For a lot of us, January means a new year, a fresh start, new promises. Alfred J. started the new year with a serious wake-up call. He got his third DUI.
It started with social drinking in his early 20s just to fit in, he said. But a few drinks with friends after work slowly progressed into more excessive behavior. He was staying out all night, missing work and drinking before work.
Alfred was found passed out in a drive-thru when he received his first DUI. Then six months later, he got another. But he continued to drink, trying to cut down on his own, not yet convinced he had a problem. And over the next several years it seemed like he was getting his life together.
“I was fooling myself into thinking I was doing good because I got my license back, I got my own car, got a nice house and a good job again,” he said.
“But all the problems were still there.”
By January 2017, Alfred was back to his old partying ways, careless with drinking and driving. And when he realized that his third DUI might land him in jail, he sought treatment – but only as a “get of jail free card.”
Alfred found JourneyPure Emerald Coast, where he was greeted by a multi-disciplinary team of physicians and clinicians who provide treatment for addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. Alfred said his perception of treatment and what led him there quickly began to change. Within the first week, he said, he began to realize he didn’t just have a drinking problem.
“It wasn’t just the alcohol. It was self-centeredness, depression, egotism,” said Alfred. “It was everything else that I didn’t even think about. I was thinking I came in here to stop drinking and then next thing you know I’m realizing all the problems I had deep down inside.”
Through his individual and group therapy sessions, he began to understand his deep-rooted issues with anger and depression and how to deal with them in a healthy way. He came to the realization that if he didn’t change, he was going to not only hurt himself but put others at risk too.
So he dove in, took the program seriously and says he became a “silent leader,” amongst the group. He would encourage others to listen to the staff and make the effort.
“I would tell people it is what you make it. If you go in there just hoping that it will fix you, you’re going to be a little bit disappointed. You have to make the effort to do something as well.”
After 50 days in treatment, Alfred was ready to take everything he learned and put it into action outside the facility walls. He said JourneyPure gave him the tools to deal with everyday challenges. He has learned to control his anger continues to stay sober. He is humbled to be an inspiration to others, saying people are looking to him now for advice.
“In a million years, I never thought that could be possible – that I could help someone change their life for the better,” he said. “If you had told me 6 months ago that even this one little thing I say could save somebody’s life, I’d say you’re crazy but now I have the chance to help someone and that’s an awesome feeling.”