Inspired by National Recovery Month, people are sharing the power of sobriety through a collection of diverse, inspiring recovery stories. The project, Voices of Hope, chronicles the recovery journeys of Valley Hope alumni, while offering hope and healing to loved ones and families seeking help. Voices of Hope leverages the personal stories of those living in recovery to help educate communities about the disease of addiction, effective treatment and the power of recovery.

Only ten percent of people who need addiction treatment actually receive it and by shining a light on the potential of recovery, communities can eliminate stigma and help more individuals, families and communities find healing.

Explore some of the powerful sobriety stories that demonstrate treatment can work and recovery is possible:

TERESA B.

I arrived at Valley Hope on June 29, 1989 and my sobriety date is the day before on 6/28/1989. I remember so vividly traveling by plane from Birmingham, AL to Wichita then was met by a Valley Hope employee from that area who drove me to Norton. I had never been to the middle of our country and was amused that the trees leaned. In my detoxing mind, I hypothesized they were so far from the equator they were growing toward the sun. I was angry upon arrival at Valley Hope! Actually, now, I know I was scared to death. My only goal was to do what they said and get out of there and home to Alabama before the July 4th holiday so I could go to the beach with my friends, which had been the plan for months, and to also celebrate my 30th birthday on July 5th. That did not happen.

One day in the business office waiting to make arrangements for payment, I picked up a brochure that had these “trick questions” on the back. I answered “yes” to about 12 of the 16 or so questions. Then, it said to flip over the brochure where it stated, “If you answered ‘yes’ to four or more of those questions, you’re probably an alcoholic.” That’s when it hit me, “Yes, I am an alcoholic and I need help.”

I was in the perfect place, for me, with the perfect counselor for me to begin recovery.

When it was announced that Carol was my counselor, there was a “ohhhhhh” sound all fell over the room. I met her after I took the MMPI test. I sat down in front of her and she said, “I can see from your test results that you’re manipulative and self-centered.” To which I replied, “Yes, of course, I am. You see, I’m from The South and we’re all that way but you couldn’t possibly understand because you’re not from there.” Thank God, she helped me to begin to see the error of that thought process.

I wrote volumes for the 4th step I did there, all on pink paper. After I shared it all with the Chaplain, he said to tear it up and I did. He then said, “throw it in the garbage can,” and I did throw all that torn up pink paper in the empty black garbage can. He said, “make a mental picture of it and remember, when you think about these things, it’s all in the trash.” I can, today, still see that pink paper in the black garbage can and know it’s in the trash. I’ve done many other 4th and 5th steps since then because, thank God, it doesn’t all come back at once!

I believe, to my core, one of the reasons I celebrated 31 years of continuous sobriety this year is because of I was given a firm foundation of recovery at Valley Hope where I was taught to work The Steps of AA. I have learned those same steps can, and has, helped me solve any issue that arises.

To say, “Thank you” to Valley Hope is quite an understatement. You gave me my life back, you helped re-introduce me to a loving God whom I serve today. I am forever grateful for being dropped in the middle of Kansas wheat fields, where I was given the foundation which has led to a lifetime of ups, downs and too many blessings to even count.

TIM

Hi, My name is Tim and I am a Recovering Alcoholic. I was Discharged from Valley Hope July 8th, 2019. My drinking started at an early age of 12. And progressed quickly in my Jr and Sr School years. Eventually my drinking led to a long period of Incarceration. I got into AA and a Drug Alcohol Treatment and learned quite a bit about myself and what made me tick. AA worked and Fellowshipping was the key. I was able to stay clean for 22 years after my release of Incarceration, I was doing great. I got involved in Prison Ministry, even was Awarded Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011.

I began drinking again thinking I had it whipped. I did great for quite some time, it seemed. The disease only progressed slowly, daily deceiving me into thinking I was in control (NOT!).  After starting my own Plumbing Business, my daily routine became, work, drink all evening at the desk. It eventually caught up with me. I had plenty of warning signs, only to ignore them.

May 4th, 2019, leaving a Racetrack, I was involved in an accident that was completely my fault. I received a DUI and few other citations. It was not good at all. My Attorney told me the story of his Nanny going into Valley Hope years ago and has been clean for 8 yrs. When he mentioned entering inpatient for 30 days, I said I can’t do that, my business will be lost. My Attorney/Friend point blank told me that I was sick and needed help. He told me that this is one time you need to really trust God. I visited Valley Hope to take a tour and I told the young lady that I would be back in 2 weeks to check in to stay. She gave me that look (yeah right). I held my word and checked in 2 weeks later.

