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Recovery Stories

    1. Emily’s Story — Finding a Community and Healing a Family

      For the last 5 months before I made t to Healing Transitions I disconnected from my family and my first child, Brody. At the time he was 4 years old. I was couch surfing and in a very abusive relationship for part of those five months and then I ended up sleeping under bridges or in my car. I was drinking and using drugs every single day. I would get notes from my parents that they would leave on the windshield of my car asking for me to reach out to them to let them know if I was alive or not. For those last 5 months I was completely checked out of my life and was a zombie. I was depressed and later on through my recovery I have found that it was a spiritual depression with no direction or purpose in my life.

      I started on the road to Healing Transitions when the man I was in an abusive relationship with went to jail and I had the opportunity to escape that relationship. I ran for my life and my parents allowed me to move back home. I moved back in with them, but I was still in a pattern where I would disappear for days and then come back home. So, one night my mom took me aside to talk to me about getting help and this night in particular her words really sank in. I finally felt like I was done with struggling and I didn’t have to do this anymore. From that moment forward I surrendered and was willing to do whatever was asked of me to get help.

      On June 2nd, 2014 I started the program at Healing Transitions. The first year I spent at Healing Transitions was the best year of my life out of 28 years. The time I spent in the program finally gave me the time I needed to heal. It also gave my family time to heal. The program set me up for success in recovery by connecting me with a community of women that will never leave and will always be there for me. I have the opportunity today to give back to that community by coming back to Healing Transitions and helping other ladies that are in the same place that I used to be. I used to be the new girl in the shelter struggling and the women who came through the program before me showed me what it looks like to be a woman. They taught me to hold my head high, be respectful and walk with integrity. I saw these women who came before me finish the program and have freedom and not remain sick. They were able to stay sober through so many trials. Even when they missed their children and wanted to be with them.

      When I was coming through the program one of the most powerful things that happened was the reconnection with my family. The Child and Family Resource Specialist at Healing Transitions, Ms. Ann Hoo, helped my family to be at peace with me coming through the program and helped them to understand the process. She is a true advocate. She wasn’t just in my corner but she advocated for my family and knew what was best for all for us to heal together. Also, having the opportunity to have my child come and stay for weekends and visit with me during Christmas time was one of the moments I am most thankful for. I was not with him the previous year on Christmas and it was such a wonderful feeling to be able to be present and spend that time with him. When I came into the program I was concerned about missing opportunities to spend time with my son and my mom told me that I am giving up a year to be in the program but I am gaining the rest of my life with him and I won’t miss anything ever again — and I haven’t. I am able to be there for every moment with my family and my son.

      After finishing the program things are wonderful today. I have a great relationship with my parents now. They never gave up on me through all my struggles. I didn’t have a good relationship with them in the past because I was never present during the times we would spend together and now I can be there for them. They took care of my first son, Brody, for 6 years and when I had a year of sobriety I gave them custody of Brody with the understanding that once I showed them that I would not return to my old behaviors I would have the opportunity to regain custody. At the time it was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do but I trusted my parents and knew that it was the right step. I now have shared custody of Brody with my parents and have a wonderful relationship with him. I am able to be a mom and be there for him and we grow every day together. The relationship with Brody has been one of the most difficult to rebuild but it has been the most rewarding and I think that was one of the proudest moments for my mom — knowing that I was able to take care of her grandson again and be a mother.

      I also got married to the love of my life who is also in recovery. He started a business called Recovery Landscape that I now work for by managing the office. Through this business we are able to provide job opportunities to those is recovery. It’s not about cutting grass, landscaping or making ends meet as much as it is about giving opportunities and helping those in recovery. We have hired around 15–20 men that have been through the program at Healing Transitions. We believe in giving chances to those who would have difficulty finding a job and giving them second chances if they take an opportunity with us and fall down again. There were so many jobs that gave me a chance when I was finding recovery and we are so glad that we can give that opportunity to others today.

      Everything is not always easy, but things are so much better today. My family is growing! I have a newborn son, Wyatt, and I have a loving and supportive community of women that are there for me when times are tough.

      Healing Transitions gave me my life back.


    2. My F3 Experience at Healing Transitions

      F3 is a fitness group that meets at Healing Transitions every Friday. Many of the members of this group have volunteered their time and talents to Healing Transitions and we are so thankful for all that they do.

