A Story of Hope and Transformation
My name is Tanner R. and I am twenty-three years old and have been a resident at the last house for just under eleven months. I am currently employed as an office manager at a dui education program. The job entails me maintaining and a running the front office, taking payments and auditing files. I am a full time employee with health and dental benefits and have earned the trust and respect of my fellow employees. I say all this not to brag or boast about my life, simply to help you get an understanding of what my life looks like today. In the story I am about to tell you will see how this is completely different to how I used to live. I owe a great deal of this to The Last House. All that I have learned about life, my self, and the program of alcoholics anonyms has been gained in my residency there.
There is not really a perfect way to explain what makes me the addict that I am but there is a set of beliefs that I gained as a child and thru my teen years. I believe that all the events and the way that I perceived them were the perfect brewery for my alcoholism. No pun intended.
Just before I entered The Last House I was living in San Diego in my car. I was a daily heroin user and saw no end to my addiction. I had nowhere to go no family left to turn to for a warm or help. I lied and stole at every opportunity I had. I was a grown man with no principles no moral code and no hope. Don’t get me wrong I had plenty of fun times in the beginning but those times had long since passed. My addiction had me in its grips. One day after heavy use I got an invitation from my brother to go live with him in his R.V. and work for him at his company. I had thought that this would change things for me moving away from the city I used to love that I thought was the problem. Later I found out what this was. In the program we refer to it as “geographical”. Things continued from there not getting any better. I continued lying and stealing from my brother a man who held his hand out to me. One day while on the job I used heroin and left a rig and a cooker behind for his co-owner to find, this was the beginning of my journey into recovery. The jig was up, word had gotten back to my brother. When I got home that night he laid into me and told me that I had to make a decision. I could A. leave his motor home and continue down this path, or B. I could get honest with and ask for the help that everyone but I knew I needed. That night I made the best decision of my life to seek help.
My journey in recovery started at a sober living called Genesis House. The place was fantastic for the first time in a long time I had a bed to call my own and a shower to use. I firmly believe that it was exactly what I needed at that time but the financial burden it placed on my dad made it clear that thirty days was as long as I could stay there. I believe this to be a very important part of my recovery where yet again I was faced with a decision go back to San Diego where I was almost certain to fall right back into my old habits or find a place within the price range given and go there. This marked the first time I had made a choice based on my own feelings and not what others saw fit for me. After two days and multiple phone calls the therapist at my I.O.P. recommended a place to me, it just so happened to be The Last House. Armed with a number and the determination to stay sober I made the call the next day Clayton picked me up and I toured the houses.
What happened next is what I have come to see as my higher power working in my life. I was on the tour of the houses and Clayton and me began talking about our families. He had asked me where my family was from so I gave him the rundown about my mom and her roots but when I got to my dad and the mention of Jacumba came up he stated that his family used to own a ranch in that town. This may not seem to weird to some people but if you knew anything at all about Jacumba you would understand how strange it was. I proceeded to call my dad and ask if he knew the Ketchums and much to my surprise my dad named off all of Claytons aunts and uncles and that he knew his grandparents. At this point my decision had been made for me. I needed no more reason than that to pick The Last House. That day was the day that I began to firmly believe that something greater than my self was working in my life and marked my stay at The Last House. Every time I have gone thru hardship in my recovery or felt like giving up I have remember that moment and that this is where I was meant to be.
My stay in the last house has been no cakewalk. When I first arrived at the last house I was a manipulator, a liar, and borderline insane. Over my stay I have put my self thru the ringer all the while building a foundation that I believe will help for the rest of my life. This whole concept was foreign to me a place where we wrote essays for leaving out cups, had groups where people got give feedback to other residents and share there perspectives on what was going on I had seen nothing like it in my life. As I settled in these things became like second nature to me though. I began learning that all the rules had purpose, we residents hold each other accountable and that’s what makes this place work. I remember the first time I was receiving feedback and the amount of anger I felt. I remember thinking that all that was being said to me was because they didn’t like me in hindsight I see that they were just sharing there experience and trying to help me grow and learn. Things got easier I was on restriction had free time to relax if only I knew how and had time to get started on my steps. My housemates on official would take me to meetings with them to the store and out to have fun. They showed me a new way of life and that being sober is not only okay but it is fun.
The time came when I had to get a job and start being self-sufficient. I had just got off restriction and began working my life had gotten bigger. This was a time in the last house that I see to be the most important. I was in the midst of learning how to balance my responsibilities something I had never done before. I was so angry at everything during this period getting essay after essay in turn getting angrier and angrier. Thank god for my brothers around me they cared enough about me to call me out when I was feeling sorry for my self or lying to my self saying I couldn’t do it. This time in my sobriety was one of the hardest times I have gone thru in the past 11 months. I truly believe that without this house and the people in it I wouldn’t be the man I am today. I had people show up for me and care about me. Thru the support of my friends in the house I was able to make it thru this. I was able to see how childish my behavior was. I was learning to become a man by having a mirror held up to my self so that I could change who I was. This house has taught me how to show up for people. Today, I am gainfully employed at Thrive Treatment.
For that I will be eternally grateful.
written by senior resident Tanner R.