Something Had To Change

My name is Joran Smith and my clean date is September 11, 2002. I entered Bridge House / Grace House and recovery on September 13, 2002. The reason I give these dates is because of the choices and decisions in between. On September 11, I walked into Bridge House / Grace House only to be told there were no beds available. This was my 1st choice and decision. Do I go back to where I came from and back to the life I just left or do I find somewhere else to go and come back tomorrow? I decided to come back the next day. So, I hid my belongings around the corner and I walked. When I came back on the morning of September 12, I was told no beds were available but I was on the waiting list. Again, do I go back where I came from or find somewhere else to go? I repeated what I did the day before. I returned on September 13 and was told there were no beds available. As I turned to leave, the person working said, “wait,” and made a phone call. I could hear him say, “if he leaves, I don’t think he will make it back.” This is where I can see the God of my understanding doing for me what I could not do for myself. I am so grateful to that Bridge House employee who fought for me. I will never know what would have happened if I wasn’t given a bed that day, but thank God I was given a chance at Bridge House / Grace House.

Life with drugs and alcohol started early on for me. I had my first drink of alcohol at the age of four. I had my first experience with marijuana at the age of seven. Actually, my first taste of alcohol was at 6 weeks old when my father allowed me to suck vodka off his fingers so that I would sleep while my mother went for her six week check up. My brother was only ten months younger than me and my father left us before he was born.

From the ages of seven – fourteen, drugs and alcohol were recreational. Something we just did now and then. At 14, it became an everyday thing after my mother would not sign the papers for me to play football. I was a functional alcoholic/drug user for many years. I eventually married and had children. Over the years, my disease progressed and got worse. I started having trouble keeping a job. I was also in and out of jail. My life was a mess.

One morning, after a 3 day bender, I was on the corner waiting for my wife to take the kids to school so that I could sneak in the house. That was my moment of clarity. I knew something had to change. I went home, packed my clothes and headed to Bridge House.

In Bridge House, I became willing to allow them to help me help myself. They did this by introducing me to the twelve steps, group therapy, work therapy, denial management, and relapse prevention. I learned about the disease of addiction and started to learn who I was. The hardest part was accepting who I was. That’s where working the twelve steps and participating in the process of recovery has made a major change in my life.

Since leaving Bridge House, my life is worlds different from what it used to be. I’ve been able to raise four kids AND be a great example to them. I worked the same job for 17 years! I now work for Bridge House / Grace House and am able to share my experience, strength, and hope with the current residents. Thank you for supporting Bridge House / Grace House.

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