“Relapse changed my perspective”
Nick is 35 years old. Born in Laurel, MD, he had a good childhood. Raised by both of his parents and with help from his grandmother, Nick grew up secure.
After graduating from high school Nick started working in the restaurant business, during which time he first tried alcohol with a group of friends. A fiercely private young man, Nick was coping with a lot of complicated feelings, and he found that the alcohol helped him fit in. For the first time he felt comfortable. As is common , working in food service contributed immensely to his budding drinking issues due to the ease of finding alcohol. Before long Nick started consuming large amounts.
At age 20 Nick got his first DUI, which didn’t halt his drinking. He denied that he had a problem, and quickly picked up another DUI eight months later. Nick recalls, “I rolled that car off of a ramp, looked around, made sure my friends were ok, chucked the wine and waited for the police.” The shock of the accident was immense and Nick got arrested, but it was not enough to stop his attachment to alcohol. Throughout the next decade Nick’s habit turned into that of a “functional alcoholic”. Although he was not healthy,he got by.
When Nick moved to California his family was unaware ofhow bad his drinking had become. “I was out of sight, out of mind,” Nick says. “Everybody was drinking in West Hollywood, my lifestyle was accepted.My eight years in California was rinse and repeat, the insanity of doing the same things over and over.”
Eventually Nick returned to Maryland. In 2016 the downward spiral of his life reached a low point when he ended up passed out on the ground in Baltimore County. “The police woke me up and they asked if I was suicidal. I said no, but if I keep drinking like this aren’t I slowly killing myself?” They immediately took me to Harford Memorial Hospital for detox. After eight days of treatment Nick was given the opportunity to go to Helping Up Mission for a year of Spiritual Recovery. Recognizing his addiction, Nick made his way to HUM.
For eight months Nick became heavily involved in our one-year Spiritual Recovery Program, eventually becoming an Intern in the Philanthropy Department. Nick says, “I was a yes man, a model client, helping where I could and frankly doing too much and not working on my own recovery”. Overly confident, Nick thought, “ I got this.” One day he developed the idea that “Maybe I was a heavy drinker and not an alcoholic,” and went out and bought some vodka. One was never enough, and relapse was imminent.
When men are asked to leave the program for violating the rules, they must wait three months to reapply. Nick settled into a sober living home, but his addiction got the best of him. “I felt that there was unfinished business, that I left [HUM] too soon,” Nick recalls. After four months, Nick reentered the Mission and decided to do things differently. “I needed to work on my character defects and start paying more attention to my own recovery,” he says. “I don’t just call this a Spiritual Recovery Program, I call it a place of opportunity, you can work on anything while you are here and Helping Up has the tools to do so.”
Today, Nick has connected more with his Higher Power, and makes prayer and daily inventory a part of his routine. “I check my mind, body, and soul to keep up with the small changes and triggers that I experience. This really is helpful to my recovery. This is not just a recovery model, but a good life choice for all human beings.”
Finally, Nick states, “Even though I believe that relapse does not have to be a part of recovery, for me it had to be. Relapse changed my perspective and “I am grateful that HUM had the resources to accommodate me after my relapse, so that I was able to return and continue to make a full recovery. Others aren’t so lucky….”