National Recovery Month: Jeff’s StoryPart Three
Over the next few months, I made significant progress while attending outpatient treatment. Outpatient was probably the most influential part of my early recovery journey. It was during this time that I really began to see a possibility of becoming who I wanted to be.
I really can’t put my finger on why, and he will not accept any of the credit for it, but my outpatient therapist is the person whom I credit the most for helping me navigate early recovery successfully. I appreciated the way he spoke to and treated myself and the other members of the group. He was friendly and understanding, but wouldn’t hesitate to call you out when necessary. Once again, I encountered a Greenbriar employee who really cared about me and my recovery. I won’t go on too much more about him, but only because he may read this and I know that he will say he just gave me the tools and I did all the work. The final thing I will say to him, the office manager, and the two other therapists that came to the office is: thank you, from the bottom of my heart. All of you played an integral part in restoring me to the person I am today.
I successfully completed outpatient treatment on January 16, 2017, and continued to attend continuing care groups once a week for a while after that. I continued receiving Vivitrol shots for a few more months and stayed focused on attending meetings and working on the steps. During the next year, I started working at a dog training school and was quickly promoted to manager. Working with the dogs helped me get a piece of myself back but I was still missing the sense of what I felt when I was a police officer. Looming on the horizon was the date I had been dreading. On October 6, 2017, I entered an open plea of guilty in court to numerous criminal charges, and a date was set for my sentencing, which would be
November 28, 2017. It was a very stressful time, but I got through it without using thanks to the help of my sponsor, my “we”, and my family. I leaned heavily on my higher power and followed the guidance given to me while in treatment. Even when I was sentenced to jail time for one year on November 28, 2017, I was confident that I could get through everything I was facing without using.
I went to jail on November 28, 2017, not knowing what to expect. After all, I was responsible for putting people in jail for years. I never planned to be in there myself. Through the unwavering support of my family, I managed to make it through an incredibly difficult time in my life. I won’t go in to much detail about the next year, which I spent incarcerated, other than to say it is something that I never want to experience again. Incarceration did help me to really appreciate many of the things in life that I had taken for granted for so many years. I was eventually granted work release and got a new job (again thanks to my wonderful family making calls for me) in the gas and oil industry. Going to work helped the time go by and gave me a much-needed sense of purpose.
I was finally released from jail on October 18, 2018. The feeling of leaving there as a free man (sounds a little corny I know) and being able to go home was unbelievable. To hug my fiancé, be with my dogs and cats (who all really missed me by the way), and sleep in a bed with an actual pillow are things I took for granted before but never have again.
After returning home I really had a new lease on life. I married my beautiful wife in the US Virgin Islands in early 2020 and was gainfully employed. However, I still felt like something was missing. I didn’t have a solid sense of self-worth or feel like I was an essential part of the community anymore. It was one of my goals to change that. Fate intervened and the pandemic of 2020 took its toll on my company. We closed our doors in early 2021 and I was forced to find another job. I started searching for jobs in the drug and alcohol field believing that my professional and personal experiences made me uniquely suited to help others searching for a new way of life. Finally, in February of 2022, my prayers were answered and I accepted a position at Greenbriar Treatment Center – Wexford as the Office Manager. Today, I am extremely happy to come into work each day. I love working with the patients and sharing my past experiences to show that no matter how bad things get, we do recover. There is always hope that anyone seeking recovery can return to the person they used to be or end up becoming someone a whole lot better. I work with amazing people who are fully committed to helping others find recovery. Also, I think anyone who knows me well will tell you I am back to the confident and happy person I was before I started down the very dark road of drug addiction.
There are plenty of things I still have to accomplish in life, but since getting clean I have been able to experience the joy that I never thought was possible. Today, I am married to a wonderful woman, have ajob I love, and am surrounded by the love and support of my family and friends. I’d like to thank the incredible staff at Greenbriar one last time – first, they first saved my life, and now they’ve helped me restore my self-worth.
In closing I will leave you with one more slogan – recovery is worth it and you are worth recovery.