Life is never about how many times you stumble, trip or fall flat on your face. Life is never about hitting rock bottom, either.
Life is about how many times you get back up and keep going, wholeheartedly learning from challenges, obstacles and shortcomings, and becoming the unique individual God made you to be.
After relapsing, Robert decided to return to Covenant Hills to achieve sustained sobriety once and for all. His story is a true inspiration to all of us at Covenant Hills, and we hope anyone who is ready to get clean and forge the life they were meant to lead finds encouragement in his words.
Read about Robert’s road to sobriety and learn how Covenant Hills changed his life forever:
I never saw what happened coming for me. I did not raise my hand and volunteer for this. I was not called on the phone and asked, nor was I sent a letter in the mail. There was no ad in the newspaper for this, nor did a neighbor knock on my door and ask me to ‘join’ the club. It is something that took my father’s life and I never, ever imagined that one day, it would creep into mine.
My second date of sobriety is 9/29/97. My first is 10/28/96.
I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be 21 years sober. I’ve been to Covenant Hills three times in my life. Twice for recovery, and once, in 2002, as a sober alumnus to pick up a five-year coin from Mike B.
Mike was special. He was my case manager, and when I returned to Covenant Hills for the second time, I specifically asked for him. When I walked back in, our eyes met, and he said, “You didn’t get it, did you?”
“No, Mike. I didn’t get it. But I do now,” and we both knew this time was going to be just a little bit different. Mike was a magnet of unexplainable. When he looked at you, his face just oozed compassion, love and truth. Mike was the reason I returned to Covenant Hills for my second round at getting sober.
I hate to have to do something over again because I messed it up the first time, and if I had to do it over, it had to be where it was supposed to be done right the first time. Don’t get me wrong, please. EVERYONE from Toni, Bruce, Wavy Davey, Pastor Rick, Vern and others at Covenant Hills had an impact on me getting sober. But Mike? Mike was my magnet.
As I look back, the entire environment was my magnet. From walking down to the San Clemente pier where I would lay on the beach, ear buds in, listening to Sade and praying that
the sun would suck the alcohol poison from within me, to riding in the ‘druggy buggy’ to a meeting, to the dinners on the second floor, and the coinings.
I couldn’t tell you who my roommates were. I wasn’t there to remember them. I was there to get my life back and I had a vengeance toward alcoholism. I was determined to crawl out of the hell I allowed myself to venture into.
It was there that I learned that I was allergic to alcohol (gee, there’s a novel fact); It was there that I learned that saying no to booze was not going to kill me; It was there that I said goodbye for the second time to Vodka, my drug of choice. By the time I quit drinking, I was consuming 750ml of Kamchatka Vodka a day – straight, mixed, did not matter. And, by all accounts, I should be dust, 6’ under right now.
Active alcoholism for me was a place I never knew could exist. It’s dark and lonely. It’s full of lies, deceit, stealing, abandonment and fear. All areas I was never part of until I crossed over that invisible line. It’s an area that consumed my father and when I finally realized what I had become, I wanted out.
I wanted to smell freshly cut grass and wet fall leaves. I wanted to throw snowballs with my children and lay next to my wife and just smile.
For me, none of that would be possible today if it were not for Covenant Hills. None of it at all.
For me, Covenant Hills is a magical environment. It’s where miracles come true – if you’re willing to listen, believe and do the work. It’s where your ‘ah ha’ moment comes to light. And, you see that there is a hope, help, reality and love to get you through it and get you sober.
It’s that magical castle on top of a hill in a Disney movie and everyone inside is a special Tinkerbell waving their own special wand of dust over you.
What is my life like today? To be honest, it’s a fairy tale come true. I work from home and log into a bank of mainframe computers in Austin, TX.
In late October 2017, my company gave me an opportunity for my wife and I to come back to Ohio and work from home. I had been working in Austin for three years. Every single job in my sobriety has been a stepping stone to a better position. So, pinch me. I have been blessed and given the merry-go-round golden ring.
One catch, though: In order to acquire that ring, there has to be belief that the ring is there, that there really is one for you, and, a passion to do work.
The work? It’s pretty simple: Be a participant in your own recovery and not a spectator. As I write this, tears slowly stream down my right cheek knowing that today, I am 21 years sober.
I hope that I never, ever have to change my sobriety date from 9/29/97. Just for today, I do not have to re-write that alcoholic chapter over. I have to remember what it was like, what happened and what my life is like today.
Just for today, I smile and say…
Thank you HP, AA, and Covenant Hills.
Thank you, Mike B, for being there for me, and all of us.
…I have to rat myself out for stealing something from my Covenant Hills group session one day. On a blackboard was this phrase that makes so much sense:
“Look at life through the windshield, and not the rear-view mirror.”
Your body, soul and spirit need critical attention and care during addiction treatment. It is our mission at Covenant Hills to return you to the clean, healthy, happy and productive person God designed you to be.
Through our Christian-based drug and alcohol treatment program, your whole person health is our focus, and your realization of the special person God created you to be is our passion.
Learn more about our Christian-based addiction treatment, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.