I arrived at MARR from Clearwater, Florida in July 2011 and must admit, I was somewhat leery of spending three (very long) months in rehab. After all, I had endured 28 days of addiction treatment in 2007, and while I was sober for about 11 months, it did not “stick.”
My sister, Lynn, dropped me off at MARR — she was at her wits’ end. Lynn and the rest of my family had been flying to Clearwater constantly to intervene and take me to physicians and hospitals for detox, all to no avail. I was in a relentless state of relapse and truly a burden to my family.
Of course, I was skeptical that another rehab facility would be able to help me overcome my addiction. Nevertheless, the fact that my family was giving up on me gave me a fresh perspective and outlook toward recovery.
Upon check-in, Todd Valentine was the first person with whom I had contact. Todd immediately helped me feel welcome and safe at the beginning of this frightening new experience. I didn’t know what to expect, except that I would be living with five strangers in a strange city for the next 90-plus days.
My new roommates welcomed me warmly; however, they were disappointed that I was not a skilled chef (because they couldn’t cook either!). A majority of my therapeutic community and I quickly became good friends, and we depended on each other for things at which each of us excelled. Eventually, I met all the other MARR staff members, who also made me feel comfortable and thought I might be “salvageable.”
Being a part of MARR brought me back to my spiritual self, as I had fallen away from the Catholic church about six years prior. It felt good to be reconnected to the Church, and I also started taking more interest in our daily AA meetings. I realized how important and necessary AA was for my sobriety, and I recognized how my poor attendance to meetings in the past contributed to my relapse. I obtained a great sponsor and soon came to realize how important he was in my recovery.
With the help of my community, residential manager, therapeutic counselors, family and others, I have been able to maintain sobriety for over a year now. The first year was rather scary and uncertain at times, as I had never made it that far before. But today, for the first time ever, I honestly feel that I can stay sober. I could not have made it without MARR. The staff members were — and still are — dedicated to my recovery. I believe they genuinely support and care for their clients, and would do most anything to help others. That really made the difference for me.
Although my family members were so close on giving up on me, I am now reunited with all of them. I truly owe them my life, as I was “one day from death,” according to one nurse. I am the happiest I have ever been, and I have a new lease on life. I thank God each day for those who have stood by me throughout this journey. I am sober by His grace.