I Got My Life Back

Sometime life hits you really hard. And sometimes, all at once.

For me, it was debilitating neck and back pain, followed by major surgery, and then adjusting to life in a new town after a relocation. I tried to cope with it all by drinking, a problem which eventually broke up my marriage to my best friend, the person I loved most.

My doctor told me to get a desk job and take it easy physically, but I ignored his advice and worked in construction to make ends meet. Working at a job on Marco Island one day, my stomach ruptured due to the alcohol use, and I was rushed in for emergency surgery. At this point, I could not work or pay rent. I continued self-medicating and became suicidal.

My life had become unmanageable, and the alcohol had control over me. I most certainly did not love myself and felt less than a man. Left to my own devices, I am sure I would have died.

But one day while sitting on the curb, at my lowest point, I suddenly felt the urge to seek help. I think it was a nudge from the divine. So I called 911 and was brought to David Lawrence Centers . They helped me explore my options, and I went to St. Matthew’s House—a faith-based shelter for people like me who are in need of recovery, meals, and a place to live.

After a while, though, I started drinking again. I was in and out of DLC and St. Matthew’s House, getting better, then relapsing, and so on in a vicious cycle. Once, I had worked my way up to dorm captain at St. Matthew’s, but I started drinking again, flunked a breathalyzer, and was back out on the streets, feeling hopeless and helpless. Again.

Getting my purpose back

I returned to DLC and was admitted to the Crisis Unit, where I was linked with Care Coordination Services and assigned a case manager.

Care Coordination is a state-funded program that provides continuing services and support that empowers DLC clients to successfully transition from various levels of care to effective community-based care. My case manager and I discussed treatment options, and I went through the Crossroads Substance Abuse inpatient program.

In the end, thanks to the help of DLC and Care Coordination, I was able to find a place to live, a job, a strong support and accountability network, and a community of people like me who are committed to recovery.

The program and people at DLC helped to temporarily eliminate many of the stressors that often lead to relapse. As a result, I have discovered the confidence and fortitude to become the man I was meant to be. DLC has given back my self-respect and a purpose.

I now have a job in environmental services that I love. I take great pride in my work, and I have recently purchased a vehicle.

I’ve been nine months sober now, and I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me that a year ago. I thank God every day for the support the David Lawrence Centers has provided and am so grateful for the organization and the Care Coordination program.

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