Don O. – Alumni Success Story

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Don O 2

I am responsible. Whenever anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to always be there. And for that , I am responsible.”

When you shake the hand of Don, you shake the hand of Recovery.

Mr. Don O., Jaywalker alum circa 2005. One of our originals. Don is the subject of our “Success Stories” blog this time around. Don has walked the walk of recovery for many years. There is abundant life out there beyond the Jaywalker umbrella. Don exemplifies that life, a life well lived and a spirit well nurtured.

1. What has been the greatest gift of living a life in long term recovery?

“I would have to say my relationship with self. I am accepting of who I am now. A healthy relationship with self has allowed me to have healthy relationships with others. It happened over time, a gradual process brought about through working the steps.”
2. What has been your greatest struggle in sobriety?

“Perfectionism. Forgiving self for imperfections and accepting limitations. I’ve always found it easier to forgive others than myself. I’ve made mistakes. We all do. It’s part of the human condition. Accepting those mistakes is part of what makes us real.”
3. Has your recovery program/sober life gotten easier over time? If so, how?

“ It’s not about being sober anymore. It’s about life. It’s about being honest, living truthfully, investing in relationships. Is it easier? I would say yes. Over the years I’ve developed coping skills to work with when stressed or tempted. I do still struggle from time to time. But I have strong relationships within the fellowship and with God. Works for me.”
4. What AA/NA slogan or motto best exemplifies your life in recovery?

“I have 2 quotes, neither directly related to AA. Both from Einstein. “If it wasn’t for time everything would happen at once.” What that does for me is make time my ally, not my nemesis. There is no rush. The second is,” No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” No clarification needed.”
5.What would be your personal message to someone considering adopting a recovering lifestyle?

“Simple. What have you got to lose”.
6. What are your future plans and goals as you continue living a sober life?

“I have no specific plans. I’m winging it a “day at a time”. I live fairly simply, don’t need a lot to be happy. I’ve a little money saved, health is pretty good, I’m sober and have friends. I’m doing fine.”

7. Who in your life has had the greatest influence on your recovery and why?

“I would have to say 3 people. One was a friend I worked with years ago in Ill. We worked construction and he would sneak off and drink on breaks. Later on I saw him sneaking off again with his bible reading scripture. He was looking for help. Even though I didn’t sober up for another 8 years those images have never left me. The second would be my uncle Bill. He believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. He offered me treatment as an option, not an ultimatum. He let me decide. When I chose to go, that was the start of my surrender. The third would be my counselor who always told me if you do the next right thing, if you keep on the path, your life will be rich. So it has been.”

Dan Reed
Jaywalker Solutions Director

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Bill Anuszewski
As Chief Executive Officer Bill provides leadership and manage all day-to-day operations of Jaywalker Lodge, an extended care residential addiction treatment program for adult men.

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