Recovery Story of the Month – January 2023

Jan 3, 2023 | Stories

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.

Latest Stories

Recovery Story of the Month – November 2023

Recovery Story of the Month – November 2023

I've been coming into treatment at FCA for about 7 months now. I was taking around 20mg per day of Xanax, and thinking I would never been able to get off of it. In the beginning I didn't even want to get off of it. But I slowly started to sober up and go through my...

read more
Recovery Story of the Month – August 2023

Recovery Story of the Month – August 2023

Hi, my name is Tina Gill and I have been in Recovery since March 16th of 2023. I ended up at St. Joseph’s with a bleeding ulcer due to my use. While at St. Josephs I was told about the Sherpa Program. On March 21st I met with Rebekah Silverman of Sherpa. Rebekah...

read more
Recovery Story of the Month – June 2023

Recovery Story of the Month – June 2023

Hello my name is Michael Mccowie and I'm a recovering addict. My drug of choice was cocaine & crack, and now I am 109 days clean and sober as of today and I've never felt better. I never realized or should I say remembered how amazing and rewarding life can be and...

read more
Recovery Story of the Month – May 2023

Recovery Story of the Month – May 2023

by Mary K. CRPA Thrive Suffolk Hello! My name is Mary K, I am a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate/Recovery Coach. I have been with FCA for 9 months and am the Housing Peer for THRIVE Suffolk. I have been in this field for 5 years, and absolutely love this career. I...

read more
Recovery Story of the Month – April 2023

Recovery Story of the Month – April 2023

Hi my name is Mike H. and on October 1st 2022 I attempted suicide due to numerous things including alcohol. I ended up in the psychiatric ward at NUMC for two months. Two weeks prior to being discharged Rebekah from Sherpa came to NUMC to sit down and speak to me....

read more
Recovery Story of the Month – February 2023

Recovery Story of the Month – February 2023

As a Recovery Peer Advocate, it is an amazing honor to be a part of someone’s recovery journey. Not long ago, a woman called THRIVE at almost 2 months sober, struggling to not drink. She did not have any tools in place and expressed she was on the brink of...

read more