Recovery Story of the Month - January 2023


An Open Letter About My Addiction and Recovery

by Timothy P. Smith


I am 64 years old, divorced, and the father of four amazing children.  My addiction over the last 40-something years is beer.  My wife tried to help on numerous occasions over the past twenty years, but I thought that I was smarter than everybody else, and I didn’t realize or want to admit that I had a drinking problem.


I divorced 12-13 years ago and lost my job a few months into 2022.  I did “odds and ends” to make do but was sliding down steeper paths than usual and drinking more daily.  Because of COVID and lack of money, I moved from apartment to apartment (three times in six months).  Finally, I reached out to one of my daughters who lives out of state and had conversations with my other three children, including 2 boys who stated that anything was possible and that I could relocate out of state, but I had to change one thing in my life:  I couldn’t go to any of their homes or apartments if I was going to continue to drink!


I thought about this for days, but it really was an easy answer.  I lost the love of my life because of drinking.  I finally decided that I was not going to lose the love and relationships I have with my four children, a daughter-in-law, and a soon-to-be son-in-law, and a second daughter-in-law, as well as grandchildren, God willing, in the near future.


I have never been one to ask for help, but I reached out to my ex-wife, and she put me in contact with someone who could help.  I had a talk with a counselor who put me in contact with a gentleman named Jerry, a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate with FCA’s Sherpa Program.  Jerry was, and continues to be, an instrumental part of my support system and helped put me on a path to Recovery. 


When I initially connected with the Sherpa Program, Jerry and I discussed my options to begin my journey in Recovery.  I decided that Inpatient Treatment was the best option, however, I did not have health insurance.  Jerry put me in touch with CHAMP.  Through CHAMP, I was connected immediately with a CNN Insurance Navigator, who was able to get me health insurance within an hour.  From there, Sherpa assisted me with getting linked to Inpatient Treatment upstate. 


I spent five weeks upstate, one in the hospital for high blood pressure, and four at an Inpatient Treatment facility.  The experience was eye opening to say the least.  I started believing with every passing day that I could live a life free of alcohol.  Sober for 39 days after my 28 days in Inpatient Treatment, I came back to Long Island, where I currently live in a sober home on the south shore.  Currently, I am just about 12 weeks sober and making plans for the near future to relocate out of state with my family. 


I want to emphasize that none of this would have been possible without the help of Jerry and the other members of the Sherpa Team, CHAMP, and the love and support of my amazing family.  As I stated earlier, no bottle of beer was, or is, worth losing the amazing family that I am blessed with! 


In closing, I think Recovery is like anything else in life: if you put your mind to it, and it’s something you really want, it won’t be easy, but it’s obtainable if you put in the time, effort, and have an amazing support group.  I have a support group with which I am truly blessed.  I have always been a church going Catholic and attend Mass weekly and continue to pray daily for my continued good fortune – God Bless.


Special thanks to Jerry and Eileen and the Sherpa Team, CHAMP, and to my family: Jude, Matthew, Patrick, Eva, Megan, Sara Kate, Eric, and Ally.



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