      The day after I was released from the hospital because of seizures from alcohol withdrawal, I was invited to work out with a group of men on a sweltering 95 degree, North Carolina afternoon at Healing Transitions. Though I had always been an active person I barely made it through that first “Arena” workout out as alcoholism and the lifestyle that accompanied it had taken a drastic toll on my body. Circling up at the end of workout, that was filled with pain and self-doubt but also encouragement and enthusiasm, we formed the Circle of Trust (COT), which symbolized an endless brotherhood through fellowship. The men began calling off their worldly names followed by their F3 nom de guerre — I was knighted “Frydaddy” and told the only requirement for memberships was to believe in something larger than myself. F3 stands for Faith, Fellowship and Fitness: its mission is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for the invigoration of male community leadership.

      I was instantly drawn to the camaraderie, leadership, and confidence of the men who participated in the Arena. Surprisingly reconnecting with an old friend from college who was at the workout, I reluctantly explained my situation and though I felt downtrodden about my current circumstances I sensed no judgement from him or anyone that day. The men treated me with the utmost respect and offered nothing but encouragement and the understanding that we all battle with our own personal demons. This normalcy of workouts followed me throughout my time at Healing Transitions and served as a positive connection to the outside world while I lived in an institution.

      As I progressed through the HT program I slowly began to see a complete change in my outlook upon life. Through investing in Healing Transitions I became a brand new person; a person I liked to see in the mirror.

      Over the next few months, I became much more involved with F3 going to workouts every Friday afternoon and Saturday morning; I even starting to lead, ”Q”, workouts at the HT and another local F3 workout, the Ambassador. This newfound investment allowed me to confidently encourage other Healing Transitions participants to get involved with the fellowship. The physically demanding F3 workouts helped my anxiety, blood pressure, and restlessness leaving me clear-minded and feeling better after each one. For years, I had just existed, facing life with an “I don’t care” attitude but F3 and the program at Healing Transitions changed that — these programs gave me purpose. I participated in the 9/11 Stair Climb at Carter Finley stadium and a GoRuck leadership experience with a group of F3 men: these interactions afforded me the opportunity to bond with my new brotherhood.

      I learned values from F3 COT’s like believing in something bigger than myself, contributing to the group, helping and welcoming newcomers, showing up and keeping commitments, positive communication, and racial inclusion: all these principles coincided with those I learned in recovery. Sharing in the Circle of Trust and the accountability of regularly being present while showing interests in the lives of others aligned perfectly with the spiritual principles that the program had instilled in me.

      As I progressed through the program, I began biking to workouts during the weekdays of my three month Planning Room commitment. What had started as a workout, had blossomed into a bond with like-minded men that became the best part of my day. Today I start most days with an F3 workout, “post”, around Raleigh which grants me friendships with countless great men within my community. I now have the privilege of returning to the workouts where I started and encourage men in the same situation I was in that there is hope, showing them the same respect and encouragement I was offered.

      I speak openly about my former difficulties in hopes that someone else can relate and find a similar path to the freedom I have found. I ask for help from my F3 brothers regularly and offer help to help others. Self -Reliance is my most prevalent character defect but I now have a fellowship of men to help me through difficult times. Today, I do whatever F3 asks of me and contribute where I can. I cannot imagine my experience at Healing Transitions without F3 and all they have, and still do for me, on a daily basis — the guidance of F3 and the program have taken me from a fearful, lost, child to a man that embraces life’s challenges and uses past experiences help others.

      Here is The Arena’s Founding Quote:

      “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


    3. Beginning Again: Myron’s Story

      My name is Myron Richard, my sobriety date is April 14, 2010, and I am a proud alumnus of Healing Transitions, formerly The Healing Place of Wake County. I came to Healing Transitions from Little Rock, AR. I was referred to Healing Transitions by the Kelly Foundation, whose curriculum Recovery Dynamics is used by the program at Healing Transitions. By the power of God, Healing Transitions, and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have been sober for over 7 years. Prior to my sobriety date, my life was filled with depression, broken relationships, failed attempts at employment and education, no joy, and no purpose. The dreams that I once had for a successful life had all died, and I no longer had the desire to live.

      If you have ever experienced the pains of alcoholism or addiction, there is really no need for me to elaborate on the details of what those dark days, or what those pitiful moments of hopelessness and despair feel like and look like. By the time I reached bottom, I was 29 years old shut up in an apartment that I felt I had become a prisoner of, empty bottles everywhere, and the only thought that I had was that maybe I would fall asleep and not wake up. I was malnourished, emaciated, and no longer able to digest food. I could not digest alcohol anymore but I could not stop drinking. Death seemed to be the only solution to my problem.

