Quality Problems

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of stress to get things back that we lost, but these are quality problems to have.”

Nowadays that is the message Jim shares with clients at the recovery center where he works. He enjoys interacting with the clients and sharing his experience because of his great appreciation for how far he has come in his own recovery journey. 

Jim’s struggles with addiction started about ten years ago. After long days at a stressful job in the medical field doing lab work frequently from a coroner’s office, he would drink to unwind and erase the disturbing images he had seen throughout the day. 

“It progressed to a more constant thing. It really took hold after a while. I needed it every day.”

As his alcoholism worsened, his relationships became strained. He attempted treatment for the first time in 2011 but only maintained his sobriety for about nine months. The next year, his wife left him. After that, Jim managed to “keep it together for the most part” as a single dad, but drinking continued to be a part of his life.

Another pinnacle came in 2017 when Jim got a DUI. He went back to treatment for thirty days, but immediately returned to his old habits. His wife came back and took their kids with her. This sent Jim back into treatment hopeful that a different facility would make a difference for him. It did not. After 90 days of treatment, he got out in September and started drinking again a month later.

The following year when his kids came for a visit, he drank the whole time. He had gotten to the point of drinking a gallon of whiskey a day. When he showed up in his parents’ driveway one afternoon, he was inebriated and said things that led them to call the sheriff’s office and have him admitted in Arrowhead Regional Psychiatric Ward. After eight days there, his social worker through the Department of Behavioral Health had him admitted in the Men’s Residential Program at Cedar House.

November 2, 2018 was Jim’s first day at Cedar House. He stayed for 111 days and has maintained sobriety ever since.

After his other failed attempts at treatment, why was Cedar House different? He says it was the caring staff and family atmosphere he found there. His case manager Michael connected with him and even nominated him to be “Res. Pres.” 

“I’ve always been a people person but was never really given the opportunity. I started to really care about the other guys.”

He followed his case manager’s example. He respected his approach to treatment and could see that being of service in recovery was a key to sustaining it.

“I really took to heart all the tools I was learning.”

He sought out a sober living facility after graduating from Cedar House on February 2, 2019. He became House Manager a few months later then began working as a landscaper for a children’s foundation. When he got a phone call from a childhood friend offering him a job at a treatment center in Corona, he knew it was the right move. Now, Jim is happily employed as an Admissions Coordinator where he can give back to the recovery community. He has been reunited with his daughter after several years apart. With 22 months clean, Jim still has daily stress and struggles, but now he perceives these challenges that life hands him as “quality problems” to have as he holds tight to his loved ones with gratitude and dedication to recovery.

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