The stories on this page are from those who are going through recovery. This is their page.
What's really great about this video is that a client at Harris Springs is accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
A New Found Freedom
by Polly Manning
I had accomplished 17 years of sobriety, but I had zero recovery. It was November of 2007, I was miserable and lonely and one day I cried out to God and asked, “God, why can’t I have a healthy elationship?” God replied, “If you want a healthy relationship, you have to get healthy, you have to do what they have been telling you all along, you have to get a sponsor and do the steps.”
My 17 years of sobriety had been filled with isolation, fear, despair, anger, resentments and misery. I thought that that was normal and I could not comprehend how a sponsor or working the 12 steps could help me overcome any of that. But just being sober was not enough anymore and I finally became willing to go to any lengths to find out if there was a solution to my despair.
In meetings I had always heard, “find somebody who has what you want”, and so my search began. I began listening to other women in trying to find someone who had what I wanted, but with my ego in control, I didn’t believe that anybody had what I wanted. Finally in January of 2008 I was getting ready for church one morning when I realized that the person I had been searching for
had been there all along, she went to my church. Not only were our stories similar, but we both have daughters who battle the disease of addiction, and our daughters both have son’s who share the same name and are only 1 month apart in age. It was definitely a God thing.
We began working the steps slowly and methodically. God gave my sponsor and amazing insight into me and if she felt like I had not done a step thoroughly, she would make me go back and start over. I didn’t mind because the minute I began working the steps I began feeling the relief that I had been searching for so long and I knew that she could see things in me that I couldn’t.
A year later in January of 2009 when I was in the middle of working my 6th step, I went to visit a church that I had never been to before.At church I met a very nice man who told me that he was getting ready to be deployed to Afghanistan for a year. Although I was not attracted to the man, I felt very comfortable with him and I thought to myself “I will be friends with this guy for years to come.” So when he asked, I gave him my phone number.
I was out of work at the time and the next morning after meeting the man, he called me and told me that they were looking for someone to replace him at his place of employment while he was deployed. He told me that he worked for a non-profit substance abuse treatment agency and that his job was to work with “at risk” kids. He asked me if I would be interested in taking over his
position. I told him that I was not qualified to do anything like that, but he insisted that I come in to meet his boss and recommended that I shadow him for a few days so that I could see what he does.
I had nothing better to do so I went and met his boss and began shadowing him. I found that I really loved the job and the kids, and I did get hired, another God thing. During the time that I was shadowing the man, I was swept off my feet by his kindness and charm. He told me everything that I wanted to hear and agreed with everything that I said. Before I knew it, I had fallen in love. He quickly proposed and because he was being deployed we quickly got married, we got married 8 weeks to the day from when we met.
He went off to war and I continued the working the steps and releasing myself from the bondage of my past. The experience of working the steps was one of the most profound experiences of my life, the further along I got, the more free I felt. I no longer felt the need to isolate and hide who I eally was. I came to accept myself just as I am and accept where I had been imy life. I learned that all of my past experiences made me who I am today and that I can use those experiences to help others overcome similar experiences.
It was an awesome journey into myself and I look forward to continue working the steps throughout my life. I finished the steps one week before my husband returned home in March of 2010.
While my husband was deployed, in addition to working the steps, I began reading and attending seminars to learn about PTSD and other challenges that my new husband might experience as a result of going to war. I wanted to be prepared to support him ub whatever challenges he might have upon returning home from a war zone. What I didn’t realize, is that while he was over there dodging bullets, I would be over here cleaning up the aftermath that he left behind from his unprincipled lifestyle.
Soon after he left for Afghanistan I found out that basically everything that he had told me about himself was a lie. For instance he told me that he had 5 years of sobriety, but he didn’t even have 5 weeks. I did not know this man at all; I had fallen in love with an illusion. But with him being on the other side of the planet, I realized that there was nothing I could do about the lies, I would have to wait until he came home and allow him to get honest and make things right. But when he got home in March of 2010, the only thing he could tell me was, “If I would have told you the truth you wouldn’t have loved me”, or the classic excuse, “I was going to war, what did it matter, I didn’t think I was coming home anyway”.
Aside from the lies that he told me before he left, he continued to tell lies after he came home. It was one of the oddest behaviors I’ve ever experienced. I would catch him telling a lie when the truth was easier. One of my challenges was to try and figure out how much of his odd behavior was a result of PTSD and how much of it was a smoke screen to deflect from the fact that he is a compulsive liar.
After he was home for about four months he realized that he could no longer keep lying and get away with it, so he came up with a way to escape, he claimed that he had back injury from the war and he began taking pain medication. Around that same time, my grandson asked if he could come and live with my husband and me. He said he couldn't handle living with his mother’s (my daughter) drinking, drugs and anger anymore.
Before I knew it, I had two individuals living in my home both who had severe mental and emotional issues. Every day became a bigger challenge than the day before. As things became crazier by the day at home, I began going to more meetings, reading more literature, praying more and sponsoring other women. But no matter what I did, I could not only could I not stop the insanity at home, nor could I remove myself emotionally from the insanity. It began to take its toll on me and I became extremely angry and resentful. Why would God put me in this situation after I had done everything that he told me to do?
By Feb 2011, one day at school, my grandson (10 yrs old) told another student that he wanted to kill himself. Legally we had to take him to the hospital; he was put on a legal hold and was sent to an inpatient mental health treatment center. By the time they released him, they had him on several anti-psychotic drugs which we eventually weaned him off. Then in March, my husband finally admitted that he didn’t need the drugs he was taking and he went to a facility to detox from the 300 pills of morphine, oxcodone and lortabs that he had been taking each month for more than 8 months.
