Time For Change-
My story begins in Des Moines, IA. Just before freshman year in high school, I got high for the first time. Over the course of the next few years, it became something I did everyday. I began procrastinating on homework and started using during lunch break and even at school. I barely got my diploma and continued doing what I thought was normal for a teenager. I was struggling to attend classes in my first semester of college. I began using and drinking more heavily, which sequentially put me in handcuffs for the second time while back home for Thanksgiving break. I ended up dropping out before even completing the semester and put school on the back burner. I slowly started changing whom I surrounded myself with and began to see less of my family. I had a newfound priority, which surpassed all other relationships and ambitions I had.
For the next several years, I continued down this path of destruction. I started using harder drugs, which led to more arrests and eventually homelessness with no one to turn to. Drugs and alcohol had been the answer to all my problems for the last 5-10 years. I had gotten to a point in my life where I was so comfortable being an alcoholic, that I had accepted the notion of staying consumed by this appalling disease until I died. I lost sight of how much I was hurting not only myself but also those around me. I was working at a dead end job and living paycheck to paycheck, only to become broke the day I got paid. I had lost friends over time because they could no longer see me continue to ruin my life. Dishonesty, disrespect and manipulation were all apart of my day-to-day life. None of these consequences of my actions caused me to stop.
I was given an opportunity to go to California and try to get sober yet again. I didn’t know anything about The Last House but I am thankful today that I had just enough clarity to give it a shot. I came to The Last House on September 14, 2015. I was not a very social person. I had drank and used drugs in the past to boost my confidence and be able to interact with others. After being in the house for several months, I started feeling like something was working. This sober living was different than the last one I was in; there was a sense of community. I had been in a sober living 5 years ago in which I lied and manipulated my way into making it seem as though I was working a program, which inevitably put me right back where I was before. This time was divergent. I utilized willingness and surrendered to the program of hope being offered in the house. I bonded with the other people in the house and felt like I belonged. Throughout my stay, I not only met people who I now call friends today, but I also was able to amend relationships with family and friends that I had harmed in the past.
Today I am grateful for my life and wake up with a sense of ease and serenity. The house has given me people who I can reach out to at any point who will support me no matter what. I get the chance to be apart of my family once again and they no longer live in fear about whether or not I will die. But most importantly, I am able to love myself and have been blessed with freedom. No longer am I tied down by the disease of addiction. The structure and comradery that The Last House provided me was something necessary to my well-being. I needed to be given direction rather than suggestion. I am able to have fun without getting loaded. I regained my love and passion for sports, which I had omitted for years. Graduating The Last House was like getting a degree in sobriety. It is merely the inception of this new life I have found. It was the beginning and end of a crucial chapter in my life, which I can look back on and be appreciative for it for the rest of my life.
I am now a program manager at one of the houses and get to help people walk along this journey in the same shoes that I once did. I am able to continually see how this program impacts lives in such a profound way.