I was a scrawny, red-haired kid with freckles. I was bullied a lot because of my size and the fact that my dad was a cop. I started trying to prove to everyone that I wasn’t a cop’s son… and that never got me into anything but trouble.
I was drinking cherry vodka at a young age. My insecurities flowed away as the vodka flowed in… and I was on my way to becoming an alcoholic. As I tell people now, I am allergic to alcohol… every time I drink, I break out in handcuffs. I joined the Navy, went AWOL in Dallas and robbed two stores with a sawed off shotgun. That was when I went from petty crimes and short jail times to prison. It was the first of five prison sentences over the years.
I ended up at Coleman’s Crisis Center in Lima and that was when I finally turned my life around for the better. I was connected with a doctor and therapist who helped more than I can tell you. Once I left the Crisis Center, I started going to Coleman’s peer support center, Changing Seasons, in addition to seeing my counselor. At Changing Seasons, I attended recovery groups where I met and formed many relationships among my peers in recovery. However, today, it is much more than groups I come for. The Peer Recovery Support staff have become, not only my friends and peers in recovery, but my family. I cannot put down on paper the profound impact each one of them has had on my life. These wonderfully broken and transformed people, who come into work every day with their own burdens and struggles, freely giving so much of themselves to help others in any way they can, has changed not only the way I view life and the world around me, but have helped me to find my own calling as well.
Having spent a lifetime, fighting a losing battle with alcohol and drugs, I had come to a changing season in my life. Having obtained sobriety, by the grace of God, support of my recovery family, and a renewing of my mind, I was standing at the crossroads of life asking, “what now”. What is it that this 60-year-old man with a history of five prison terms, broken marriages and relationships, and a past littered with destruction to do? It seemed there just was not time enough left to make a meaningful life out of all those seemingly wasted years. I was not sure which way to turn and in that place of uncertainty I very well may have floundered into a mediocre life in sobriety. However, because of the love of my friends in recovery, my new family, and the role models of Peer Support Staff it was not long before God’s plan for my future became apparent.
For me, my recovery was dependent on not only doing the work of digging out the root causes of my addiction, but relying on faith as well. I simply could not and would not have made the changes necessary without Coleman and my faith. I own my past and realize that I can use my failures for good if I become a peer support specialist. To Coleman’s peer support specialists, I say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do and who you are!!! I am looking forward to the day I can join you in the work of helping others.”