What was life like growing up?
Life was good, really. Good family, upper middle class. Better than normal childhood. I was always in baseball, football, soccer, tennis, golf. If there was a sport I was in it.
Did any members of your family have a problem with addiction and if so what was that like?
No. I'm the only one in my family who has ever been to rehab.
What was life like before you got to The Wheelhouse?
Turmoil. I'd moved back home to my parents recently. My drinking was making my family fight with each other and I was told to leave. And I just couldn’t make it past the liquor store.
What was the biggest challenge you were facing before you got to The Wheelhouse?
Probably that I was an alcoholic. I mean, I always knew but just to accept that was a challenge.
What did you do to try to solve this Challenge on your own?
I was going to AA meetings but NOT doing the steps. They told me I needed to get a sponsor. I just …I never… I was working all the time I was mainly going to AA to make my girlfriend happy.
What is a problem that the Wheelhouse has solved for you?
Looking at my fears has really opened my eyes. I'm scared a lot of things. There are fears that come up and then I’m drinking. My sponsor and I pray that I overcome those fears.
Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out to you right now?
When I came into the Wheelhouse I had to be placed in the sick room. I was detoxing. I kept seeing faces that tell me that I'm in a safe place and that God loves me. That was very eye-opening. And then, I remember when the house manager spoke to me, that loud voice. I had that feeling of, you know, I can’t help myself.
How has this experience at the Wheelhouse changed your life?
It's helped me grow up. I’ve been a 41 year old hanging out with younger people. I never grew up after my divorce. I just stopped moving forward.
What do you wish other people knew about the Wheelhouse?
I would think that people probably believe it's only for a certain type of person, a homeless addict or drunk. A new man in the house yesterday who’s really Christian and not from the streets said he didn't like us. He said some guys are too vulgar. I was like, you got to leave that at the door. We are here for anyone who wants to get sober.
What has been most surprising to you during your time at The Wheelhouse?
The actual caring that is here. The brotherhood. At first you hear explicit language, everyone is serious with you, but then after a couple weeks … I was scared. I was really scared … But I learned that they’re here to teach me, that they do care.
And the fact that we’re operating only on donations, the Wheelhouse is not a state-funded facility. That’s impressive.
What have you learned about yourself at the Wheelhouse?
It’s time for me to grow up. I’m responsible for my actions.
I've accepted God back in my life. I had a son who passed away from SIDS and I pretty much lost contact with God. I blamed God. Now, I try to look at it as maybe God has him so he wouldn't have to suffer his whole life.
It’s time for me to grow up.