Pat D's Sober Living Success Story - Real Recovery Solutions
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Pat's Sober Living Success Story

Pat's Sober Living Success Story

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Sobriety Date: 11/17/2020
Age: 29
Drug(s) of Choice: Heroin, Alcohol
Alumni Interview Date: 3/9/2022

I was beaten down and in a bad place. It was at that moment that I felt that I had truly surrendered to a higher power of my understanding and actually completed the third step. I let God lead the way from that point and that's how I ended up at Real Recovery.

– Pat D.

Recovery Background

My drug use first started when I was 11 years old and I was introduced to Marijuana by my older brother. However, it wasn’t until my first drunk at 13, that my addiction really gave me the feeling I was looking for. I felt for the first time that I was alright with who I was. As my sponsor says, alcohol wasn’t the problem, it was my solution. It gave me the ability to be someone that I wasn’t. I had the courage to speak up and not care what others thought of me for the first time in my life. From that moment I was hooked and off running.

My addiction brought me to situations I always said I would never get in. At 14, I was abusing ecstasy and cocaine before going and during school. At 16, I was drinking every morning because the physical dependency from the substances had started. By 18, I had started abusing heroin and using intravenously.

The progression never seemed to stop and life only kept getting worse. As my addiction ran my life, I seemed to have lost everything, I should have cared about, but my disease always told me I didn’t need those things or those people.

I’ve faced many consequences as my addiction progressed, as most of us do. Unlike a “normal” person, my behavior didn’t stop after getting my first minor in possession at 16. For me, nothing was ever enough to convince me to leave my addiction. Between two DUI’s, a felony drug charge, multiple totaled vehicles, 5 overdoses, being Marchman acted 4 times and being in the ICU on the verge of liver failure at 25, none of the above was enough for me to put down the drugs and alcohol. Not even the hurt I caused my friends and family could ever be enough to separate me from what I wanted. I was selfish.

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

The first honest try that I gave sobriety came after I had caused problems with my family on New Year’s. I knew that I was either going to be Marchman acted for the fifth time or I could agree to go to a treatment center voluntarily. It was the best decision I ever made, even though I originally went there just to appease my father before I went back to my old way of living. While I was there, I was introduced to AA and decided to give it an honest shot. After rehab, I got some time under my belt and half-way committed to working the steps. After 7 months sober, I received some bad news about my mother and gave back into my addiction. Although it was a brief relapse, it was enough to remind me just how bad things could get. I ended up back in treatment for an additional 30 days and that was where the change truly happened for me. I was beaten down and in a bad place. It was at that moment that I felt that I had truly surrendered to a higher power of my understanding and actually completed the third step. I let God lead the way from that point and that’s how I ended up at Real Recovery.

Pat's Journey at Real Recovery

How was your experience at Real Recovery?

Real Recovery has been nothing but a blessing in my life. Jon, the resident managers and all of the residents made me feel like I belonged and provided me a safe environment while I worked on myself. Between the level of accountability along with the recovery mindset I was surrounded by, I was able to progress and work the steps in a couple of months. From there, I was asked to be a house manager which gave me the opportunity to grow in so many more ways than I ever could have imagined. I learned to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and that I would have to do what’s difficult today in order to have an easier life tomorrow.

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

This was my first attempt at a sober living facility and I was so lucky to have found Real Recovery in St. Pete. My life changed when I became involved in the program of AA, I full heartedly worked the steps and surrendered to a higher power of my understanding.

What was the hardest or most challenging step for you?

Step 3 was the hardest step for me only because I had trouble accepting that a higher power allowed all the bad things in my life to happen. But once I came to believe, my life changed drastically and quickly as well. I can look back at my life now and be nothing but grateful for everything that happened. Not only did they bring me to the life I have today, they also shaped my experiences so that I can better help those around me.

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

Step 5 was a huge turning point in my recovery as well. By sharing my fourth step with my sponsor, he was able to show me how all of my resentments and insecurities led back to a few common fears I had but never admitted. I could see how my fear had shaped my life the way it had and why I was always trying to escape with alcohol and drugs.

After Real Recovery & Life In Sobriety Today

How’s life now?

Life is better than I ever could have imagined when I first came to Florida two years ago. I am no longer lost and without hope for the future. My life looks bright and as long as I keep my higher power and sobriety first, I know that the promises will keep coming true for me.

From not being able to hold a job, I am now a foreman at a marine construction company and also work at a treatment center part time.

I am no longer isolated like I was for so many years. The fellowship of AA along with the people I have met at Real Recovery have given me a support network I never could have imagined.

All of the material things and relationships I had severed in the past have come back and are stronger than ever.

Life is good today and I owe it all to my higher power, AA, Jon and Real Recovery.

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

Give recovery your all. Find a sponsor, work the steps and don’t shy away from spirituality. It’s the answer.

Don’t be afraid. Your higher power wouldn’t have taken you this far to shut you down now.

Learn from and appreciate the past. Use it to help those you encounter on a day to day basis.

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

●     Pray after waking up.

●     Read a few daily reflections based on AA and spirituality.

●     Talk with my sponsor.

●     Attend a meeting.

●     Help others.

●     Daily inventory of the things I did right today and the things I could work on.

●     Pray before bed.

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