Michael has been sober for three years – and two of those years have been while living at Hope Home, DLC’s recovery residence for men.
During most of his time at Hope Home, Michael has served as the Senior Resident. His path to where he is today has taught him the importance of having a sober living environment with accountability in his recovery and ability to maintain sobriety.
Michael’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol began when he was just 13 years old. His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother’s family allowed him to drink. His father, with whom he is extremely close, has been in recovery for 35 years. He warned Michael at a young age that his genetics were stacked against him and that drinking, once started, could become a problem. However, Michael had to learn that lesson on his own…the hard way.
Michael’s dependence on alcohol was a slow and long progression. He joined the military in his mid-20s. Drinking was commonplace, and his dependence worsened during his years of service. College life after the military only further contributed to his alcohol use disorder. He began to feel powerless over alcohol and entered a year-long treatment program.
Michael was able to maintain sobriety for years while living with his father, but then his father got sick and almost died. The fear of losing him was too much to bear and Michael relapsed–hard. His behavior became reckless, and he was “in deep, but couldn’t stop.”
Michael didn’t want his drinking to affect his father’s health. He knew he needed help and a fresh start, so he moved to Naples and entered the St. Matthew’s House Justin’s Place program, where he spent a year in treatment. He then spent another year in their transitional housing program, Wolfe Apartments, a drug- and alcohol-free structured community. He interned in the Recovery Team for Wolfe Apartments and eventually got a good job.
Since everything seemed to be going well, Michael started to move away from the supports that had helped him maintain sobriety. After some time on his own, he relapsed—but this time, it was only for a few weeks.
Then, Michael was involved in a horrific car accident that nearly left him dead. Thankful for the second chance he had be given, he went straight from the hospital to DLC and asked for help. He entered the Crossroads residential recovery program and was reconnected with the recovery community. He got a sponsor and moved into a “not so” sober living residence that wasn’t certified and poorly run. People were “relapsing left and right,” and he knew he needed a new option.
Around that same time, DLC had opened Hope Home due to the lack of certified recovery homes in Collier County. Hope Home is one of only five organizations operating Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) certified homes in Collier County. FARR-certified homes provide accountability, a structured and healthy environment, skill-building, goal-setting, and peer support. When Michael called and asked whether there was space, a spot had just opened, and he moved in.
Hope Home is located just one mile away from the DLC Main Campus, which offers 24-hour crisis care and access to the recovery support services available at the Crossroads program. Michael says he has remained sober largely in part to the accountability and availability to access those supports. Hope Home offers on-call peer support specialists with sustained recovery who host weekly meetings in the house.
“Hope Home reinforces the healthy habits we learned in treatment,” says Michael. “It is a real-life extension that helps streamline the transition to everyday life. It offers an ability to live life on life’s terms. It gives you a better chance to maintain sobriety.”
Michael says that now, life is excellent. “I’ve stayed here this long, for two years, because I have guidance and support right down the street. I can call anytime and that has been a huge help.”
As the senior resident, Michael now shares his life experiences with other residents. Recovery is a journey with peaks and valleys and for him, and Hope Home sits in a valley surrounded by a safe, caring, and supportive community.