Voices of Recovery
“Hello my Name is Trevor Q. I am a Brother Christopher.
I grew up in Rye NY, had an amazing upbringing, was involved in sports, started working at the age of 16, received an academic scholarship to Bryant University and yet somehow by the age of 19 my life reflected nothing of the future that I was thought to have. From 19-25 my self-worth, happiness, integrity, purpose, and ability to love and function as a responsible person were nonexistent.
Fast-forward through several arrests, small incarcerations, countless experiences that reinforced the idea that I was a worthless person, and pain so great that suicide looked like a decent retirement plan, I bring you to the place where Grace begins to enter my life, and it all started as it does for many of us in recovery by saying yes to help.
On January 11th 2011 I arrived at St. Christopher’s Inn with the luggage that so many of us carry–shame, guilt, self-centered fear, anger. Unfortunately, I arrived without much hope or motivation. Now if you know St. Christopher’s Inn then you are well aware of the motto that every man hears, “You are a man worthy of love and respect”- and most importantly, it is delivered sincerely and repeatedly.
How do you instill hope in those that are hopeless? Or give courage to those that are faithless? What is it that happens on that holy mountain?? It might be an impossible feat to explain to you the intensity of the changes that occurred in me at St.Christopher’s Inn because it requires the belief in miracles, the acknowledgment of grace, and recognition of the Power of Love. But before I leave I would like to attempt to share what your donations have the power to do for men like me and our families.
If you could for a minute, close your eyes and try to recall how it felt when you bought your first car, or moved in to your first apartment. If you can, I want you to remember that feeling of getting on the Deans list, graduating from school, or when you landed that dream job that you worked so hard for, or going back to school to further your education.
Here are the things that matter most to me: being there for my mother at her greatest time of need; having my father rely on me because he trusts and admires the man I am; attending my first parent teacher conference which I did last week; being called dad for the first time; not worrying that my son is going to see me drunk or high; helping others along their journey of recovery; the privilege of giving a sermon at my local church; finding a purpose in life that no circumstance can take away; and truly accepting what they told me 5 years ago on that mountain–that I am man worthy of love and respect.
During my course of treatment at St. Christopher’s Inn my insurance ran out after 60 days and it was the donations of benefactors like you that made it possible for me to stay another 55 days. So my mother thanks you; my father thanks you; my grandparents thank you; and I thank you for your life changing generosity. ”
“My name is Daniel, and I am a survivor of drug addiction.My dad is 26 years sober, and his journey began at St Christopher’s Inn. It’s funny how life comes full circle because I stand before you today with one year of sobriety that started at St. Christopher’s Inn.
Unfortunately, my story is not unique. I was an athlete living life and having fun. I graduated Yorktown high school and went on to play lacrosse for Binghamton, where I suffered an injury. It was then my life changed. I started abusing drugs, and my behaviors and actions were no longer my own but the actions of a desperate addict.
From January 4th, 2012 through October, 2014, I was in and out of over 24 addiction treatment facilities, but I was never fully committed. I believe Oct 22, 2014 was the first day of my true recovery—the day I first arrived at St. Christopher’s Inn.
On my sixth day there, I tried to leave. I called whoever I could, and asked them to come get me. But nurses and doctors I had never met before were able to convince me to stay. Six days turned in seven; Seven days turned into two weeks, and four months later, I was nervous as hell to leave the place! St Christopher’s Inn, a long-term treatment facility, literally gave me a place to start over from scratch. They healed me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Rich, my counselor, was a guardian angel; he believed in me and built me up. Father Bill tapped into my heart and helped me reestablish my relationship with God. The whole staff and community made me feel worthy and deserving. They treated me like a person, and they taught me to love myself again. They healed my heart and brought me back home to my family. I am now a person whose opinion is respected, and I am a man worthy of love and respect.
In the last year I have been able to find passion in a new career as a financial planner. The life that has been re-born inside of me could not have been done without the encouragement from my Brothers Christopher. They have filled my heart with an amount of gratitude that has only motivated me to give it back in return. All I want now is to help people.”
“My name is Drew K. I am now 30 years old. When I was 24 I was DOA—Dead On Arrival. I woke up laying on my back barely able to breath on a gurney in what appeared to be a hospital. Lights above me were so bright I had a brief moment of fear that I’d died. But then . . . “Why is my right hand strapped to this metal bar? Why can’t I breathe?” I put my left hand up to my mouth and pulled an intubation tube out of my throat, and aspirated my lungs 100% in all areas. They said the burning and scaring of my lungs hurt a lot, but I don’t remember.I woke up four days later, this time with my family around me, in tears. I had no idea what happened. I had no idea why I was there. I was told that I was revived from a flat line after overdosing on opiates and aspirating my lungs partially during the overdose. The doctors told me I was in kidney and liver failure, and was kept in a medically induced coma for 9 and a half days because I couldn’t breathe for myself. I had machines keeping me alive. My family was broken.
