December 19th, 2012 is a very special date for me—I checked myself into The Watershed. I was nervous, scared, excited, happy, sad, and about a thousand more emotions and feelings kicked in right before checking in. I knew that this time it felt different—I can’t pin-point what it is but I just knew that I’m done using. People ask me how you know if you’re done; I tell them you just know. In the first few days of treatment I chased the solution to my problem like I chased my drugs. On the 4th day of detox, I put on my favorite pair of skinny jeans and found drugs in the corner pocket. My heart started racing as I found myself pacing up and down my room as if I was a lunatic. I was going back and forth on whether I should use or not. After about 30 minutes of trying to make a decision, a tech came in and told me I have to get to group. About a minute into group I stood up and told the facilitator that I found drugs in my jeans corner pocket. He took it away and I felt a great sense of relief. Most patients and all staff members were very proud of me; most importantly, I was proud of myself. At that moment I truly knew I was done and felt the true meaning of surrender…That very same day I decided to go to the inpatient H&I meeting and the speaker said a few words that forever changed my life forever—real men do uncomfortable things. A light bulb went off immediately—I did what was comfortable for me my whole life which got me nowhere. I felt as if the speaker challenged me to do uncomfortable things. The very next day I felt very uncomfortable—I started practicing honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. I started sharing in all groups, praying, taking suggestions, helping others, and most importantly trying to incorporate the 12 steps into all my affairs to the best of my ability.
The two greatest gifts the watershed has given me was finding a purpose in life and introducing me to the 12 step program. I realized that I'm very good at helping others and even influential to some. I am now doing my Master’s in social work, working as an alumni liaison for the watershed sober living community, and interning for The Watershed Outpatient Program director. I have the best and most meaningful job ever—helping other addicts. I have people today who believe in my talents and my potential for greatness such my family; boss who I like to refer to as my work sponsor “Rebecca”; real friends; colleagues such as the editor of this newsletter “Mike”; and the recovery community. I am right where I'm supposed to be. However, the biggest gift out of those two was the introduction to the 12 step program. The 12 steps have changed my life completely—it helped me find a god of my understanding and the true essence of being a better man and accepting myself for the wonderful person that I am. It’s the most rewarding feeling a man can possibly feel. I live by a code now—I am programmed to do the next right thing. There are days where I regress on living out the steps but one step I get right everyday is the first one—I know that I am powerless. My sponsor always says that if I don’t pick today it's a successful day; I see what he means now. My life today is beyond my wildest dreams. This program gave me a new way of life and I wouldn't trade it for the world—I LOVE RECOVERY!
By Leon K.