Participant #11
35 years old

Bio of Addiction

J1 is married for the second time with a combined family of three children.
J1 grew up in an alcoholic family and noted how his parents had a codependent alcoholic relationship. He had is first drink at 17 years old, at a graduation party.
J1 was an exceptional baseball player. He received a college baseball scholarship and was awarded pitcher of the year his freshman year in college. J1 noted that playing college level sports is a full time job. His father often used psychological torture to push him in baseball. J1 graduated college with a bachelor’s in broadcast journalism and visual/performing art. He enjoyed college academics. When he was a junior in college his parents ended their marriage in a painful divorce. J1 devoted his alone time to playing guitar and became an excellent musician. He often played in bands. His drinking between the ages of 21 and 24 was manageable, and he would occasionally smoke marijuana.

“My parents taught me right from wrong and compassion. Everything good in my life I learned from them, and obviously the flip side of that, their character defects I absorbed as well.”

After his parents divorce, J1s father fell into acute alcoholism and drank everyday with failing health. J1 became his father’s caretaker. On a visit to his dad’s one day, J1 found that his father had passed away.

J1’s vodka consumption escalated quickly into an everyday habit, combined with constant marijuana use. He became dependent on alcohol, and drank 30-50 drinks per day. J1 changed employment into  the restaurant industry, and as a result of the culture, he, at at 28 years old, routinely had 6-8 drinks in him at all times. J1 soon began taking amphetamines. He began experiencing high anxiety.

“It’s true what they say, there is definitely a party atmosphere in the restaurant business. I loved it. We would go out every night.”

“I fell in love with amphetamines. It allowed me to drink and go the distance.”

“I would drink and drive. I knew when every single liquor store opened and closed in a 20 mile radius. I was on first name basis with most of the bartenders.”

“I become emotionally unavailable and I didn’t care about anything but myself.”

Like his parents, he found solace in codependency, and entered into a committed relationships with women who also drank and used marijuana. After dating for 3 weeks, his new girlfriend became pregnant. At 28, J1 found himself a soon-to-be father with a women he barely knew. He was an alcoholic, a drug addict, in poor health and jobless. He found two jobs to plan for the future. Although his new pregnant girlfriend had her own demons to fight, she became his caretaker.

On J1s 29th birthday, he received a DWI with a BAC of 1.7. He was also arrested for marijuana possession. He secured a hardship license with an interlocking alcohol device. He failed at blowing into the device several times.

“That was the beginning of the end of my drinking.”

“I wanted to stop drinking, but I couldn’t. If you study 12-Step programs that’s your first step right there. You admit that your powerless and life has become manageable.”

“At this point I have liver and kidney problems, I’m in constant pain, and I’m still going through a liter of vodka a day.”

J1 entered into a long term volatile and dysfunctional codependent relationship with the soon-to-be mother of his first child.

When fiancé went into labor, she had to drive herself to the hospital because J1 was intoxicated. She was sent home in false labor. Three days later she entered labor again.

“I’m driving to the hospital and another point the higher power, God steps into my life. I know at in the back of my head, I have 5 or 6 fingers of vodka, I could quickly duck in, I’m wrestling ….. I wanted to have my son sober, but I knew I may not have a chance to drink for awhile. I turn to my apartment. The road was closed. I had to go straight. I went to the hospital. Later that day I had my son. He came out perfect and I was stone cold sober for it. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
J1 began using controlled drinking to fend off the effects of alcoholism. J1 eventually stopped drinking completely for his son for 3 years and truly began living as a family. He did not seek help in his recovery, and continued to smoke marijuana.

While working at a Christmas party J1 took a shot of vodka.

“I got sad. I wonder if I can drink? So I had a shot. I drank a little bit there. In the next three weeks I had made up for lost time.”

“Your demons are just in the corner doing push ups, getting stronger.”