When I woke up, I wanted to leave. “Let me out. I’m not a drug addict. I didn’t mean to overdose. I’m not suicidal. I’m leaving.” It wasn’t until my father sat with me alone and looked at me with the most sobering and true eyes anyone has ever given me and said, “We’re going to lose you. You will not come back from this again. We do not want to lose you, son.” Those words have never left my mind—the way he said them, the seriousness, the matter-of-factness by which he explained my predicament was astounding.
The hospital tried to kick me out but my arrangements had not been confirmed yet with St. Christopher’s Inn (SCI). My dad fought them. He won. I was allowed to stay at the hospital on their upper floor (with the geriatric surgery recovery patients) for two more weeks till my bed was ready and I was physically capable of walking. Since I was in bed for 9.5 days my muscles had atrophied quite a bit and I needed to teach them how to walk all over.
I arrived at SCI and I was completely floored with the location, the Friars, and the admission. The process was so “It’s on YOU,” that I was forced to have pride. I was forced to find the hope in the situation because of all the other patients that were in the admissions office “working.” The kitchen was where I made my home working for more than two months. I learned how to listen to someone I didn’t want to listen to, tell me something I didn’t want to hear, every day, and I had to bite my tongue and do what I was told. That was a lesson I had either ignored from my parents or forgotten entirely. The kitchen gave it back in spades. Listen first. Period.
The art class. Well, I can’t say enough about the art therapist. He was one of the major reasons I was able to pull it together when I relapsed. His explanation about what addiction is: “the lack of feeling; the drive to be numb; the lack of experience; and the acceptance that comes with it.” I cannot thank him enough and I cannot explain enough how much his lessons got through to me. I have stopped myself from drinking because of his one-liners in my head several times.
I was the choir director at SCI for a number of weeks before I left. I learned how to lead without being “better than anyone.” I learned from Fr. Bill how to get people to listen and follow direction. I learned how to respect my elders again. I learned the value of money because of the time we woke up and started our chores for no money, but the right to stay, the right to eat. Without the people and the circumstances of SCI there would have been yet another false bottom. Another cliff to fall off of. My counselor and Fr. Bill made me see the value of my life again.
Everything wasn’t perfect. I relapsed when I left. My slide was short. I had my first child and I couldn’t handle the stress at first. I looked to alcohol to help me cope. It made it worse. I literally went home at 2 AM and walked over to my closet and put my cruddy string tied to my Brothers Christopher cross back around my neck and I never looked back again.
The result: I have been sober for 3 and a half years. I have been able to find and hold a job and then start my own extremely successful painting business. I have two beautiful daughters who are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2, and they are the light of my life. I have been happily married for four years to a woman for which I have the utmost respect, and we are about to buy our first house together. I have a support system that extends farther than I could ever need. All of these things—the hope, the financial freedom from my parents and family, the entrepreneurship and drive to provide would never have been there if it weren’t for St. Christopher’s Inn and the people there who touched my heart.”
After years of failed attempts at sobriety, and the loss of everything and everyone I ever cared for, my life seemed over. St. Christopher’s Inn saved my life—gave me a new purpose. I have been in more treatment centers then I care to think about. St. Christopher’s was not like any other. The love, respect, and spirituality has renewed my faith in God. I am reborn. I am now living in Florida; I am 17 months sober; I am employed; I attend meetings and church; I am happy today. I will always be indebted to St. Christopher’s Inn. If you want to recover from this devastating disease, let St. Christopher’s Inn set you on your path.
I thought it necessary to write this email expressing my absolute gratitude and appreciation to you all at St. Christopher’s Inn. I love you guys in a way that only a Brother Christopher knows. Not only have I continued to maintain an abstinent lifestyle, I am a certified recovery peer advocate, finishing my Certified Alcoholic & Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) program in May, and headed to Hunter College to start my Master’s program in the Fall. I am consistently making meetings because my recovery has to come first. I look back and think about the walks on the mountain and the many conversations with my counselor who absolutely instilled this trust in a process that was such a struggle for me when I arrived. I felt safe, and I felt like I could learn to love myself again. I thank you for those tools. I am definitely a man worthy of love and respect.