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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

04-26-19 | By

What Is A Recovery Coach?

I’m NOT a Doctor, Counselor, Therapist or a Sponsor! I am a Master Addiction Recovery Coach and Life Coach that is recovering from alcoholism.

What Is A Recovery Coach?

For that reason I know what you or your loved ones are going through. I never address past issues. As a recovery coach, I focus on today and moving ahead so positive changes can happen in your life while you have a smooth transition into recovery. A recovery coach is often used concurrently with therapy and counseling, and it should never be considered a substitute.

Recovery coaching ethics and guidelines require that if you are primarily seeking relief from emotional or psychological pain, I must and will refer you to a therapist or counselor.

As a Master Addiction Recovery Coach, I can answer questions, offer reflections and help clients become resourceful and capable of choosing what is best for them in recovery over time. I believe in and support every client I work with, and I am here to make sure that everyone I work with has continued success in their recovery.

After many years of alcohol abuse, learning to live sober was a bit of a challenge for me and I didn’t really know if I could live the life of sobriety. When I decided to yell “last call” with my drinking over five years ago, I said to myself “enough is enough” and reached out to God for guidance and direction. I sat down, took a deep hard look at my life, my past and present situation, and knew I needed to “take my life back” with the help of God. I started to think of the positives and negatives of alcohol, and found only negatives. I knew that now is the time for change. I planned a battle plan for my recovery, God led me to a few 12-step meetings. After a few meetings, I knew I needed to be more actively involved in my recovery. It was then that I realized what God wanted to continue what he began in 1981 in the USMC. In 1981, God guided me to become a Lay Reader during boot camp. I directly worked with the Chaplain, helping others through tough times. But back then it never dawned on me that God had a plan that would become real in 2013, when I was ready, when I hit rock bottom, when I needed God to help me. I knew it was here, and on June 22, 2013, God helped me to “take my life back.” It was then, that I realized how to start my own recovery methods, a simple concept (learning and educating myself as I move forward in my recovery.

Involved In Your Recovery

Because of my daily verbal or video contact with others, I am actively involved with my recovery and make sure I am involved in your addiction and recovery as a recovery coach. I spend 10-15 hours daily involved somehow with folks, 24/7!

Here are some things I do daily as a recovery coach:

  • Visit addicts in homeless shelters, hospitals & jails
  • Help addicts find a job/rehab
  • Exchange phone numbers
  • Provide resources that focus on recovery

In 2011, at the age of 49, I started to feel much more mature. I started to think differently, getting rid of old habits, and wanting to make positive changes in my life. However, the positive changes could not happen until the gates of my “demons” were closed. I call this my rock bottom. In 2013 I not only closed the gates, but I padlocked them shut forever. So, now that I see things clearly, drinking is not even a choice, it would be too painful to ever start again. I have learned from the past, left it behind me and intentionally created a positive future.

Part of that future is educating myself about my disease, and as a recovery coach, how to live with it and help others live it too. I want to help others see, feel and experience sobriety, life without alcohol and drugs.

June 22nd 2013 is where this amazing journey in sobriety began. I am a grateful alcoholic. I am the second of two sons, about 14 months apart. We grew up in a small town on Long Island, on our mile-long street, we had many neighbors.

A Feeling of Belonging

I distinctly remember my first drunk — on a beer. I remember the taste going down — and coming up. What a great feeling of belonging I had had — something I had never felt before. Shortly this led to nearly daily drinking or smoking cigarettes to feel cool, which at times was easier to obtain. While I was still in high school with my older brother, I remember on several occasions seeing him on a Friday in the halls, only to find myself awakening that night at a friends house with a hangover, from what I now know as a blackout, unaware of what had happened in the interim. Despite my increasingly frequent substance use, I excelled as a student. I prided myself on never missing a day of school. By my junior year, I was taking many classes and easily passing them, putting me through classes in a breeze. I had one influential mentor, my gym teacher, who encouraged me to pursue an education in cooking, perhaps management. My friends were all soccer players or football players who partied like me. I never had many run-ins with the administration or faculty and did not think that I had any kind of problem. Off to college, Sullivan County Community College with plans to study hotel technology. My roommate drank and partied like I did. I structured my class schedule so as to not interfere with my alcohol use, incorporating a large break between morning and late afternoon classes in which I could get all my studying done. I again excelled in school.