While in Valley Hope, I began to get some peace back, get back into a daily routine.

A routine without Alcohol! I learned that my routine in my daily life only involved work and drinking for the most part. One of the crucial changes the counselors said needs to happen is my evenings. So now I can say I hardly ever come home and go to my desk to continue to work. I usually do most desk work now in the early morning or take one day off through the week to get it done. Now my evenings are either working out, walking, Mountain biking, fishing, Dirt track races, or the pool.

Valley Hope was very good for me. The staff from the day I entered had an attitude of compassion. I could tell they really cared about my well-being. And that truly is needed for individuals with addiction. Now one of my favorites is returning for Renewal Day the 3rd Friday of the month. Just a great time.

Thank You Valley Hope!

SEAN B.

My story of recovery begins the day I was born. I was born September 14, 1977 in Yokosuka Japan. My father was in the Navy and so happens he was stationed there. My mom and dad divorced shortly after my sister was born. My father was an extreme alcoholic and was never around us while we were growing up. My mom remarried twice. I don’t know if I blocked out most of my childhood, but I remember I was never really being happy. I really didn’t start drinking until I went to college. I didn’t drink all the time but when I did, I would make sure I got intoxicated. My alcohol problem started the day my sister was killed in a car accident.

I blamed myself and started drinking every day to mask the pain I was in. I was an extremely angry person for so many years. I couldn’t understand why the good lord could take the greatest person I ever known away from me. My problem came to a head when my house was flooded and I had nowhere to go but live in a house that had no water or electricity. By this time, I didn’t care about anything or anyone especially myself, I had pushed everyone away. I was to the point I was drinking before work during work and after work on the days I actually went to work.

The day I decided that I needed help was when I was in the bathroom and looked in the mirror and asked myself what I’m doing to myself. It was the first time I admitted that I had a problem. I called my mom and told her I needed to go to rehab. It’s when we found Valley Hope. It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. It was able to find myself for the first time. I realized I had to work through everything instead of bottling everything up and try to drink them away. Being a recovering alcoholic means everything to me because cause if I continued to go down the path I was on I wouldn’t be here to share my story. I’ve been sober for over a year now. It’s not been easy, but I keep reminding myself of the path that I was taking and don’t want to go there again. It’s been an amazing journey and I can’t wait to see what comes my way.

LAURA T.

My name is Laura T, and I hung my cup at Valley Hope in November of 2005 at the young age of 21. I sort of followed my discharge plan, but not completely. I’d like to say that I maintained sobriety after discharge but that wouldn’t be honest. At that time, I conceded that I was a drug addict, but I couldn’t accept that I was an alcoholic. I did a little more “research” as they say, which included failed attempts to control it and visits to psychiatrists and counselors without the use of the 12-steps.

After about 2.5 years of using these methods followed by an emotional bottom and the termination of a long-term relationship, I went to an AA meeting around the corner from my apartment. This was a popular meeting hall I learned about during my time at Valley Hope. I have stayed sober since attending that meeting. It became my homegroup, and I’m still friends with many people from that meeting hall today. My sobriety date is March 26, 2008.

Since my sobriety birthday there have been a lot of ups and downs, but mostly ups. I have experienced a lot of emotional turmoil, but I learned from these experiences how to cope with life without drugs and alcohol. I’ve made so many lifelong friends, but I’ve also lost some friends to overdoses.

Since I’ve been sober: I bought a condominium and a sports car; I earned a master’s degree and a doctorate; and I gave birth to an exquisite daughter whom has never seen me loaded. Those are just the material things, although I know a lot of people see these as selling points of sobriety, so I do mention them to sponsees.

However more important things I’ve derived from sobriety are that I’ve learned to rely on a higher power. I’ve also learned that sobriety is about taking the good with the bad. It is so empowering to be able to cope with life without drinking and using. I know that I can get through anything with the support of my higher power and my sober comrades. Thank you for letting me share.

Explore the Voices of Hope Project

Visit the Voices of Hope project at valleyhope.org/recovery/recovery-stories to explore recovery stories, addiction information and treatment resources. Valley Hope’s blog provides extensive resources and information for loved ones, families and the recovery community.

Do you need information on other recovery subjects? If you have a related topic you would like covered, please submit your ideas to communications@valleyhope.org.

If you feel like you need help immediately, the Valley Hope team is available 24/7 at (800) 544-5101.