Living Proof

I woke up one day and realized I was this white, Jewish kid from a good family, and I really didn’t fit in jail. My parents agreed to help me one last time, and I went to rehab.

The therapist there changed my life. I walked into his office, and he said, “Listen. You’re 18 years old, and you’re a heroin addict. You can either get sober or die.” To this day, what he said sticks with me because those were the facts. I was 18. I was a heroin addict, and I had nothing going for me. I had thrown away my education and become a criminal. It came down to how willing I was to do something about it. So for the first time in my life, I decided maybe I was going to take some suggestions, listen to advice, and do some work. At some point I just bought it. I admitted to my innermost self that I was an alcoholic and a drug addict.

The God thing was tough for me, but I did believe there was something out there that could help me. I met Eddie, the man who became my sponsor, and who entirely changed my life. He gave me a list of things to do every day to keep me accountable.

I didn’t want to do the stuff on his list, so I called him and said, “Hey I’m actually just into drugs, so I’m going to get a sponsor in NA.” He said, “Daniel, I’m your sponsor, and we agreed you were going to call me at 6:15 each day.” The next day when I called him at 6:20, he asked me if my clock was broken. Then he hung up. For the next three years I called him every day at 6:15. He taught me a lot during that time—more than just the steps. He showed me how to grow up to take responsibility for my actions, to be an honorable man, to show up when I say I’m going to show up, and how to be honest. He told me I couldn’t just sit around and get comfortable, and that I needed to move forward. I went back to high school and finished, but I had no idea what to do afterward. Eddie told me I was going to go to college. I was terrified because I had failed so consistently all my life and never felt smart enough. People in the program helped me fill out a college application, and I took two classes: I got an A and a B and felt pretty good about it. I was working for minimum wage and had my own apartment and a puppy, a Lab named Zoey, who I still have after nine years. I went to a meeting every day, and that was pretty much my life. I had a car, a sponsor, and I was sponsoring guys. Life was really pretty good for the first time.

I had a tutor who helped me for two years and brought me up to speed on all the things that I had failed to learn because I had kept dropping out of high school. I ended up with one B and all the rest A’s. I scored high enough on my ACT to get an academic scholarship to a four-year school in another city. It seemed so hard to leave where I had been living that I decided I was going to take what I thought was the easier, softer way and go to a less rigorous school. I called my sponsor, who said “Daniel, that’s a bad idea.” He said in order for me to grow spiritually, I needed to get out of my comfort zone. I knew he was right, and when I showed up at Southern Miss, a bunch of guys from AA there helped me unpack my new apartment.

Share this post

Related Posts

Current Digital Issue

Recovery Campus Digital Issue

Click the magazine cover above to view our latest Digital Issue

Current Newsletter

Recovery Campus August Newsletter

Click the image above to view our latest Newsletter. Subscribe Now

2019 National Collegiate Recovery Directory

Recovery Campus Digital Issue

Click above or Click Here to view our 2019 National Collegiate Recovery Directory