Meanwhile, I met a girl with whom I began a relationship during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. She was raised in Middletown, NY. While we were dating, I kept the quantity of my alcohol use a secret from her, and led a double life. In one life I was the good student and boyfriend, and in the other I was the unfaithful drunk. When she would catch me getting drunk often, she would be irate and I would promise to abstain, only to use as soon as I dropped her off at her parents’ house.

During college I was walking through a mall in Middletown when a tall, dressed up Marine came up to me and asked if I wanted to be one of the few, the proud, the Marines. I joined and went in. During boot camp I worked directly with the Chaplain as a lay reader. It was then I felt God set in motion my love to help others. I made a conscious decision upon my graduation to stop drinking because of the possibility of jeopardizing my Marine Corps career. Alcohol easily and quickly replaced my urge to stay clean in the Marines. I would frequently leave work intoxicated and continue drinking through the weekend if I wasn’t working. I swore I would never drink and go to work. I knew that if I did, that would mean I had a problem.

Again, I excelled in my training program, becoming in charge in my final year. However, I had few friends, and none of the friends I had drank as I did. I began to drink at home, frequently wondering the next morning how there could be so many empty beer cans on the counter. During my last year in the Marines, I knew life would be harder as a civilian soon.

Upon discharge I took a job as a security officer. Soon, I drank daily in isolation, hiding the quantity of my drinking from my new girlfriend, secretly replenishing the supply in the liquor cabinet with bottles I hid elsewhere. I still didn’t think I had a problem with alcohol since I had never missed a day of work and continued to excel in my profession. The following week I was called into my captain’s office.He asked me if I had a problem with alcohol, which I flat out denied. I told him that I sometimes would drink quite a lot on weekends, but that it was something I could control. I truly believed that I could. He offered help if I needed it, but I wasn’t ready yet. The ensuing year I tried many times, unsuccessfully, to curb my drinking. With every unsuccessful attempt to abstain, which never lasted more than a day, I became more and more frustrated. I tried to limit the quantity to only one drink daily.

That one drink then became a bottomless tall glass of cheap vodka on the rocks with perhaps a splash of tonic to start — leading to me wondering the following morning where the rest of the bottle disappeared to.I began hiding bottles in the garage and under the seat of my car so I always had access to alcohol.

My relationship with my girlfriend ended, both emotionally and physically, I was absent. By this time, I could not go for more than a couple of hours without feeling withdrawal symptoms including hot flashes, sweats, palpitations, and the shakes. I would awaken during the night in withdrawal needing to take some alcohol to be able to get back to sleep. I began to need to drink just to feel normal. I was sliding down a very slippery slope without a solution. I was unable to ask for help. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t.

Rock Bottom

One morning I began violently vomiting. I managed to crawl in the dark to huddle over the commode. I rationalized that the vomiting might be due to food poisoning. By the morning, I was severely dehydrated and could barely stand. I called in sick, the first time ever in my life.The next morning I awoke with my heart racing, unable to get up off the floor, realizing that this was the end of the run. I clearly remember three distinct thoughts. My drinking needs to end. I need to be honest. I need to ask for help. I still wasn’t ready to be honest. Miraculously, I was able to abstain from alcohol that entire weekend with only very mild withdrawal symptoms. Each successive day without alcohol seemed like a huge success.

The following morning, I told my girlfriend that I was an alcoholic and that I was seeking help. Her response was that of surprise. She was angry — especially about the lies. She didn’t realize how much lying is an integral part of alcoholism. She then began to question me about any other lies I told in the past. I hesitated for a while, not wanting to hurt her any more. I told her everything.

By this time I had been sober for three weeks. My choices were limited. I was angry. I was in denial about the extent of my alcoholism — after all, I had been “sober” for more than three weeks prior to entertaining any treatment — I couldn’t see how important it was for me to separate myself from outside stresses so I could focus on me.

I no longer regret being an alcoholic since it is through my alcoholism that I have been able to grow and integrate a wonderful set of principles into my life, especially being a recovery coach. Rock bottom is incredible though because there is no place else to go but up!

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