Dignity, Honor, Respect
I began drinking and experimenting with drugs at 14 years old. Drinking alcohol was a normal part of life in my working-class neighborhood. I would even say it was a rite of passage for a teenager in the 1970’s. I never felt like I fit in, even in my own family. I was depressed often but not diagnosed until years later. With certainty, I did know that getting drunk and high made me feel carefree and allowed me to escape reality. This pattern of escape continued for the next 35 years.
As I grew older, my disease of addiction progressed rapidly. The consequences were many: loss of my marriage and being a full-time dad, loss of respect of family and friends, loss of good jobs and almost loss of life. I lied, cheated, and stole to support my addictions. An arrest for drug possession resulted in another job loss, eviction from my apartment and a 2-year felony probation. Even though my drinking and drugging were the cause of all these consequences, the pain, anguish and guilt were so unbearable that I drank and used even more to escape these feelings. I was trapped in a downward spiral of addiction. Loneliness and depression haunted me.
It is always darkest before the light. On April 2, 2014, I walked through the doors of Bridge House a broken man. I was homeless, jobless, lonely and depressed.
Bridge House provided me with a safe place to begin my journey in recovery. The concepts of the Bridge House / Grace House program provided me with structure, organization, discipline and unselfishness. Every day we started out with a prayer and meditation. I met with my counselor weekly to make sure I was adhering to the goals of my treatment plan. I started to participate and open up in group therapy. I attended twelve-step meetings three to six times a week where I was able to ask a sponsor to guide me through the twelve steps. I was very willing to follow the Bridge House process because I remembered the day I walked in and how bad I felt. I completed the program in seven months, and I continue to live by the values learned at Bridge House and practice the principles of the 12-steps, one day at a time.
My gratitude to Bridge House runs deep. Bridge House believed in me until I could believe in myself. My relationships with my three sons have been repaired. My three sons, their wives and my three grandchildren are the joy of my life. Through Bridge House, I discovered Alcoholics Anonymous and through Alcoholics Anonymous, I found my higher power, who I call the father the son and the holy spirit.
The Bridge House / Grace House mission statement came true for me: helping people rebuild their lives with dignity, honor, and respect.