Recovery Stories

Recovery Stories

Voices of Hope

People can and do recover from the disease of addiction. Inspired by National Recovery Month, Valley Hope Alumni are sharing the power of sobriety through a collection of diverse, inspiring recovery stories: Voices of Hope. Voices of Hope celebrates the millions of Americans living in recovery, while offering hope and healing to loved ones and families seeking help.

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Power your recovery with the Voices of Hope playlist on Spotify, curated and inspired by Valley Hope Alumni.

 

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Voices of Hope 2021

katelyn-m
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

Long-term constant sobriety has changed my life in so many ways. I’ve learned how to be an excellent daughter, a caring wife, and a nurturing mother. My sobriety means the world to me because without sobriety I wouldn’t have any of those relationships today.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

My whole life it always seemed like everyone knew how to do life except for me. I always felt so lost compared to everyone else. People would say things like “be in the moment” and “one day at a time” and that never made any sense to me. I can honestly say that I’ve learned how to do those things today.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

I learned so many things in treatment. I learned how to set boundaries with people who I needed to set boundaries with. Treatment was a much needed break from life where I was really able to sort out the things that I needed and didn’t need in my life. I also learned that it mattered what I did when I left treatment. My advice to anyone who finishes treatment is to find a 12 Step fellowship that you can feel a part of. That’s when the work really matters!

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I am an ACTIVE member of a 12 Step program. I have a sponsor and I sponsor other women. I also really enjoy service work. One of the first things I did straight out of treatment was diving into service work. This allowed me to meet and befriend people in the fellowship easily, and it kept me out of my head.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

I think it’s so important to share my experience with others because I truly believe that only another addict/alcoholic can help someone of the same variety. It was so easy for me to relate to people who had walked the same walk as I had in the beginning. It’s almost like they spoke the same language as I did and I had never heard anyone speak my language before. I felt at home when talking to another addict/alcoholic. I still feel the same way today even after 3 continuous years of sobriety.

- Katelyn M.

shari-m
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

Sobriety has changed my life completely. No more secrets, lies and manipulation. 

Sobriety is everything to me, without it I couldn’t live like I should. Sobriety to me is about doing the next right thing, showing up when I say I will, doing what I say I will-just being honest with myself and others and when I don’t to make amends. Live my life by kindness and love.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

That I don’t need to use substances to have fun. I am also a lot more introverted than I thought I was but that’s okay. That I can learn to trust people and make friends without drinking, and also who are truly not my friends, and that’s okay too.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

That it’s okay to feel those feelings. What they tell you in treatment works. Get a sponsor, go to meetings, read your literature and use your higher power whatever that may be. Find a solid support system. That sobriety may seem selfish at first but you have to think of yourself for once.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

By sharing my experience, strength and hope. By reaching out to others and taking direction from my sponsor.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

When you share with others it shows that this can happen for you also. There is hope and life after addiction is possible; not only is it possible, it’s the best life and gift I could’ve given myself. I’m not going to say it was easy, but it is worth it. And you don’t have to do anything alone. Reach out- you don’t have to handle or deal with anything alone.

06/07/17 by the grace of god, sponsorship and AA.

- Shari M.

keith-c
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

Before driving to Valley Hope, I was on the verge of losing my wife and two children due to a heavy alcohol/cocaine addiction. Since recovery, I have a new outlook on life. My relationship with my wife and kids is better than ever. I can finally sleep each and every night without a problem. And I have taken up several new hobbies, including woodworking, and fixing small engines for lawn mowers, snowblowers, etc. and flipping them for a profit.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

That life can actually be more fun sober than not sober. Over half my life I’ve been getting either high or drunk, or both. I never knew how happy I could be and how much more productive I could be.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

The biggest lesson I learned is one you’ve heard before: take it one day at a time! Also, AA meetings keep me sober 100%. Any time I have the urge to drink, I rush to a meeting and it levels me out.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I am on a Facebook group Alcoholics & Addicts Recovery Group and I am consistently providing advice. I am also on a Reddit group called Stop Drinking. 

I am working the steps and soon I will live by Step 12.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

If I can do it, surely others can do it too. I was an alcoholic for 10 years and I never could have quit without the help of Valley Hope.

- Keith C.

geoffery-v
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

My sobriety means everything and must come first! Until 2017, I was a mess!! Mentally and physically, but most importantly spiritually broken! Drugs, getting high, and escaping reality was my entire existence. I felt that I was better, avoided depression/anxiety, and functioned better on drugs not knowing that the exact opposite was true! After getting clean, I realized my issues and problems were much easier to deal with, some even disappearing all together! My life has drastically improved after deciding to fight for my happiness and the happiness of people around me!

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

I can actually have fun! I didn’t know how to meet people, be social, be creative, or even feel without drugs. Well that’s been fairly easy! Turns out all the feelings or social/creative abilities were a part of me with or WITHOUT drugs. I lost nothing and gained everything 🙂

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

I have plenty of advice to give for those who truly want recovery! Work steps, get a sponsor, read recovery literature, join a fellowship (whichever one works, try them all!), but most importantly BE OF SERVICE! Help those that feel as lost as we once did 🙂 share your pain, your misery, your endless shame of addiction and replace that with all the opportunities, happiness, hope, and restoration that recovery has given me!

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I speak at Valley Hope (not since COVID, unfortunately). I show up for other addicts who need help! I sponsor, and I run a recovery group for people in early recovery. I listen and share at meetings. But most importantly I support myself! I’m kind to myself 🙂 I’m patient with me 🙂 in turn, this allows me to do the same for others.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

I connect with people others have a hard time connecting to. My approach to recovery is unique in some ways. I use some tough love mixed with facts and the reality of addiction but at the same time hearing, listening, and understanding those who haven’t had much success in recovery.

- Geoffery V.

kim-s
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

Sobriety has improved my life with my family. Sober for 19 years; saved my marriage, and my relationship with my children and extended family. My husband has been sober for 12 years and our marriage is rock solid- we just celebrated 31 years together.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

That I could feel good about myself and be thankful for who I am.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

I learned to believe in myself and to ask for help from others when I need it. Sobriety is not easy and a solid foundation of support is important.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

My husband is also sober. We support each other. We live in a small town so it's hard to attend sober events as there are very few, but I do help people by telling them my story and letting them know it can be done.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

Because people don't realize how hard it can be, but it can be done. When you get sober, the world is clearer, the colors are brighter and you begin to appreciate everything and everyone around you. The world is new again, but a much better place. You feel comfortable in your own skin again.

- Kim S.

derrick-l

Sobriety means as much as Jesus does to me. I had been in recovery before attending Valley Hope; it was a surprise just how much I re-learned at Valley Hope. The biggest surprise was that I’m not always going to be judged by a slip or relapse. Although I’ve made mistakes in the past, I am able to share that experience and strength with others. People can attest to the miracles that places like Valley Hope have to offer. I support others in recovery by showing up to meetings, being a sponsor, and taking on roles in AA.

- Derrick L.

rodney-s
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

Being clean has been the biggest difference in my life. Sobriety must be the most important thing in my life, it’s stay clean or die.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

That I have a disease, and if I don’t use recovery to help with my addiction I will continue down the path I was on.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

Work the steps, go to meetings, get a sponsor, help another addict in recovery, do those things, and you may have a chance.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

In meetings, I’m not at a point in my recovery yet to do much more.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

I believe that anyone who shares about recovery and their story can help someone stay clean; my story isn’t worse or better than others. The fact that we made it into recovery means we have a story, but that story is about resilience, perseverance, and gratitude.

- Rodney S.

max-w
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

I’m in control of my life now, not alcohol! I can use my head and make the right decision for me!

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

You have to decide to take care of yourself first before you can help others!

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

Every day is the first day of the rest of your life. Don’t fret yesterday, but live today for your better tomorrow!!

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I try to contact and connect with others who are in recovery.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

Sobriety was the best thing that has happened for me. Do it for yourself!

Thank you Valley Hope for helping me find the person I should be ❣️

- Max W.

jack-f
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

Before I got sober, I was a mean man. Drinking brought out the worst in me. My kids didn’t want my young grandkids near me. I even thought of suicide on nights when I was drunk and muttering it. My wife heard it, and the next day when I got home they had an intervention set up. I got to watch my adult children cry in person and heard the others on the phone. Went to VH three days after and got sober and have stayed that way by using my God, going to meetings, and most of all I did the steps with my sponsor. I still do steps 10 and 11 each day and sponsor guys into the program. Myself, my sponsor and a friend visit VH once a month and do a study with the clients. I have thoughts for you all who see this: get a sponsor, work the steps and live in those steps. And, my own thoughts are you have not done the steps until you do step 12. That step keeps me in step work and makes me happy when I see others stay sober and see them sponsor too. Just do it! I don’t even think about drinking any longer. Thank you V.H. For saving my life and giving me my family back...6 kids, 19 grands and 5 greats. I am blessed.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

That sobriety can be fun.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

Do and live in the steps.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

Sponsorship and talking at meetings, visiting VH, and hiring guys from the halfway house to help me at my home.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

This is my important saying: I got sober late in life...in my 60’s...get sober now and enjoy life longer.

Love Valley Hope. Don’t be like me and drink into old age.

- Jack F.

bart-w
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

It's difficult to express how much better my life is now. All areas of my life, physical, mental, emotional, are drastically improved. Sobriety means being present in my life and the lives of those that I love and care about. It means a relationship with my higher power that has become the most important relationship that I have.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

The most surprising thing to me was that you can have fun without alcohol and drugs. When I went to treatment I was 33 years old and I just assumed that I had used up all of the fun that I was allowed and that the next 30-40 years, or however much time I had left, was going to be miserable. I couldn't have been more wrong! I have more fun now than I ever did. It's a different kind of fun and much better.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

I learned to listen. I learned to ask questions. I learned that alcoholism is not just a lack of willpower, but a disease that is treatable. For what seems like the first time in my life I heard what was being said and took it to heart. Keep an open mind and trust the process!

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I am an active member in my home group and sponsor others when the opportunity arises. I speak whenever I'm asked to and just do what I can. Right after I got sober some of the men in my group started a men's campout and fishing trip. We went every year for 15 years or so and always encouraged the newcomers to attend. Every year at least one newcomer would say "I never knew you could go to the lake without getting drunk!" I said the same thing my first time.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

I thank God for Alcoholics Anonymous and I thank Alcoholics Anonymous for a God of my understanding. I'm not sure I would have either without Valley Hope.

- Bart W.

bill-m
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

My sobriety needed to be the #1 thing in my life every day, because without it I will be back to having nothing. I am now able to do just about anything I would like and have my family back in my life. My kids are a huge part of my life today as well. They had once told me if I didn't get help that they were not going to come around anymore. I was also no longer allowed at family gatherings at my parents or even my grandparents’ homes. Today I can host these events at my new house, and every one of them will show up with smiles on their faces.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

I was told by my first sponsor to make a list of things I would like to have or do in life, and before I knew it this list would start getting checked off as I worked my program of recovery. I am 5 years sober now, and I realized that my list wasn't extreme or long enough. My BIG things on that list are happening. I am engaged to be married, and we are currently planning a destination vacation (I have never really traveled out of the midwest except maybe 1 or 2 times) for her 40th birthday.

I still have days (and always will) when life is hard, but I keep the tools I was given at VH all polished up and ready to use at any given minute as my life is at risk if I don't.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

I have learned to slow down in almost every aspect of my life. When I get worked up and rush things, I tend to have expectations and resentments. I have learned to just stop and breathe; to enjoy the little things and be grateful for what is right in front of me and where I am at that moment. 

If I am open and honest with myself, it is easy to be open and honest with others.

It's HARD but it is TOTALLY worth it in the end. Stay stronger than your addiction and you will see that life gets easier as time passes.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I am extremely open about my sobriety and am open and willing to share my story with anyone that needs/wants to hear it one on one. I have sponsored a couple men, attended AA events and became part of the recovery community.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

I feel that by telling my story, some part/parts of it may be relatable with someone else and may help them recover as well. There is hope!!!!

- Bill M.

eric-j
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

My sobriety means everything to me. It has brought me closer to my higher power, my children, and family.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

That I can be forgiven. I don't have to live with all this guilt and shame. I’m a good sober person.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

That this is a program I have tried for 30 years to do alone. I have to maintain support and work the program.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I have opened my heart to people. I have shared my story of relapsing so many times and being in such pain but I’ve never given up. I’ve surrendered to my high power.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

So they will know that there is happiness in this world. You don’t have to use to try to find it.

Valley Hope saved my life. The people there truly care for each of us: from the maintenance staff, to the cooks and the nurses, counselors, and chaplains. Everyone had some part in my recovery. I didn’t walk out of Valley Hope the first or second time and make it, but I was never looked down upon walking back in. They were waiting for me with open arms and love. Thank you all, I'll love you forever.

- Eric J.

Susan-C
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

My sobriety hasn't just improved my life. It's completely changed it, all for the better.

To me, sobriety means so much more than not drinking. It's being accountable for myself, my actions, and my place in this world. It's living in the present, always aware I have choices to make every day. Sobriety is being intentional with things—my choices, my words, my interactions with others, and the impression I make on people, especially those in early recovery. How I make them feel. How I help them see.

Sobriety has given me a whole new life, and it's better than I could've dreamed. That's not just a catchphrase. It's the truth.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

I'm a writer and artist. I was fully convinced my "creativity" was tied in with being altered. Oh, was I wrong!

It took a bit of time, but once I had the courage to begin creating again I was stunned at the depth and clarity of my work, both writing and painting. It's almost as though something inside me has been freed, and it's churning out endless ideas, endless inspiration. It's humbling, it's exhilarating, and it's created a whole new chapter for me—figuratively and literally.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

My experience at Valley Hope was, again, a game-changer. 

What lessons did I learn? I'll start with the biggest one: the importance of addressing past trauma, the emotions associated with that, and understanding how that caused me to stuff everything down and "play happy." Once I accepted I was in a safe place, and that I was being asked to feel and talk and emote, things started to happen for me. We can't heal if we don't feel, and as much as it can completely suck at times to ride that roller coaster of emotions, it's imperative to do so.

My advice to others is this: recovery isn't easy. It's soul-searching, hard work, but it brings you to authenticity, to emotional and physical health, and it's life-changing in more ways than I can express. It's worth it 1,000 times over. Hell, a million times over.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

I journaled during my time at Valley Hope. Little did I know that journaling would turn into a book: "The Optimistic Drunk's Recovery Guide." It's a collection of the most important things I learned during my rehab and early recovery time, and what I know to be true for continued sobriety.

I've donated hundreds of books to facilities, AA groups, individuals and family and friends of alcoholics and addicts, and VH Atchison. I've learned it helps those who love us understand us better: it's a little like peeking inside our heads, and explaining why it's not as simple as "just don't drink or use." I created a website, I post recovery-themed videos, and I'm very active in the Twitter recovery community. I've spoken quite a bit to groups in the KC area, I've been on podcasts and panels, and I take every opportunity to talk to people about addiction, mental health, and what recovery can do. The changes it brings, if a person is just willing to stick with it.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

My story is especially important because I've been told more times than I can count, "Wow. You don't look like an alcoholic."

That's why it's imperative I share my message. I do look like an alcoholic, because we look like everyone. Like anyone. We look like soccer moms. CEOs. Baristas. Drive-through workers, on-camera reporters, teachers, grandmas, doctors—we are everywhere. This disease isn't relegated to a specific group of people. It can, and does, affect anyone. It does not discriminate.

There is still a ridiculous amount of stigma associated with addiction and mental illness. I'm using the fact I'm an outgoing, well-spoken, funny, caring, bright middle-class, middle-aged caucasian lady to show people it does (and can) affect anyone, at any time, in any place. I know these discussions can make people uncomfortable, and that's okay. We must keep talking until it's normalized enough to become part of the everyday conversation.

Valley Hope saved my life. It helped me find who I really am—the Susan who was waiting there for me, just under the surface, ready to break free. 

I am so unbelievably grateful.

- Susan C.

brad-d
  1. How has sobriety improved your life? What does your sobriety mean to you?

Since I have gotten sober my life actually has meaning to it. I no longer drift by day by day trying to find drugs. I have goals, ambitions and a desire to enjoy life now. My sobriety means everything to me because it unlocked the door to my future.

  1. What is something you found surprising in recovery that you never knew before getting sober?

Before getting sober I did not think people who were sober enjoyed life. Or at the very least, I thought I was broken and there was no way to “fix” myself. I never thought I would enjoy little things like getting a new car. And I never would have imagined I would get married.

  1. Based on your treatment experience, what lessons did you learn? Do you have any advice to give?

Treatment is the time where you have the most access to tools and people who are willing to help you. Be sure to make sure every second count.

  1. How have you supported others in recovery?

Today I do H&I meetings at detox centers and I sponsor other men who want the relief I have found.

  1. Why do you feel it is important to share your story with others?

I am 20 years old and got sober at 18 through Valley Hope. People have this idea that young addicts can’t stay sober. So I like to give young adults hope. And to show them they are more than a relapse statistic.

I am about to have 2 years of continuous sobriety and none of that would have been possible without Valley Hope.

- Brad D.

Impact of Recovery

By shining a light on how recovery has impacted their lives, Valley Hope Alumni are helping people, families and communities find healing.

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

story1

I went to Valley Hope because I'd hit rock bottom.  I had tried rehab before...I felt like I'd tried everything to get sober.  This time was different for me as I finally had the gift of desperation and was willing to hand over my will and my life. Valley Hope gave me the foundation I needed (and a little bit of a buffer between me and alcohol) to get my feet firmly planted in recovery!  I found a sponsor before I left treatment and continued to work the steps after leaving.  I found a home group, went to meetings regularly, and got involved in service immediately!

Last month I celebrated 1 year with my friends in the program and with my family who are so glad to have their wife/mother/sister/daughter back! Every day gets a little better and my list of gratuities grows while my desire for alcohol dissipates!  Among the very long list are thanks to the staff, counselors, and Chaplain who helped me find the path to sobriety!

My cup has a staircase symbolizing the Martin Luther King quote I found inspiring:

"Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."

- Andra

man-freedom

I left Valley Hope on Sept 14th and life could not be better! Thank you for all VH has done for my life!

- Craig K.

mom-daughter-outside

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.

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.

Teresa B.

support-group

In June, 2011 alcohol had become a poison I could not find an antidote for. With my wife Scherry’s constant support, I turned to Valley Hope as a place of refuge and recovery. The staff was simply amazing, and my Counselor Beth was exactly the right person at exactly the right time. I learned so many valuable lessons in my 28 days, and I learned that God had not deserted me, He was patiently waiting on me the entire time. Valley Hope is an amazing gift to so many of us who want a chance at recovery from the devastating, debilitating, deadly disease of alcoholism. Valley Hope helped save my life, and gave a grateful, sober man back to his family. I will be forever in their debt. May God continue to Bless Valley Hope, Birds of a Feather, and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

- Dave E (Former Valley Hope Mayor June/July 2011)

man-beach2

I completed 4 weeks of treatment at Valley Hope in June. Since then, I have successfully completed IOP. Now I am in Continuing care.  The Valley Hope programs are really great. I came into treatment pretty broken; alcohol had made my life miserable. I committed myself to the program of treatment along with the AA meetings and program. As a result of surrendering myself completely I now am living a life worth living. Without the Valley Hope and AA I would not be living the new life. Thanks Valley Hope and all the dedicated staff.

- Gary M.

woman-car

My name is Becky G., and I am 59 years old.  I have been an alcoholic for most of 35 years.  Now I have been sober for just over 27 months.  In that time, I reunited with my ex life partner, have kept the same job, bought a car, and have money in the bank.  No more legal problems, court dates or probation officer.  No more breathalyzer in my car.  No more sickness or despair or hopelessness about my drinking.  My family actually likes being with me, the trust has come back.  I like myself more each day.  I wish everyone struggling with this disease could find recovery.  It's so hard at first, but it gets easier over time!

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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.

- Sean B.

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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!

donette-motorcycle

I celebrated 29 years the 18th of September with my Valley Hope Family.  I put the gratitude where it belongs, with my Higher Power.  It is only Grace that has given me this life.  I can tell you I never dreamed my life would be as full and rich as it is today.  12 Step recovery, therapy, a Church Home, supportive family and friends, a rewarding career, Harleys, and Dogs have all kept me sober and grateful.  Thank you Valley Hope of Boonville for celebrating with me!

- Donette

henry-w

Hello, my name is Henry W., and am a recovering alcoholic and addict and also an ultrarunner. I am 50 years old and grew up in Waltham, MA and currently reside in Chandler, AZ. With the grace of God I have been in recovery since November 17, 2008.  I have been married to my beautiful wife for 15 years, and we have an adorable eight year old son. I have a full-time job as a Food Service Director and I love to run. But this so-called normal life wasn’t always the case.

You see, for 22 years, I abused drugs and alcohol. I should be dead. I had numerous drug and alcohol-related arrests. I almost lost my family. I almost lost my life. So the biggest challenge of my life came when I had to finally admit my addiction and seek help. I made one of the best decisions in my life and I checked myself into Valley Hope, and have been sober ever since. That was November 2008.

One thing I know about addiction is you have to be 100% ready and 100% committed to stopping forever and they say “hit rock bottom.” Completely understanding that I could never drink or use again was huge for me. I spent three solid days basically just drinking, blacking out, falling down, passing out, waking up and drinking and doing it all over again. I was not suicidal but I did not want to live.  I was hardly eating as I was unable to keep anything down. I was very weak. I was getting low on beer so I was going to have to go to the store. I remember having cold sweats and being so shaky and messed up that I know I couldn't drive. So my plan was to take a nice shower and then walk to the store to get more beer and booze. I remember letting the water hit me in the head in the shower to sober up a bit, and recall just praying to God to save me, “please send somebody to save me”, and that I can not do this anymore. I was really scared that I was going to die. I may have been on the verge of death. I don't know, I just kept praying for him to send somebody to save me, send me an angel. I remember getting out of the shower and walking out to my bedroom to get my clothes on the bed. Much to my surprise, there was a realtor and a young couple standing there as I'm completely naked. Everybody involved was in complete shock.  I remember backing off into the bathroom and closing the door until they left and then got changed and went into the kitchen and dumped out the last five or six beers and whatever was left of the booze I had and that was it, I was done. Those were the angels that God sent me. This was my spiritual awakening. Two days later, I enrolled in a treatment facility which ultimately saved my life.

Running has been critical in my recovery. Like I previously mentioned,  I've been sober since November 2008 and it wasn't until 2013 that I found running. Although I know deep down inside I will never use or drink again, I still had a void in my life that needed to be filled. The two years leading up to May 2013 when I found running I was becoming a squirrely mess. I had no hobbies. I had a lot of built-up energy inside they needed to release. Once I found running I found my new addiction.  Though I wasn't drinking or using, I became restless, and sort of a dry drunk. I knew I needed to do something.

I had asked a friend that we were going to be visiting, if he was going to run an 8k race (Glassfest 8k) where he lived. In Corning, NY.   He said he would run if I did. I said sign me up! I didn't even know how far an 8k was at the time!  I ran two times leading up to the big day while pushing Sebastian in his stroller, and ran with him in the race.

I hated every second of the race, and vowed never to run again. Every time a runner passed me, I was more and more angry. I honestly wanted to trip, elbow all runners I saw.  But when I finished, I received a glass medallion, and also had a feeling that I will never forget. A feeling of accomplishment, and happiness, that prompted me to seek out another race as we went back to the friend's house. I signed up for a 5k, then a 4 miler the following weekend.  Google: running races waltham ma = Race Around Waltham Series!  The race I am most grateful for is the Glassfest 8k, because I did not give up, I did not quit.

I loved how I felt during and after running. Well, sometimes not feeling it while running, The runner's high, and endorphin kick was like no other. I am thankful that I found running, and it has changed my life for the better. Not only does it help keep me sober, it helps me feel balanced, and live life on life's terms.  I was hooked on racing, then once it became easier, I really was hooked on running.

I quickly realized that I really enjoyed pushing myself to go further, and knew early on that I could be a distance runner.  I registered for the Boston Marathon Half Marathon in October 2013.  This was a big deal, and all I thought about! I did well, and knew after completing it I wanted more.  What is the progression, a full marathon!  I registered for the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon and really enjoyed the long distance training runs leading up to the race. I ran the Wineglass Marathon in October, then the following year I ran 8 marathons!  I was hooked on this distance, until I heard about ultrarunning.  My 1st question was, “why would anyone want to run more than 26.2 miles?”  Well, I did!  I started asking questions, joining groups, and reading about this ultrarunning thing.

My 1st ultra was Manchester to Monadnock.  I thought I was prepared for this, but the reality is that I had no idea what I was in for.  I really did enjoy all aspects of the event and learned a lot from it.  I was now obsessed with more.  With addicts, there is no such thing as moderation.  It is more, more and more!

Once I started to have some success in my running I realized that running could give me a platform to share my story of hope. I signed up to do a stage race in Patagonia Argentina in 2017 and started raising funds for that. I wanted to do some out-of-the-box fundraising concepts so that I could reach larger audiences. Quite often, the media got a hold of the story and did some news segments and articles about my story about my recovery which obviously could reach larger masses of people. I did a three hour spinathon at my gym, 12 hour treadmillathon in my friend's gym in Corning New York, the Boston Marathon quad which is the marathon course four consecutive times, a 24-hour track run, 24-hour desert run all within six months they raised $12,000 for Runwell. The money raised went directly to getting those who could not afford treatment for addiction get the help they needed.  Runwell also encourages running and fitness as part of the recovery process.

Since 2017, I have used my running platform to raise funds and awareness to fight addiction. I have done two 24-Hour desert runs in the middle of the hot Arizona summer, four Boston Marathon quads, and two Mesa Marathon quads all in fundraising efforts. I try to tell people it's okay to be an alcoholic and addict. Most alcoholics and addicts don't want to be the way they are. But there is help, and there is hope. If there's a tomorrow, there is hope.

When I discovered running in May 2013, my life drastically changed for the better once again. Running helps me live life on life’s terms.  When I start the day with a run the whole day seems to flow better. An afternoon run can help burn off the craziness of a  busy workday.  I'll take this running addiction over the days and all the madness of my alcohol and drug addiction years. I am living proof that second chances matter. I am on a mission to pay it forward. I want to help others receive treatment. I want to expose them to a whole new world of clarity and optimism. I’m passionate about fighting addiction and serving those living in recovery. I honestly believe that you can do anything you want to do. Sometimes you need help, treatment, guidance, and therapy. The first step is to want to change.

Being an addict, there is no cure.  I have to be careful of being too obsessive, and wanting more, more, more.  I think it is important to be hungry, and progressive, but with that can come a cost.  The most important thing for me is taking care of myself.  The 1st thing I learned in recovery is that I have to take care of myself 1st.  If I do not take care of myself, I cannot take care of anyone else.  I cannot not take care of a job,I cannot take care of our home.  Running is self care for me, but in the same breath if I run too much, I will distance myself from my family, and I will take away from family time.  Family is the 2nd most important thing to me.  I would be nothing without them.  They are my world.  Physically if I run 150 miles a week, constantly race, I will break down.  I know that.  I need to cross train, and build myself to last.  I want to be running when I am 80!  I need to have crazy goals, I just cannot have tooooo many of them be running goals.  As they say in recovery, “one is too many, and 1000 is not enough.”  I need to pick my battles, choose my events wisely.  I am well aware that I am a work in progress, and sometimes I need to be reminded by my wife that I need to cut back the miles, or that I need a rest day or days.  I’ll take this running addiction over the active addiction years 100% of the time.

man-reading

My sobriety date is July 11th, 2019, the day when I entered treatment at Valley Hope.  I have been a drinker all my life.  My first black-out was at the age of 10 from which I am lucky to have survived.  I first walked into the rooms of AA in 2001.  My first impression was "who are these people"?  Probably about 6 months later I tried it again and heard of another meeting which became my homegroup.

Over the years I had bits of sobriety but most of the time I wouldn't admit it at my home group meetings.  Only when I had been on a total blackout drunk for several days would I stand up again at the call for 24 hours and say, "Hi, I'm Richard, definitely an alcoholic". Otherwise, I just wasn't being honest with myself or anyone else.  This went on over the years. I had lost my wife and my family, my business, and my home. Not to mention my dignity and any trust that my family had in me.  Yet I continued to drink until I was totally at my bottom.  I'd wake up hoping there was a bottle within reach and I'd drink (chug) until I'd black out again.

I kept recalling a mentor of mine telling me over the years "we are as sick as our secrets".  I guess I was afraid to admit my secrets about drinking or anything else for that matter but finally one day it hit me.  After years of reading and hearing How It Works from chapter 5 of our BB, I all of a sudden heard and reflected on the words.  For the first time, I heard that "rarely" almost never, have my fellows seen someone fail who simply followed the path that others laid out for me.  In fact, my fellows were "Begging" me to be fearless and thorough from the very start!  Why would these people care so much about me that they would beg me?  Big ah-ha moment.  Then they were talking about honesty and those words came back to me "we are as sick as our secrets".  I changed my life that day at Chandler Valley Hope.  I became honest, completely honest!  I wanted what my fellows had bad enough and I became willing to do whatever it took.  And it took some work  (and continues to take some work) but compared to losing my life it was and is nothing.  I am a genuine man today.  What I tell you and what you hear me say is nothing but honesty.  I have put together a solid program and I follow it completely.  This program starts with not taking the first drink!  I go to meetings, several a week, I have a sponsor, and get this, I sponsor others today!  I read the big book and work the steps just to name a few of the things in my program.

If I were to say what my biggest joy and secret to my program is, it would be service.  Helping out and helping others.  Being involved in my program.  When I am asked to serve in some capacity the AA answer is always "yes" but the secret is that it does more for me than anything that I can give others.

- Richard

The Valley Hope Coffee Cup | A Symbol of Recovery

A special part of the Valley Hope experience involves the coffee cup. The “cups” process at Valley Hope uniquely inspires and reflects the recovery journey of our Alumni. At the end of the treatment experience, each patient creates their own cup design that symbolizes their recovery. Before they leave Valley Hope, patients share their cups and the inspiration behind the design to fellow patients, family and friends. The cups are hung along the walls of Valley Hope lecture halls and alumni return after one year of sobriety to claim their cups and share their recovery success stories with patients.

brian-n

Brian N.

My Valley Hope cup has a few lyrics of the song “Destiny” by Zero 7. Every time I hear that song, I am put into a happy place because it takes me back to a time before drugs were in my life. The lyrics I wrote on my cup are, “Old moon fades into the new. At Valley Hope, the old me that used drugs faded away and a new me was born in recovery.

Carol "Tippy" C.

I listed the 5 to Stay Alive on my Valley Hope cup because it’s important to do these things every day:

  1. Pray in the morning.
  2. Pray at night.
  3. Talk to your sponsor.
  4. Go to a meeting.
  5. Read the Big Book.

These things are crucial for recovery as well as family support. I also put a cross on my cup because it represents my spirituality. I created a second cup while attending the Valley Hope intensive outpatient program (IOP). My IOP cup represents where I was at that time, with the phrase "All you need is Love." To me that means self-love as well as genuine love for others.

Today, I am well. Although I had a relapse since I left Valley Hope, yesterday I celebrated 26 months of sobriety. The promises are true. I am in school to be a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counselor, plus I am working two jobs, but I still make time for the most important things: my relationship with God and my sobriety. Everything else is amazing as long as my focus remains on these things.

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Barton W.

There are two inspirations behind my Valley Hope cup: The Stevie Ray Vaughn song “Life by the Drop” and the promise in the Big Book, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”

Up to that point, I was full of regret and trying my hardest to keep that door shut! No more. That was 21 years ago, and I have remained sober and active in Alcoholics Anonymous since the day I left Valley Hope. Much love.

Joshua W.

My Valley Hope cup represents the things I love the most: my children and family ­– and fishing.

Just yesterday, I took my son Luke fishing on the Ninnescha River, the river of our ancestors. We went without bait, just poles and hope! We caught bait, used that bait to catch bait fish and used bait fish to catch a drum and my son's first measurable catfish!

What an awesome day for us both!

joshua-w
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Tara G.

Recovery has given me my life back. I was merely existing on a daily basis. It was difficult to do anything other than watch the clock, so I knew when it was safe to take another round of pain medication. Working was a daily struggle. If I had to drive anywhere, I had to get a ride or plan my driving when I wasn't on pain meds – which only added to my pain level and the urgent feeling I had to take my pain medication.

It has also given me an opportunity to tell my story. I made the choice before I came to Valley Hope to be 100 percent up front and honest with everyone about what was happening and where I was going. By doing this, I opened the doors and made other people more comfortable in talking to me about their own struggles (or a family member) with addiction.

It's given me the ability to see ADDICTION in a different view and a platform to speak about it in our community..

I put the phrase "Stay the Course" on my Valley Hope cup. The phrase was used in the context of a war or battle meaning to "pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism."

I felt this phrase was perfect to serve as a reminder to maintain the same course I set ahead for myself when I left Valley Hope. Each of us face our own battles and roadblocks as we continued on our path to recovery. But if we can remember our desire to "Stay the Course" every day of our lives, we will reach that ultimate goal of living a life free of our addiction.

Up to that point, I was full of regret and trying my hardest to keep that door shut! No more. That was 21 years ago, and I have remained sober and active in Alcoholics Anonymous since the day I left Valley Hope. Much love.

Michelle O.

I walked through the doors of Valley Hope on November 21, 2006. Needless to say, I didn't want to be there and had my guard up against any guidance. So, near the end of treatment, when I was asked to design a cup, I thought it was a dumb idea. I sat looking at this cup not sure what to do, then someone suggested that I “just keep it simple.”

I started painting the inside black because, I felt like I was trying to climb out of a black hole that had become my life and soul. On the outside of my cup I wrote “free” and “one day at a time.” I also drew a couple of doves. Very simple, but very telling. I remember thinking, “I might really be sick.”

After finishing my cup design, I didn't think about it again, until the day I received a box in the mail: My cup.

I was happy and proud that I had made it one year sober. I put my cup on my shelf that day and 12 and a half years later, it is still on that shelf. I look at it every morning and thank God for the journey I have been on.

For something that I originally thought was a dumb idea, is now one of my most precious belongings.

michelle-o
andrea-h

Andrea H.

I vividly remember the inspiration behind my Valley Hope cup. Initially, I only wanted something that I could come back and get at Valley Hope after a year of sobriety - even though that seemed SO far away at the time.

But, as I started getting my craft supplies together, I considered what recovery meant to me. I included the words acceptance, faith, healing, joy, my sobriety date, and most importantly, God. I added daisies and butterflies because they represented my favorite "simple" things in nature and I was desperately seeking simplicity after my life becoming so chaotic in my disease. And, I added a mirror from a makeup compact that just happened to - I don't believe it was a coincidence - fit perfectly into the bottom of my cup. That mirror would remind me to always look inward for what I knew was inside of me, for what had always been inside me. And, I knew I could get back to being that person outside of my addiction to alcohol.

My cup holds all of my monthly medallions from my first year, along with a prayer coin and a worry stone given to me by a special friend I met at an AA meeting. I keep my cup just above my computer at home and look at it daily. Some days I just look at it to admire the pretty colors and the craft I made in treatment, but most days I look at it and remember how much getting my cup back meant to me after my first year in recovery.

Alan H.

Recovery has changed my life by showing me a happier way of life. While I was in my active addiction, I missed so many things with my family. Not loving my wife and children and loving the bottle instead really damaged my relationships and my health. After completing treatment at Valley Hope, I never felt better and my family is healing.

My Valley Hope cup represents my love for volunteer firefighting and my family. While I train to save lives, I entered treatment to save my own.

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Denise M.

I named my Valley Hope cup “One Day at a Time” because it is the most important step each of us in recovery must live by.

My cup starts with the 12 Steps coming up and out of the inside of my cup, leaving the devil down inside. I also listed family which has been my rock and major support system during my journey. I also included my counselor, Diane, who helped me overcome hidden traumas that I couldn’t seem to part with. She was such an inspiration and blessing during my treatment experience.

I look at my cup every day, count my blessings and thank my higher power (whom I choose to call God) and thank him for this wonderful journey I’m blessed to be a part of.

Ernest R.

Recovery gave me back my life, love for myself and the hope of a clean and sober life.

ernest-r
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Mickey S.

Recovery has impacted my life in many ways. I have a brighter outlook on life. My relationships with my family have grown dramatically, especially my relationship with my wife. We both knew something had to change, so I went to Valley Hope for treatment. I didn't know what to expect, but after a few days, I knew it was where I needed to be. The people I met had the same problems and we managed to get through them together. They will always have my heart. The year of sobriety has gone by so fast, it was amazing. My health has improved 100% and I will always be grateful for the staff at Valley Hope for saving my life. They gave me direction and guided me through the addiction.

I put the phrase "Stay the Course" on my Valley Hope cup. The phrase was used in the context of a war or battle meaning to "pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism." My cup represents all the hard work we all had to go through to achieve one year of sobriety.

My cup is the center piece of my life.

Dave T.

Recovery has given me life. Valley Hope cup is inspired by the song lyric “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” Every day that I stay clean and sober gives me the opportunity to have brighter days.

dave-t
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Carla A.

The Valley Hope cup I painted in 1984 shows all the turbulence and violence of a storm at sea, changing into full sunlight with God’s help. Inside the cup, I expressed a lot of feelings like anger and depression that were a part of my addiction.

Treatment changed my life and saved my life. Returning a year later to pick up my cup at Valley Hope was so wonderful. I have been sober 35 years now. It has been an interesting journey of self-discovery. I am much more comfortable in my own skin now which I didn’t think would ever be possible.

Blake R.

The pivotal point in my Valley Hope treatment experience happened when my Dad opened up about my addiction and what was going on with him. My Dad has always been a huge role model in my life, so when that happened, I became willing to do whatever it took to stay sober.

About a week before I was discharged from treatment, I picked up a blank Valley Hope cup from the front desk. I noticed some fellow patients working hard on their cups, using all sorts of different colors and designs, building relationships. I decided that I would get involved.

I enjoyed the full “cup” experience. There was a man in my small group that was artistic and the night before I discharged, I saw him working on his cup by himself, so I grabbed my cup and sat down next to him. We had a great conversation and he helped me edit my simple cup design. I’m grateful for that experience and the meaning behind my cup. It’s what recovery is all about!

My Dad and I have one thing that ALWAYS comes up in our conversations: Kansas Jayhawks’ basketball. My Valley Hope cup really had nothing to do with basketball, except for the big “KU” on the side.

After I discharged from Valley Hope, I moved to a sober living home in Kansas City. I didn’t know anybody in the area. I went to a Twelve Step meeting every day, but I still felt pretty lonely during the first couple of weeks. Luckily, it was the beginning of basketball season. For the first time in a long time, I got to watch and enjoy the Jayhawks’ basketball games. But most of all, I got to talk to my dad on the phone after the games. Our relationship has grown stronger in sobriety and he was a friend when I felt like I didn’t have any. The positive momentum of our relationship has translated to other friendships in the program of AA and even beyond that. I don’t feel so lonely anymore...

blake-r
aaron-c

Aaron C.

My Valley Hope cup is covered with jigsaw puzzle stickers that fit together. Because in recovery, my life was being put back together like a puzzle. I also worked on a very elaborate puzzle of the story of Noah and the Flood while at Valley Hope. God used Valley Hope of Booneville and the people there (staff and other patients) to save me from myself. I am now into my 13th year of sobriety. Praise God!

Carlton G.

When I arrived at Valley Hope for treatment at 52 years old, I was a complete train wreck, with more than 40 years of active addiction. I had reached what I can only say was hopefully my last of so many rock bottoms. I remember thinking that I would never make it alone. However, I finally accepted that everybody at Valley Hope wanted to help me.

The day I discharged from treatment, I hung my patient cup in the lecture hall. As I walked up in front of my fellow alumni, all my fears about being myself lifted. I felt in my heart that they were on my side. I had met my new family, I was walking up a hill and out of a cave into the light of a brand new dawn. As I placed my cup on the wall, with my extended family watching I never felt such a sense of accomplishment, connection and gratitude.

Now, instead of being unsure and fearful, I walk forward one step and one day at a time with hope and confidence.

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mike-l

Mike L.

Night and day. I had given up on any thought of sobriety. I was resigned to dying drunk. Through my stay at Valley Hope, I learned that I did have self-worth and gained some tools to live a wonderful life one day at a time.

The back side of my Valley Hope cup is shaded black. That was my life while using. I grew up in the 1960s, so I included a peace sign on the front of my cup.

Life can be peaceful and great – one day at a time.

Amy H.

Recovery has given me a new outlook on life and all the things in it. When I was drinking, absolutely nothing mattered except that next drink. I stole money to buy alcohol, I used all the change I could find, and I always made sure that I had more alcohol hidden somewhere. I found myself trying to hide from anyone and everyone. I didn’t go to work so that I could drink. Life was not good. I got tired of lying and looking for new places to hide during the day when I was supposed to be working.

Today in recovery, I have made many new friends that I can talk to for support. I can spend more time with my kids, grandkids, family and have enough energy and patience to enjoy them. I have gained back self-confidence. I can share my experiences with others now and hope to help them in their journey as well. I can socialize with others when before I didn’t want to go anywhere unless I could drink. I have lost a lot of weight and no longer some medications that I don’t need anymore. I am human again.

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bill-k

Bill K.

Recovery has made a significant impact in my life in many wonderful ways.  It really all started with the day I was admitted to Valley Hope. My life became the life I used to have before this horrible disease took control of everything in my life.

I am a farmer in Nebraska. I look forward to going to work every day, it makes me feel productive again. I am the best possible farmer I can be. I am a granddad to my grandchildren. I would never have been allowed to spend that time with them, if it had not been for my recovery. I am so blessed that I did not miss out on being a part of their lives. I have lots of friends in AA and they are also my family. I feel as if my life has purpose now, helping others who are now where I used to be.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I would go back and get my Valley Hope cup after that first year of sobriety. Yet, after I left Atchison, I would drive down every third Friday for Renewal day from Nebraska City. I could see other one-year alumni receiving their cups and how happy and proud they were. On my one-year anniversary of sobriety, I wanted to feel that way too. I remember thinking what a blessing it was to receive my cup.  My cup represents the many blessings I have received since being in recovery.

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Brian N.

My Valley Hope cup has a few lyrics of the song “Destiny” by Zero 7. Every time I hear that song, I am put into a happy place because it takes me back to a time before drugs were in my life. The lyrics I wrote on my cup are, “Old moon fades into the new. At Valley Hope, the old me that used drugs faded away and a new me was born in recovery.

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Carol "Tippy" C.

I listed the 5 to Stay Alive on my Valley Hope cup because it’s important to do these things every day:

  1. Pray in the morning.
  2. Pray at night.
  3. Talk to your sponsor.
  4. Go to a meeting.
  5. Read the Big Book.

These things are crucial for recovery as well as family support. I also put a cross on my cup because it represents my spirituality. I created a second cup while attending the Valley Hope intensive outpatient program (IOP). My IOP cup represents where I was at that time, with the phrase "All you need is Love." To me that means self-love as well as genuine love for others.

Today, I am well. Although I had a relapse since I left Valley Hope, yesterday I celebrated 26 months of sobriety. The promises are true. I am in school to be a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counselor, plus I am working two jobs, but I still make time for the most important things: my relationship with God and my sobriety. Everything else is amazing as long as my focus remains on these things.

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Barton W.

There are two inspirations behind my Valley Hope cup: The Stevie Ray Vaughn song “Life by the Drop” and the promise in the Big Book, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”

Up to that point, I was full of regret and trying my hardest to keep that door shut! No more. That was 21 years ago, and I have remained sober and active in Alcoholics Anonymous since the day I left Valley Hope. Much love.

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Joshua W.

My Valley Hope cup represents the things I love the most: my children and family ­– and fishing.

Just yesterday, I took my son Luke fishing on the Ninnescha River, the river of our ancestors. We went without bait, just poles and hope! We caught bait, used that bait to catch bait fish and used bait fish to catch a drum and my son's first measurable catfish!

What an awesome day for us both!

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Tara G.

Recovery has given me my life back. I was merely existing on a daily basis. It was difficult to do anything other than watch the clock, so I knew when it was safe to take another round of pain medication. Working was a daily struggle. If I had to drive anywhere, I had to get a ride or plan my driving when I wasn't on pain meds – which only added to my pain level and the urgent feeling I had to take my pain medication.

It has also given me an opportunity to tell my story. I made the choice before I came to Valley Hope to be 100 percent up front and honest with everyone about what was happening and where I was going. By doing this, I opened the doors and made other people more comfortable in talking to me about their own struggles (or a family member) with addiction.

It's given me the ability to see ADDICTION in a different view and a platform to speak about it in our community..

I put the phrase "Stay the Course" on my Valley Hope cup. The phrase was used in the context of a war or battle meaning to "pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism."

I felt this phrase was perfect to serve as a reminder to maintain the same course I set ahead for myself when I left Valley Hope. Each of us face our own battles and roadblocks as we continued on our path to recovery. But if we can remember our desire to "Stay the Course" every day of our lives, we will reach that ultimate goal of living a life free of our addiction.

Up to that point, I was full of regret and trying my hardest to keep that door shut! No more. That was 21 years ago, and I have remained sober and active in Alcoholics Anonymous since the day I left Valley Hope. Much love.

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Michelle O.

I walked through the doors of Valley Hope on November 21, 2006. Needless to say, I didn't want to be there and had my guard up against any guidance. So, near the end of treatment, when I was asked to design a cup, I thought it was a dumb idea. I sat looking at this cup not sure what to do, then someone suggested that I “just keep it simple.”

I started painting the inside black because, I felt like I was trying to climb out of a black hole that had become my life and soul. On the outside of my cup I wrote “free” and “one day at a time.” I also drew a couple of doves. Very simple, but very telling. I remember thinking, “I might really be sick.”

After finishing my cup design, I didn't think about it again, until the day I received a box in the mail: My cup.

I was happy and proud that I had made it one year sober. I put my cup on my shelf that day and 12 and a half years later, it is still on that shelf. I look at it every morning and thank God for the journey I have been on.

For something that I originally thought was a dumb idea, is now one of my most precious belongings.

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Andrea H.

I vividly remember the inspiration behind my Valley Hope cup. Initially, I only wanted something that I could come back and get at Valley Hope after a year of sobriety - even though that seemed SO far away at the time.

But, as I started getting my craft supplies together, I considered what recovery meant to me. I included the words acceptance, faith, healing, joy, my sobriety date, and most importantly, God. I added daisies and butterflies because they represented my favorite "simple" things in nature and I was desperately seeking simplicity after my life becoming so chaotic in my disease. And, I added a mirror from a makeup compact that just happened to - I don't believe it was a coincidence - fit perfectly into the bottom of my cup. That mirror would remind me to always look inward for what I knew was inside of me, for what had always been inside me. And, I knew I could get back to being that person outside of my addiction to alcohol.

My cup holds all of my monthly medallions from my first year, along with a prayer coin and a worry stone given to me by a special friend I met at an AA meeting. I keep my cup just above my computer at home and look at it daily. Some days I just look at it to admire the pretty colors and the craft I made in treatment, but most days I look at it and remember how much getting my cup back meant to me after my first year in recovery.

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Alan H.

Recovery has changed my life by showing me a happier way of life. While I was in my active addiction, I missed so many things with my family. Not loving my wife and children and loving the bottle instead really damaged my relationships and my health. After completing treatment at Valley Hope, I never felt better and my family is healing.

