My Last Best Choice
We hunger for stories of meaning, of relationship, of relating, of connection, and of people having the courage to feel their fear and "do it" anyway. We need one another’s stories. They help us grow and they help us soften. As Arthur Frank writes in The Wounded Storyteller, “To tell one’s own story, a person needs others’ stories.”
Here is mine...
My name is Jake and I am a person in long-term recovery, which for me means I have not used alcohol or other drugs for over five years. My story is my gift to you. And yet, this is only one part of my story, but still, it certainly has the power to influence the rest. Stories affect our well-being, our relationships, our present and our future. Every ordeal we have suffered holds a silver lining. Each hardship that has stripped us of something also gives us something. Sometimes the gifts are slow to show themselves; as they say, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
It is only after we have been with our experiences, and harvested the lessons, that we can take note of what was remarkable, perhaps even enduring and valuable. Treatment did not have any value when I first walked through the doors of Fresh Start. I was defeated. But I did it anyway; It was my last, best choice. What came from my “defeat” was the gift of surrender. Surrender to the brokenness of my life, my relationships and my empty career. Surrender to my spiritual bankruptcy. Surrender to my choices despite the negative consequences they caused both me and my family.
Thankfully, I have learned that surrender is not defeat. It is rebirth. These last five years I have sat in the fire, walked through the fire, felt burned alive but never was I alone. The residents, the staff at Fresh Start, the brotherhood of alumni, my sponsor, other men whose stories mirrored mine, we ALL found solace in the sharing of our stories. Their sharing and my sharing liberated us from the shackles of shame. RECOVERY IS THE SILVER LINING OF ADDICTION.....and Ironically, It never happens by default. It happens by looking back at where we came from and mining the path for meaning?
I am well today because your support gave me the opportunity to enter into treatment, even though I could not afford it myself. I am well today because people like you donated to the Fresh Start program that became my program. Your support will continue to give others the opportunity to enter into treatment in a program that’s been changing lives like mine for 25 years. A program that when I needed it….. it was there. So really, my story is better because of you. My children’s lives are better because of you. My story is now part of your story because you helped selflessly. You helped without any idea of whose life you were making better. Now you know that I am one of the "Who". Because of you, I am so much healthier in mind, body and spirit and my family and I thank you.
To give this holiday season click here.
Check out our video called "Fresh Start to a Silent Night" featuring Canadian Actor and Singer Tom Jackson - click here.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours.