“I didn’t know it is what I was seeking but I so needed it.”
After years of uncontrolled drinking and using, Andy was about to be homeless. His brother was moving and he could no longer crash there. He pawned everything he owned for alcohol and drugs. He’d lost his job, and couldn’t get himself together to look for another one.
He moved to New Orleans to live with his sister. With vodka bottles all over the place, he spent his time drinking in the spare room while pretending to look for work. “I was in a really dark place,” Andy said.
He went home one weekend to Lake Charles, wreaking havoc and burning bridges. Recovering on the couch, his Dad hit
him with tough love. “What are you doing with your life, Son?” For the first time ever, Andy was honest. He admitted he had a problem with drugs and alcohol.
Thankfully, his sister knew of Bridge House. “I called on a Friday and by some miracle, there was no waiting list. I entered Bridge House that Monday,” Andy recalls.
Like so many who struggle with addiction, Andy truly felt ready to quit. However, he left treatment early and
immediately drank. Luckily, he made it back to Bridge House and with a new sense of humility, began the next part of his life on February 8, 2012.
“I learned so much at Bridge House. I heard the truth, which stung. My counselors told me things I didn’t want to hear. But, it made me think and grow.” His experience was difficult and trying but incredibly rewarding. “So many time I wanted to quit, because that is what I had always done when life was hard or didn’t go the way I wanted.” The longevity of the program helped him learn that if he focuses on one day at a time, then over a period of time things get better. The fellowship Andy found at Bridge House is what kept him from leaving treatment. “I hadn’t connected with anyone for so long; didn’t even know that is what I was seeking but I so needed it.”
While in Bridge House, Andy worked in the thrift store warehouse through the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling
Program. Mike Ferrara, Director of Thrift Store Operations, made a huge impact on Andy. “He trusted me; saw
something in me that I didn’t even see in myself.” He learned to take pride in himself and his work and was ultimately hired as Thrift Store Manager. “My employment at Bridge House taught me how to own and operate my own business.”
The focus on 12 Step Programs was truly what changed Andy’s life. “I always got the message to reach out to the new
guy in the house. It is cemented in my sobriety and my life and that was instilled in me at Bridge House.”
Sadly, Andy’s Father passed away in 2016, but he was able to witness the change in his son. “My Father was so grateful for Bridge House / Grace House. I think he was their #1 Fan.” Today, Andy is part of his family. His Mother is able to depend on him. He is a brother, a friend, and a contributing member of society.
Almost two years ago, Andy opened his own business, Bokah Bikes. He refurbishes, repairs and sells vintage, used and new bikes. “It’s a small bike shop that gives new life to old bikes.” A lot like what YOU did for Andy.