My Valley Hope cup represents my love for volunteer firefighting and my family. While I train to save lives, I entered treatment to save my own.

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Denise M.

I named my Valley Hope cup “One Day at a Time” because it is the most important step each of us in recovery must live by.

My cup starts with the 12 Steps coming up and out of the inside of my cup, leaving the devil down inside. I also listed family which has been my rock and major support system during my journey. I also included my counselor, Diane, who helped me overcome hidden traumas that I couldn’t seem to part with. She was such an inspiration and blessing during my treatment experience.

I look at my cup every day, count my blessings and thank my higher power (whom I choose to call God) and thank him for this wonderful journey I’m blessed to be a part of.

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Ernest R.

Recovery gave me back my life, love for myself and the hope of a clean and sober life.

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Mickey S.

Recovery has impacted my life in many ways. I have a brighter outlook on life. My relationships with my family have grown dramatically, especially my relationship with my wife. We both knew something had to change, so I went to Valley Hope for treatment. I didn't know what to expect, but after a few days, I knew it was where I needed to be. The people I met had the same problems and we managed to get through them together. They will always have my heart. The year of sobriety has gone by so fast, it was amazing. My health has improved 100% and I will always be grateful for the staff at Valley Hope for saving my life. They gave me direction and guided me through the addiction.

I put the phrase "Stay the Course" on my Valley Hope cup. The phrase was used in the context of a war or battle meaning to "pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism." My cup represents all the hard work we all had to go through to achieve one year of sobriety.

My cup is the center piece of my life.

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Dave T.

Recovery has given me life. Valley Hope cup is inspired by the song lyric “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” Every day that I stay clean and sober gives me the opportunity to have brighter days.

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Carla A.

The Valley Hope cup I painted in 1984 shows all the turbulence and violence of a storm at sea, changing into full sunlight with God’s help. Inside the cup, I expressed a lot of feelings like anger and depression that were a part of my addiction.

Treatment changed my life and saved my life. Returning a year later to pick up my cup at Valley Hope was so wonderful. I have been sober 35 years now. It has been an interesting journey of self-discovery. I am much more comfortable in my own skin now which I didn’t think would ever be possible.

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Blake R.

The pivotal point in my Valley Hope treatment experience happened when my Dad opened up about my addiction and what was going on with him. My Dad has always been a huge role model in my life, so when that happened, I became willing to do whatever it took to stay sober.

About a week before I was discharged from treatment, I picked up a blank Valley Hope cup from the front desk. I noticed some fellow patients working hard on their cups, using all sorts of different colors and designs, building relationships. I decided that I would get involved.

I enjoyed the full “cup” experience. There was a man in my small group that was artistic and the night before I discharged, I saw him working on his cup by himself, so I grabbed my cup and sat down next to him. We had a great conversation and he helped me edit my simple cup design. I’m grateful for that experience and the meaning behind my cup. It’s what recovery is all about!

My Dad and I have one thing that ALWAYS comes up in our conversations: Kansas Jayhawks’ basketball. My Valley Hope cup really had nothing to do with basketball, except for the big “KU” on the side.

After I discharged from Valley Hope, I moved to a sober living home in Kansas City. I didn’t know anybody in the area. I went to a Twelve Step meeting every day, but I still felt pretty lonely during the first couple of weeks. Luckily, it was the beginning of basketball season. For the first time in a long time, I got to watch and enjoy the Jayhawks’ basketball games. But most of all, I got to talk to my dad on the phone after the games. Our relationship has grown stronger in sobriety and he was a friend when I felt like I didn’t have any. The positive momentum of our relationship has translated to other friendships in the program of AA and even beyond that. I don’t feel so lonely anymore...

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Aaron C.

My Valley Hope cup is covered with jigsaw puzzle stickers that fit together. Because in recovery, my life was being put back together like a puzzle. I also worked on a very elaborate puzzle of the story of Noah and the Flood while at Valley Hope. God used Valley Hope of Booneville and the people there (staff and other patients) to save me from myself. I am now into my 13th year of sobriety. Praise God!

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Carlton G.

When I arrived at Valley Hope for treatment at 52 years old, I was a complete train wreck, with more than 40 years of active addiction. I had reached what I can only say was hopefully my last of so many rock bottoms. I remember thinking that I would never make it alone. However, I finally accepted that everybody at Valley Hope wanted to help me.

The day I discharged from treatment, I hung my patient cup in the lecture hall. As I walked up in front of my fellow alumni, all my fears about being myself lifted. I felt in my heart that they were on my side. I had met my new family, I was walking up a hill and out of a cave into the light of a brand new dawn. As I placed my cup on the wall, with my extended family watching I never felt such a sense of accomplishment, connection and gratitude.

Now, instead of being unsure and fearful, I walk forward one step and one day at a time with hope and confidence.

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Mike L.

Night and day. I had given up on any thought of sobriety. I was resigned to dying drunk. Through my stay at Valley Hope, I learned that I did have self-worth and gained some tools to live a wonderful life one day at a time.

The back side of my Valley Hope cup is shaded black. That was my life while using. I grew up in the 1960s, so I included a peace sign on the front of my cup.

Life can be peaceful and great – one day at a time.

amy-h

Amy H.

Recovery has given me a new outlook on life and all the things in it. When I was drinking, absolutely nothing mattered except that next drink. I stole money to buy alcohol, I used all the change I could find, and I always made sure that I had more alcohol hidden somewhere. I found myself trying to hide from anyone and everyone. I didn’t go to work so that I could drink. Life was not good. I got tired of lying and looking for new places to hide during the day when I was supposed to be working.

Today in recovery, I have made many new friends that I can talk to for support. I can spend more time with my kids, grandkids, family and have enough energy and patience to enjoy them. I have gained back self-confidence. I can share my experiences with others now and hope to help them in their journey as well. I can socialize with others when before I didn’t want to go anywhere unless I could drink. I have lost a lot of weight and no longer some medications that I don’t need anymore. I am human again.

bill-k

Bill K.

Recovery has made a significant impact in my life in many wonderful ways.  It really all started with the day I was admitted to Valley Hope. My life became the life I used to have before this horrible disease took control of everything in my life.

I am a farmer in Nebraska. I look forward to going to work every day, it makes me feel productive again. I am the best possible farmer I can be. I am a granddad to my grandchildren. I would never have been allowed to spend that time with them, if it had not been for my recovery. I am so blessed that I did not miss out on being a part of their lives. I have lots of friends in AA and they are also my family. I feel as if my life has purpose now, helping others who are now where I used to be.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I would go back and get my Valley Hope cup after that first year of sobriety. Yet, after I left Atchison, I would drive down every third Friday for Renewal day from Nebraska City. I could see other one-year alumni receiving their cups and how happy and proud they were. On my one-year anniversary of sobriety, I wanted to feel that way too. I remember thinking what a blessing it was to receive my cup.  My cup represents the many blessings I have received since being in recovery.

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