      In a desperate attempt to overcome, I picked up the phone and called a trusted friend in recovery. I confessed to him that I needed immediate help, that I did not think that I was going to make it, and that I was willing to do anything he told me. Years of denial and fighting the obvious fact that my life was out of control had come to an end… It was suggested to me that I needed long- term help, that 28 days was not sufficient for my situation. It was suggested that I needed to leave town, and fight for my life with all that I had.

      I have come to realize that even the smallest bit of faith can yield unbelievable results. You see, it took faith to pick up that phone and surrender. It took even more faith to leave everything and everyone that I knew and take a 22 hour bus ride to a place that I had never been, and no substantial certainty of what would become of my life. I stayed at Healing Transitions a total of 16 months and I completed the program July 31, 2011.

      After completion of the program, I moved to Job’s Journey Apartments, and resided there for 4 years. While at Job’s Journey, I was able to practice the responsibilities of living sober and independent while in a protective environment. I became deeper involved in the AA program that I was introduced to at Healing Transitions. I was also able to work and return to college, to pursue dreams that had died as a result of my drinking.

      I am eternally grateful for the decision I made to make that phone call 7 years ago. From the way that things have turned out, I feel that the decision for me to make that phone call was made by a Power greater than myself. Since completing the program at Healing Transitions, I am progressively becoming a productive member of society. After 10 years of failing attempts at education, I received an Associate’s degree in 2013, a Bachelor’s degree in 2015, and I am currently in law school pursuing a Juris Doctor. I have been employed full-time in the field of criminal justice for over 4 years. I have also lived on my own for over 2 years. The relationships that my drinking had destroyed have been renewed, new relationships are being created, and today I find purpose in the dilemma that plagued nearly 1/3 of my life.

      It is my hope that the life I live brings encouragement and hope to someone who feels that all hope is gone. Living sober has made room for a life that I never thought possible. Never in a million years did I think that I would ever be in a position to encourage someone that life can get better. I had many failed attempts at recovery before I surrendered, and I am living proof that no matter how many times you have failed…you can begin again.

    4. Finally Free: Jason’s Story

      Three rehabs, six detox’s, three psych wards, dozens of outpatient programs, three DWI’s, multiple other trips to jail, thirty plus visits to the hospital, three suicide attempts, self-inflicted burns and cuts on my arms and legs, $30,000 in credit card debt with no job and no prospects, I was kicked out of college, I was kicked out of my fiancés home, I was kicked out of every single one of my family member’s homes before I finally ended up in a homeless shelter. Those were my accomplishments by the age of 26. To some people those numbers seem high and to others they seem low. To me that was what it took before I finally fell to my knees, it’s when I finally opened my mind to the possibility that my thoughts weren’t my thoughts and that alcohol and drugs had altered everything about me. I accepted that I no longer had any idea who I was.

      The homeless shelter I mentioned above is what saved my life. Healing Transitions opened their doors to me and gave me the tools I needed to change. Before entering the program I heard negative stories from people who had tried the program and didn’t like it. Even after hearing all the negative stories I still chose to go because I heard a positive story that stood above the rest. That story came from someone who had completed the program and who had a life that I only dreamed of having and that person eventually became my sponsor. The program wasn’t easy but neither was living with a never ending compulsion to ruin my life. I woke up every day to go pay money for something that I knew was going to kill me and for some reason I couldn’t stop. Complete insanity.

      When I first got to the program I don’t think I said two words to anyone for at least two months. I had nothing but morbid thoughts and I constantly doubted the effectiveness of the program. On the third month there was a client who came up to me and said he was going to force me to be his friend. We meditated every morning and trudged together to class. We spoke of our spiritual maladies and our hopes to make a change. That was a turning point for me but it wasn’t the end of the road by any means. There were many trials and tribulations along the way and there were many times I thought I would just walk out that door. Instead, I got a sponsor, I worked the steps, I listened in the classes, and I listened to silver chippers that were before me. I watched others come and go and I watched others come and go and die. I knew I had to complete the program if I wanted to change. I was there for 16 months, three of those months consisted of me being a peer mentor. Peer mentor’s stood up in front of a room of a 100 guys and taught classes about recovery. Twelve months prior I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to a single person without an immense feeling of fear and panic. In one year my entire outlook on life changed. I was a different person.