J1 entered into full fledge alcoholism once again, drinking 2 pints a day after one week. But no one knew. Soon his family and friends realized J1 had fallen back into alcoholism. J1 began attending a 12-Step meeting hoping his family and friends would leave him alone. He collected his 24 hour, 3 month, and 6 month chips, but he continued to struggle. He did not get a sponsor.

“For the first 8 months I was just a body in the chair.”

J1 was getting ready to be married.

“I believe there was a part of her that resented me getting well. There was nothing left to take care of. Suddenly I’m getting attention for my sobriety and the father I had become and what I’m doing with my life. Things were smooth.”

J1 relationship became strained, and his then fiancé left the home with their child. J1 self admitted himself into the local psychiatric unit for 3 days.

“I will do whatever I have to do to get well.”

“I surrendered. I was completely powerless. That was my first surrender.”

J1 reunited with his estranged wife.

J1 attended a Christian based Celebrate Recovery event, and as a result, allowed God back into his life. J1 had a prophetic dream with himself and son. In the dream J1 abandoned his son.

“I let God back into my life. I realized there was something other than me in this world.”

“At that point God was just was and will always be. I had a few more profound God things happen to me.”

“Recovery began making sense. Meetings made sense. I got a sponsor. I started learning. I realized I didn’t know anything.”

“In one year I collected 4, 24 hour chips, 3, 30 day, 2, 60 day.”

J1 worked through 12-Steps recovery and connected with “The Big Book”.

“Have you other drunks read this book? It’s amazing.”

J1 became a full time dad while his wife supported the family. He began rebuilding trust, helped others and made friendships in the fellowship. Despite these changes, J1 continued to be a marijuana smoker, and his marriage dissolved.

“I was in pain. I was I was in recovery and I hadn’t developed coping skills. I began panicking. I called my sponsor.”

“I hadn’t  dealt with pain like this sober. I went to the gas station and bought a couple of 4 locos. I kept them in the fridge. I didn’t drink them. I prayed.”

“I remember I had my son he saw me crying. I just remember looking at the knives, looking at  him, and looking at the booze. I was like if I don’t drink I’ll live to fight another day. So I did.”

J1 attended a 12-Step program- 2-3 meetings a week- and entered therapy. J1 received primary custody of his child, got a job, and began exercising.

Turning Point

J1 attempted his last reconciliation with his estranged spouse, but to no avail.

“I had never felt pain like that so I drank. And I cut myself. When I came too my mom was over me, and I was bloody.” (Not a suicide attempt)

Shortly after, J1 was arrested under a mental health arrest.

“That was that light switch.”

“No one would pick me up. I had to jog the seven miles home. Which was fine I was in terrific shape.”

“I needed that to happen to shut the door on her.”

Addiction 9 years
Recovery Attempts: 10+

“The first six months of 2016 was the worst I ever lived, the second six months of 2016 was the best I ever lived.”

“I started doing things again and I liked myself for again.”

J1 chose to embrace recovery through the 12-Step process. He attended meetings 2-3 times a day and committed himself to service work. He returned to music and recommitted himself to fatherhood.

“I started rebuilding myself and raising my self esteem.”

Life in Recovery
2 years

J1 has taken a respite from dating for a year. J1 has built a good foundation in recovery. He met his now wife in the rooms. J1 now lives a life filled with family, helping others, recovery activities, exercise, church, and fatherhood. He does not smoke marijuana anymore.

“I owe everything to the rooms and 12-Step program, they gave me a life. The least I can do is not take it for granted.”

“Jesus lived the life that I would like to model my life after.”

12-Step program daily
12-Step home group
Vacation home group
Church (active member)
Rooms of Recovery
Working in the food service industry
Working in the voice over industry
Active band member
Devotional Guidance


Keep coming back, no matter what happens! Choosing life requires daily maintenance. Sobriety is a gift and it’s the greatest gift I ever got. It is hard work, but the rewards certainly outweigh the work in the long run.

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