After all that, we all began going to counseling and I thought with a little work everyone would be ok, but no. They both have such severe emotional issues that I felt like a Band-Aid trying to hold back a dam of water. I kept telling myself, “just do the next right thing and it will all work out”. I might have been doing the “next right thing” but I was doing it with anger in my heart, so it became the “wrong thing”.
The tension in our home was so think you could cut it with a knife and as the months went by, it continued to get worse. By the time August of 2011 arrived, I had given up all hope for both of them. I didn’t want to turn my back on either one of them, but I couldn’t stand the thought of living one more day with either one of them. I had to find a way out; my solution was to kill myself. I didn’t have a gun which would have been quick and painless, all I had was a bottle of lortab that a Doctor had given me for the migraine headaches that I had been having. My fear was that the lortab wouldn’t kill me, but only make me sick and I would wake up in a hospital. But I thought that if I mixed the lortab with alcohol, it would do the job. So, on August 11th 2011, I went and sat on a barstool and drank my first drink in 21 years. By the time I got to my 3rd drink, I began thinking that I should call into work so that nobody would come looking for me.
My boss instantly knew that something was wrong and she asked me where I was at. I told her and she came and set next to me at the bar while I had one more drink and then she took me to my sponsor’s house where I spent the next 4 days, going to AA meetings, going to church, praying, and reading. It was a very calm and healing time and while I was there I gained the courage to go home and ask my husband for a divorce.
When I got home, after a lot of discussion, my husband finally agreed to a trial separation. We were trying to figure out a way to separate with the least amount of financial impact on both of us and we had decided that he would move by the end of Sept. Then on Sept 1st, I was work at when a friend in recovery called, I was telling her more about the ongoing saga between my husband and I when she said “this has to stop and before I hang up the phone, I am going to pray for you that God gives you a clear quick answer about what you should do because you cannot continue living like this”. She prayed for me and we hung up. Later that night when I got home from work my husband and I got into a heated argument and he became physically violent with me, the result was, he was hauled away in handcuffs.
I know it sounds weird, but I got my clear quick answer that ight. If he had not of gotten violent then I would still be trying to work things out with him. But the minute he laid his hands on me, I knew that it was over. The first few weeks that he was gone I was so filled with anger and resentment that I couldn’t stand myself, so my sponsor recommended that I do a 4th step on the entire marriage right up to the time he was hauled away. After I completed the 4th step I went to her house where I did the 5th step with her. After that we both prayed for him and we set fire to the paper that I had written my 4th step on. As the paper went up in flames, my anger and resentments began to fade away and then I was able to see my part and take responsibility for what I had done in the marriage.
After my husband left, I thought that my grandson and I would be ok. I could finally give him the attention that he needs and get him feeling more secure and stable, but he wasn’t having it. He has lived with chaos his whole life and when things settled down after my husband left my grandson became very uncomfortable and began creating chaos. Finally my son and daughter in-law stepped in to help. I have no idea what the future holds for my grandson, all I can do is be there for him and try to do “the next right thing”with love in my heart. When our disease is active, those of us with the disease of alcoholism and addiction have no idea how much we hurt the people that we love the most. My daughter never intentionally hurt her own son, but as a result of her disease he will always carry the scars of the collateral damage.
When I got sober in 1990 I was living in government housing on welfare with two kids and no education. After getting sober I went to school, went to work and moved out of the projects. I raised my kids by myself and never asked for help from anyone. Recent experiences have taught me that it’s ok to admit where I am wrong and ask for help when I need it. Accepting help from other people and family members has been one of the most humbling experiences I ever had.
I have no idea what the future is going to bring, but I feel like I have been delivered from the depths of hell and I am grateful that I survived it, but more than that I know that God was with me the whole time and that I needed that experience to break my independent nature. When I took that drink on August 11th 2011 I surrendered everything. It took giving up 21 years of sobriety to truly believe in a power greater than myself. Without that experience I would still be trying to control my environment, but now I know the true meaning of “Let Go and Let God”.
This is the Beginning—Not the End
By William L. (A Client of Harris Springs Ranch rehab)
All my life I thought lack of money was the problem. I thought that if I had enough money that alcohol and drugs wouldn’t be such a problem. So I spent 37 years running around the United States drinking, drugging and chasing after a bigger check.
I’ve touched many lives—mostly in a horrible hateful way.
In my twenties, I could always fall back on mom for a place to stay. I also found that church was a good place to get sympathy and help.
In my thirties, using my family had played out but I still had the church when I wanted to use it. I was also spending time out in the streets, in jail and in treatment centers.
I thought this was God’s fault that I had been singled out to live this miserable life. I rarely got angry at alcohol—it was usually God or someone else.
I was in legal trouble many times and I asked God to help and He did but he wouldn’t let me drink and I thought that was unfair.
In the last several years, there’s been a lot of isolation and a lot of binges. Many lonely mornings, broke and no whereto go. As I’m thinking that this is God’s fault, I’m also asking Him for help.
Back to my brainstorm that I just don’t have enough money: I came to Las Vegas homeless and drinking in June of 2009. In a short time I accumulated thousands of dollars. I thought, “Yea”, God’s FINALLY catching on!
What happened after that is I found that enough money won’t make me powerful over alcohol or make my life manageable. The year’s salary was gone in 48 hours and I had taken in so much alcohol that I almost died of the poison. As I crawled to detox I wanted to die.
Halfway there my Lord spoke to me and said,“This is the beginning not the end.” This gave me the hope I needed to get started.
People that care about me got me into Harris Springs Ranch where I’ve been for 2 months.
It’s amazing that Christ demanded ownership of me and got it!