      Healing Transitions and the men I met in this program have enabled me to become the man I always wanted to be and to live the life I always wanted to live. It’s been almost 4 years since I was sleeping on a mat on the floor at this facility and it’s absolutely amazing what I have in my life today. Since leaving I was able to restore trust with my family, have gainful employment, successfully complete probation, open a bank account, pay off $6,000 in back taxes, pursue my passion in life, have my license reinstated and I just signed up to go back to school. If I had listened to those people in detox that were trying to talk me out of going I would probably be dead today. For me the magic didn’t happen until the end of the program and once I experienced the magic everything seemed possible and I no longer had the weight of a thousand regrets holding me back, I was finally free.

    5. Finding My Life Again — A Recovery Story by Jeanine Price

      I was miserable and I didn’t know it. I wanted to escape and hide my feelings. I had been self-medicating for a long time. My family and sisters would try to rescue me and I would just go back to the same behaviors. The beginning of the end started in June of 2012 when I was caught stealing drugs from work. I had been a nurse at that point for 30 years and I lost my nursing license. I tried to get a job and get my nursing license back but I just couldn’t. I had lost any discipline or structure that I once had in my life.

      I found myself in a really terrible place about 9 months after I lost my license. I had a lot of self-pity that at the time I didn’t know I had and I told myself that I didn’t deserve to live in misery anymore. So I made the decision to try to overdose. I did not think that I was hurting anybody but myself. Later, I learned that selfishness is a common characteristic of an addict/alcoholic. I tried to commit suicide and it didn’t work. I ended up at Holly Hill soon after. After 10 days in Holly Hill I was due to be discharged. Only one of my sisters came to the “Family meeting”. She told the Social Worker that my family was not going to rescue or enable me anymore. At that point the social worker that was managing my case stepped in and let me know that the only choice I had was to go to Healing Transitions. I knew about Healing Transitions because, before I went there, I was driving some of the Healing Transitions participants to meetings.

      After speaking to the social worker I went and laid down in my bed and gave the idea some deep thought. I just knew I had no other choice and that I needed to change. I talked to God and prayed for the first time in a long time and this deep sleep came over me and I slept for about 3 hours. When I woke up I felt more at ease and knew that everything was going to be okay. I decided that going to Healing Transitions was the best path for me to take.

      The next day I came to Healing transitions in a taxi cab that the hospital paid for. I walked through the doors feeling unsure, but a miracle happened here. Like I said, I knew that I had to change and there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that the way I was living wasn’t working. So I just let go and took suggestions from people and did what I was told. I had been living so horribly before and I didn’t want to go back to that life. So I got a sponsor and started working the Steps. I know I was difficult to deal with in the beginning because I questioned everything. I needed to know “why.” I soon learned however, that I didn’t even know how to live nor did I know what my character defects and problems were. I needed my peers to point them out to me. This helped me figure out what behaviors I needed to change and I worked hard to change. To me it’s just a miracle. Everything that the program has done for me has been truly incredible. Healing Transitions was a Divine gift to me and my family.

      Before I transitioned out of the program I got a job working at a medical based company as a temporary part-time administrative assistant. I was covering for another employee who was out on maternity leave. Once she returned from maternity leave, the company offered me a full time non-nursing job. I worked in that position until June 2015.

      In July of 2015 I got my nursing license back! I understand how amazing that is because only 20% of nurses get their license back after they lose it because either they choose not to get it back or they cannot complete the nurse’s program. I worked very hard to get it back but I also felt like it was a God thing. All the pieces fell into place perfectly. I was then offered a Case Manager position at the same company. I’m working as a nurse again and I feel like finding recovery has made me a better nurse. I’m more comfortable talking to patients about the different things they are going through because I’ve been there.

      After transitioning out of the program I have also had the opportunity to regain my connection with my family. I have two sons that never gave up on me. We are very close now and they love the new mom! The relationships with my sisters and my parents now are just awesome. I used to give my parents so much grief and worry and today I can go over to their house and play games, talk and laugh.

       I also received an alumni award a few months back and I don’t feel like I deserve it. I just practice what Healing Transitions taught me and now I use that knowledge to give back and help other women find recovery. Healing Transitions has given me my serenity, my happiness and my desire for living. I know that I would not be alive right now if I didn’t walk through the doors of Healing Transitions over 4 years ago. I owe my life to this place.