At Covenant Community Inc., we are proud to be a step in our residents' journeys to recovery. Knowing the challenges they face on their journey, we have taken this section to honor their successes. It is our hope that their stories of hope may provide inspiration to those who are still struggling, as well as help remove the stigma surrounding addiction. These stories are written in their own words. Some of the names have been changed in order to respect their privacy.
I am college educated. I was head chef and a General Manager for a large restaurant chain. Married for eleven years with a house, cars, and motorcycles.
I was always a heavy drinker. Usually a bottle every other day with pints thrown in. I got divorced, lost my house, lost my cars. I was drinking very heavily, close to a gallon every day. I eventually lost my apartment and only had my motorcycle. I parked it. My family stopped talking to me. I was arrested and spent time in jail. I came out with no where to go. I had a close friend who was homeless too; he taught me how to survive. I slept under a tree to get away from things. In the very cold days I scrounged for Styrofoam from building sites downtown to use as shelter. I found a parking garage where I could hide. I built a shelter to get out of the cold. It looked like it belonged there. I never had money but I always found alcohol. I would stay at shelters when I could, or on even on the street. I had lost everything I owned.
About a year in this life I was attacked. They beat me unconscious. Both my eye sockets were broken, stomach torn, spleen ripped, and I was stabbed; causing my lung to collapse. The damage was so severe on my brain that I was put in a medically-induced coma. My parents were mortified. When my mother arrived she was told I was probably going to die and if I did live I would lose my left eye and possibly have permanent brain damage. I was eventually released with few adverse effects. My mother went home and I was back on the street. I would not stop drinking.
Later that year I started having seizures. After a few dozen doctors determined it was epilepsy and that I had to stop drinking. I did not.
Some time later I had a stroke. I had stopped breathing and was given CPR by my friend until paramedics arrived. I spent more time in the hospital. I was given different meds and was told that I couldn’t drink while I was on them. I took my pills and kept drinking. I would not stop. About six months later, I had a heart attack. My family would not come. I was in the hospital for two weeks. I had surgery to repair my heart. Between the stroke and the heart attack I had lost some use of my right side; permanent nerve damage and fading use of my eyes.
The doctor explained that because of my alcohol abuse my body was shutting down, I was beginning to die.
I could no longer do my favorite pastime in life, soccer. I could not run anymore. I had nothing anymore. Everything was gone. I was a dying shell. All because I would not stop drinking.
My friend said if I didn’t change, in a year I would be dead. The doctors agreed. He finally talked me into a checking into a detox facility for a few weeks.
After the initial shaking went away, my therapist suggested I go to a rehab facility. He referred me to Covenant Community for their six month program. Something in my mind said that what everyone else was saying was true. It was this or death. So I began the program.
I was very nervous. I did not know what to expect. I did not talk much. After meeting with my counselor I thought to myself, “If I don’t drop my barriers, this is a waste of time”. So I gave everything I had into the program. I was shocked at what I became aware of. I was in such a depression. I could only function with alcohol. I was beginning to see the bigger picture. My eyes were opened. I found the classes really informative. I was learning to change and find the beauty of a sober life. Everyone on staff has a specialty in themselves that everyone can learn and use to better themselves. Through this program I have made bonds with people I would have never talked to on the outside. Covenant has taught me how to integrate into society. This program awakened me to who I used to be. I am grateful for this program and the people who go to no ends to see you succeed. I am eternally in their debt for saving my life.
This Man of Hope completed his program in November 2015. During his time at Covenant he demonstrated leadership and compassion as one of our “Level 4” house leaders. Upon graduation he moved into the Martha Sterne house and regularly returns to Covenant. We are eternally in his debt for serving as an example for our other residents. He has been sober since leaving Covenant, we could not be more proud of his accomplishments.