After years of severe substance abuse and time spent in residential treatment for addiction, I arrived in Escanaba and waited for the taxi that I had arranged. I arrived at Alpha Omega at two thirty in the morning with a duffle bag, a pillow and sixteen dollars to my name. Shed of material possessions and worldly status, my journey had already started.
I knew my first crucial task was to find meetings and become involved with other alcoholics and addicts. I needed help staying sober and I knew that isolation would immediately send me down a path I suffered for many years. I began attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings on a daily basis. Many days I would attend two a day, one in the morning and one at night. I went to the meetings early and stayed after they finished. I knew these people could and would help me, so I dealt with my social anxiety as best I could. I shared in meetings where I was from, what I experienced in my active addiction and what I wanted from recovery. Very quickly I began to feel welcome and with time I became comfortable with the recovery community in Escanaba. I continued individual and group relapse prevention counseling outside of twelve step meetings. My experiences in the first year through meetings, group and individual counseling sessions helped me work on the areas of mental health and spiritual wellbeing that were in dire condition. As I was so focused on improving myself, I hardly noticed that I began enjoying the company of other people. At some point, I began to care about people in recovery and even feel love for people I spent time around. The gratitude I felt on a daily basis for my new life was growing exponentially.
All of these experiences brought me ever closer to God. I knew He had been with me all along and must have spared me a lonely death for a purpose. Daily meditation and prayer brought me closer to God, and a sense of wonder that I should still be alive and able to give the help that I received from Him and other people in my life was a duty I would gladly accept if I was tasked with it. My will and my life were His now that I was living on borrowed time.
The foundation for beginning my new life has always been the Alpha Omega house. I wanted to be held accountable for my choices and be in an environment in which I could grow and learn about myself. Nothing in my journey in recovery would be possible without Alpha Omega and the additional time I’ve been given to stay at the house. In this house I have learned how to stand on my feet as a man of God. I have fought for my own life with the strength and guidance He gives me and I have learned compassion, love, forgiveness and duty to and for my friends, family and others in recovery. The opportunities that have presented themselves to me in this house are immense. To be sober, employed, chairing meetings, doing service work, helping others and enjoying the whole process is an absolute miracle. The Alpha Omega house was the answer to a prayer I didn’t even know how to put into words. Today, I am grateful to have gratitude. The miracles of life that I see on a daily basis are infinite and it all began with a leap of faith.