Sober Living Saved My Life!
Sober Living saved my life. It sounds like hyperbole right? Something tried and trite and too good to be true. But would so many people from so many places say such a thing so many times just for the heck of it?
So please, the next time you hear someone say ‘sober living saved my life,’ do lend ’em an ear. They may just be trying to tell you something incredibly important. Their truth.
Dads with a Purpose
“Sober living saved my life.” Kevin Valentine doesn’t say the words. He doesn’t have to say them. Their truth is evident in his very being. It’s there in the assured tone of his voice. It’s there in the pride behind his eyes. And it’s there in the way he embraces the household — which for the time-being is his household. And a very special one at that.
We speak of Iowa’s Dad’s With A Purpose (DWP). The organization has two sober living homes — one in Des Moines, the other in Mason City. And both provide the kind of safe and secure environment necessary for men who are in need of a second chance.
Men like Valentine. The Mason City native grew up with a taste for alcohol. In fact, he recalls sipping from his big brother’s Crown Royal at the tender age of seven. By 20 Valentine had gotten into meth. He never looked back.
He couldn’t. Meth doesn’t permit luxuries like reflection or hindsight. Hell, it doesn’t permit any luxuries whatsoever. Meth is good at prevention though. Damn good. And it’ll consistently — chronically — prevent the user from accomplishing anything of any value or worth. If necessary, it’ll even go out of its way to do so.
Valentine was consequently kept from caring for himself, as well as his family. He couldn’t hold a job. He couldn’t keep a place. Heck, he couldn’t even stay out of jail.
Valentine also “couldn’t have imagined where he’d be right now.” That’s just what he conveyed to the Globe Gazette’s Jared McNett. And that’s just what Iowa’s long-running daily reported too. Valentine had indeed come a long way. And this time it was the right long way.
Five-and-a-half years worth of right long way at that. That’s right. Valentine has now been sober over half a decade. It’s a remarkable achievement for anyone battling addiction. It’s especially remarkable for someone who’d spent his entire addiction blaming others for his problems.
“I did not see that drugs and alcohol were the problem,” Valentine told the Globe. “Everything else around me was the problem… It was always someone else.”
Addicts and alcoholics commonly play the blame game. And they commonly rig the game too. They’ll place the weight on other people or other circumstances. Anything that gets them off the hook. That of course keeps them spinning in circles; never able to extract themselves from their own false narrative.
DWP gave Valentine the opportunity to face the truth of the matter, as well as to accept responsibility. Better still, his stepping up and facing facts and doing the necessary work has enabled him to turn the page and begin a brand new chapter in his life. In fact, Valentine is now housing director of DWP’s Mason City sober living facility.
“In the past if someone said ‘Kevin Valentine works with a sober-living house,’ that would’ve been a joke all over town,” Valentine said. “I’ve been to prison, in and out of jail, in and out of treatment centers. But what I chose to do is give up my will and follow a different direction.”
To that end DWP works with interrelated organizations such as Beje Clark Residential Center and Prairie Ridge Integrated Behavioral Health Care. It’s also heavily-integrated with Alcoholics Anonymous’ sobriety program. All residents are required to get a sponsor, work the 12 Steps and find employment. Once that is fully achieved (and consistently maintained), families are then permitted to visit.
The men are eager for the opportunity to rekindle familial relationships, as well as to prove themselves worthy of the rekindling. It’s that proverbial second chance. And it benefits everyone involved.
“The camaraderie created in the sober living house is extremely beneficial,” said Valentine. “It gives us all an opportunity to uplift each other.”
Healing Properties Sober Living
Healing Properties applauds the great good work being done at (and by) Dad’s With A Purpose. A Big Book-thumping sober living home also happens to be our idea of a great good thing. In fact, that’s exactly why we outfitted ourselves accordingly. We fully and unconditionally believe in the standards and practices devised by Alcoholics Anonymous. And we unconditionally adhere to those standards and practices in all our affairs. Why? Because they produce the best results. And they’ve continued to produce the best results since their mid-30s founding. They continue to produce the best results for us too, just as they have since we started in 2002.
Mason City might be a long way from Delray Beach. Geographically at least. But the distance between addiction and recovery is the same regardless of where you are. And that makes Iowa and Florida much closer than you think. Then again, sobriety has a tendency to bring people together no matter where they come from — or where they’re going.
And folks like Valentine are going up, up and away from their old slovenly ways. It’s a brand new day. And they aim to treat it accordingly. That means giving the day its due. Welcoming that sunrise. Making a wish upon High Noon. Greeting dusk with a big Please and an even bigger Thank You. Because each day only comes around once in a life. And each of us owes it all the respect we can muster.
You owe it to yourself too. You also owe it to your family and friends. You’ve put yourself through the ringer, haven’t you? Well, then you put everyone else through the ringer as well. If you’re still standing, it’s largely because they stood beside you. The least you can do is to keep taking the next right step. Heck, you may as well jump for joy while you’re at it. Few people survive what you’ve survived. Even fewer are granted a second chance. Isn’t that worthy of some serious joy? Of course it is.
And if you need something, anything at all, Please give us a call.
(Image courtesy of the good folks at the National Fatherhood Initiative — with great gratitude.)