Experience, Strength, & Hope

Table of Contents

Hello everyone my name is Stuart.  I am a alcoholic/addict in recovery. 

A little about myself I grew up in a very small rural town in Montana. My early childhood was very stable and had a loving home to grow up with my brother in. At seven years old things took a drastic turn for the worst. I suffered a severe and nearly life ending leg injury in a Go-cart accident. I won’t go into detail because it is very graphic.  I was rushed to the hospital in Bozeman MT, where it was decided immediately that in hopes to save my leg I needed to be taken to an advanced surgical center. I was taken by life flight to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. I was hospitalized there 1.5 months there requiring massive amounts of surgeries to be able to save my leg from being fully amputated.  I was lucky enough to have my leg saved by the wonderful surgeon’s there. This is a very important part of my story because this is also when I discovered how drugs made me feel different and did more than just take away pain. At Seven years old being discharged from the hospital I was sent home with copious prescriptions for Vicodin, Oxycontin, and muscle relaxers. I knew they were meant to take the physical pain away but also gave me that sense of being different, feeling different. I loved it right away. I wanted to take them at every opportunity I could. My parents soon caught on that I was asking for my pain medicine multiple times a day, and wasn’t just using them for physical pain, I was getting high off of them. I was so young and had no idea what addiction was, but it was very clear that I was an addict from a very young age. My parents managed to keep drugs out of my life for a short period of time.  Around age 10 I became a daily Marijuana smoker, at age 13 began drinking and doing Cocaine on the weekends. At age 15 I began to drink daily at home.  On my 17th birthday I tried Meth for the first time. I was addictedimmediately.  The combination of drugs and alcohol took away emotional pain, physical pain and made me feel like I was someone completely different than who I really was. It was my missing link I had been searching for since a very young age. From that point on my only focus day in and day out was to get as high and drunk as possible. As you can imagine my life spiraled out of control very quickly. My family tried to help as much as possible, they were worried sick about me day in and day out. My parents tried to help by sending me to different treatment centers between the ages of 22 and 28. I would only stay long enough to make my parents happy, and be able to convince them I was fine to leave. I would lie completely and promise I would stay sober this time, I would never use or drink again. I knew the second I was out the treatment center that I was going right back to it. My parents weredevastated every single time I would relapse, every single time my using and drinking would get worse and worse. My parents had lost all hope that their son would ever be able to return to a life free of drugs and alcohol. 

Then one late night in the spring of 2019 I was arrested yet once again for DUI. I was taken to jail and had to make that phone call my parents knew was coming for some time. My Mother bailed me out. I will never forget what she said to me. She said “Stuart you are going down a path that only leads to incarceration or death, I cannot my child to either of those.” The look in her eyes and power behind her words absolutely terrified me. I felt and saw the pain I was personally causing my parents for so long. I did what I promised myself I would never do again, I volunteered to go to treatment yet once again.

When I arrived to Jaywalker in the Spring of 2019, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I was 1,200 miles from home, had no friends here and I came into the situation “blind” I hadn’t done any research into a place I was going to be spending three months at. My parents put in the all of the work to get me here. I mean everything.  From the second my Dad dropped me off, I thought  to myself I’d pull the same trick I had in the past. Be here for a month, sober up enough to convince my parents I was fixed. Then be on my way back to the lifestyle I had been living for so long.  After that said month some really drastic changes happened within myself. I began to listen to what councilors were telling me, I listened to own thoughts, and followed through with the actions I said I would take to improve my mental health. I developed a sense of community with my fellow clients in recovery, and most importantly made some truly caring and compassionate friendships that I still have to this day. Oddly enough my one month plan went out the window and before I knew it I was here for three months. After the three months I decided to continue into the secondary phase of Jaywalker called Solutions for another three months. Then something even crazier happened I willing committed to Sober Living and Out Patient for 3 months with Jaywalker. I must of really enjoyed it because I even asked to stay an extra month in Sober Living! For the 10 months I was enrolled here I was always surrounded by friends, and had a very solid support system from them and all the staff here at Jaywalker.  After completing all the programs at Jaywalker I am proud to say I am an Alumni of this wonderful place! It is amazing the help and time Jaywalker gives to its programs Alumni. Whether it be weekly dinners, taking us to sporting events, or just a good old BBQ, with solid sober guys. You meet people who came through a few months before you or years before you, but you all have one thing in common, this amazing place helped you find who you were meant to be in sobriety.

What had a huge impact on my recovery program outside of Jaywalker, was the A.A. community here in Carbondale. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. People from all walks and ages of life, gathered together nightly to offer each other support and insight for long term recovery. It’s an amazing group of sober misfits that don’t always know what’s going on, but always seem to make it work for the best.  The beginning of my second month here I found myself a wonderful A.A. Sponsor.  He began working  with me weekly on my time to take me through the 12 Steps of A.A. He would sit down and listen to me cry, laugh, get angry, be happy and would always lend a hand whenever I needed one.  He never once passed judgement towards me, only guidance and support.  He is and always will be a huge support in my recovery program. I am proud to carry the A.A. message he taught me, and teach it to fellow new comers that come to Jaywalker, and the sober community here.

On that late night in April when I got a DUI, I saw it as curse at first. Now I see it as a complete blessing in disguise. It led me to find the true missing link I was always looking for. It wasn’t drugs and alcohol. It was that sense of community, compassion, friendship, and sobriety. All of which I found with Jaywalker and through A.A.

Best Regards.

Stuart A. 

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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