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Postmark: Recovery House, 2014

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In early recovery, I didn’t think I would ever be able to have fun again. Before, I had always been the popular one—the one everybody counted on to plan the next party. Now, I was afraid that I would always be different and wouldn’t fit in. I had changed so much. Life had changed so much.

My experimental days had begun in high school, so when I went off to college the first time, it was something that I could not handle. I had mixed feelings about returning to college after getting clean and sober. I was living in New Hampshire and considering a transfer to Fairfield University in Connecticut.

I wanted to finish my degree, but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be back on a campus. I thought of renting a room near campus, but that could be a lonely existence for a 20-year-old guy.

At a local 12-Step meeting, I heard about a new program at Fairfield—the new Recovery House. If that’s not God working in my life, I don’t know what is. The opportunity was just too good to pass up.

quoteI have been a student at Fairfield and also a resident of Recovery House since last September. Now I can’t imagine being at college without a recovery program and sober residence. I live with three men between the ages of 19 and 23, one of whom serves as the house manager. We also regularly meet with a clinical coordinator, program coordinator, and academic success coordinator.

Together, the four of us at Recovery House have formed a community of support and accountability. We figure out who will clean the kitchen, who needs a ride to a meeting, who wants to go golfing (usually all of us), who needs help with microeconomics, who’s going through a tough time, and who has something to celebrate. In short, we figure out daily how to maintain our recovery and complete our education. We even look forward to the required random drug tests. We’re proud of our recovery.

Recovery at Fairfield is overseen by a board of directors that includes clinical staff from Counseling & Psychological Services, administrators, faculty members, and students in recovery. This is my first time to serve. As a board member, I feel respected and included. My suggestions and comments are valued and converted into ways to improve the program.

The school has spared no expense in helping me reach my potential. I’m very grateful for that. I’ve learned about time management and study preparations. I’ve even learned how to cook. I cherish every lesson learned and the peers with whom I’ve shared these moments of growth and progress. I’m thankful for the wonderful gift of sobriety God has given all of us.

Fairfield has helped me get back something that was lost long ago through alcohol and drugs. In “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus bases judgment of a man on his character. Through the recovery program and the 12 Steps, I am able to build character.

In the past, I was ostracized, judged, and humiliated in school and in life because I am an alcoholic and drug addict. Fairfield took me in and treated me like any other person. The school has given me the opportunity to restore my integrity.

When I first came here, I considered myself a smooth talker. But in this environment of academic rigor, that didn’t get me much. Here, I have to work hard to get those grades. I don’t get special treatment. I don’t get sympathy. I don’t get those things because I don’t need them.

It has been more than two-and-a-half years since my last drink, which is nothing short of a miracle. That’s what Fairfield did for me—they made a miracle happen in my life.

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