Joe S.

Personal Background

I grew up in Michigan and had a decent childhood, however, I come from a family of alcoholics and addicts. Some of my earliest memories involve my mom passing out all over the house and visits from the police. I frequently attended court hearings for my sisters and visited them in treatment centers. I was always surrounded by people who were using, and it just seemed like a normal part of life. I moved to Florida when I was 13 and soon developed addictions of my own.

Recovery Background

I would experiment with drugs and alcohol throughout childhood but didn’t start using them regularly until I was 14. I got good grades and played football but decided that using marijuana and drinking was more important. I dropped out of school after getting my girlfriend pregnant and worked multiple jobs to support my family. When my daughter was 4 months old, she passed away unexpectedly, and my addiction started to escalate. I began using hard drugs and drinking every day to cope with her loss.

I managed to attend college, but my addiction grew worse, and I got arrested while under the influence. Shortly after, I got accepted into nursing school and started the first 8 months of the program on probation which required regular drug testing. Throughout this time, my drinking progressed, and I lost many relationships along the way. After graduation, I moved to Tampa for a work opportunity, but my drug and alcohol usage reached an all-time high. I could never stop obsessing about the thought of using.

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

I always heard of 12-step programs but never thought I needed them. A therapist suggested that I go to a treatment facility, but I was in complete denial. Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that my life was unmanageable and decided to check myself in. The treatment center I was in taught me the importance of getting a sponsor and working the steps. It was also suggested that I go into sober living, and Real Recovery was recommended. I knew it was important to start the 12 steps and grow in my program, so I entered sober living; it turned out to be one of the best choices I ever made.

Joe's Journey at Real Recovery

How was your experience at Real Recovery?

I felt at home while I was in Real Recovery. It proved to be exactly what I needed to build a good
foundation. Accountability was important because it taught me how to stay disciplined with my recovery. The guys at the house were great and many of them are still my friends today. I always had people around me to who I could vent when I was having a bad day or when cravings started to creep up.

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

I took the house meeting very seriously and followed up with my commitments. The program
administrator took an active interest in the progress I was making with each step and pushed me to do more each week. They encouraged me to get a sponsee after completing the steps and helped me find ways to get the most out of my recovery.

What was the hardest or most challenging step for you?

Step nine was extremely difficult for me. I had to drop my ego and let people know that my actions weren’t right. The people I harmed were able to give me the feedback I properly deserved. Some of them never even knew I harmed them until I admitted to them what I did. Not all of them went well but it was a great reminder that I hurt a lot of people during my addiction. Today I realize it’s much easier to make amends on the spot instead of running away and lettings things get worse.

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

Step 5 was certainly a spiritual experience for me because it allowed me to gain insight into another person’s point of view. I started to grasp the program after that because it helped me see what my place was in all the issues I’ve created. It’s beautiful how I could put all my fears and resentments down and paper and read it to my sponsor without any judgment.

After Real Recovery & Life In Sobriety Today

How’s life now?

Life is better now than I ever thought it would be. I didn’t think it would be so fun being sober but some of the best memories I have were made during the first year of recovery. I got employee of the month at work and moved into an apartment with someone else in the program. I’m more financially and mentally stable than I’ve ever been.

joe s headshot

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

It’s certainly a personal decision but if your recovery then you should be willing to go to any
lengths needed to stay sober and sober living will only give you a better shot. Go into it with an open mind and make the best out of each day because it’s such a great life to live if you just stick with it. And to keep holding yourself accountable by doing the things that are keeping you sober.

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

Prayer and meditation are a big part of my routine because I can talk to my daughter every day through god. My life is scheduled around recovery, and I do things that allow me to be of service. My weeks don’t always look the same, but I have a certain number of meetings I commit to each week and I’m thankful to Real Recovery for helping me build that routine. I enjoy going to meetings and seeing people who have watched me grow through my journey. I stay connected with other guys in the program and try my hardest to reach out to newcomers and answer calls because that’s what others did for me when I was new. It’s important to give back what was given to me because I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for the program and Real Recovery.

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