Jennifer P.Sobriety date: December 11, 2008, at age 42
"I was homeless in Los Angeles, drinking and doing lots of drugs, and nobody even knew where I was. Two years later, I am a home health nurse in St. Louis."
How it was: I had been drinking since I was 13 years old, and smoked pot daily from the same age. After quitting work as a nurse, I had cashed out my 401(K) account and spent the money on crystal meth, GHB, ketamine - you name it. Finally I was homeless in an alley in Los Angeles, without a cell phone. I found a friend who was willing to call my family, who did an intervention. A therapist recommended Harris House to my family.
At Harris House: I don't remember much of the first three weeks, except that I cried a lot and went through detox. People were encouraging, but I knew nothing about the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or the disease of addiction. I did learn that this disease runs in families - I have a grandfather who died of alcoholism, two uncles in recovery, and a brother who has been through treatment a couple of times. The whole of Harris House is a great place to recover.
The Women's House long-term residential program: After graduating from the 28-day program, I moved next door to the women's house, and I don't know that I would have stayed sober if I had not been pushed to do that. I was far removed from the real world, and the structure there kept me focused on recovery. I went to Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings, got a sponsor, and worked the steps. I got a job as an office manager for a therapist. My family became involved and supportive,
How it is now: I am a home health nurse, which is much less stressful than being a nurse in the ER. I go to at least three meetings per week, and continue to work with my sponsor. The Harris House program is good for people who need to re-enter reality slowly. I felt safe there.