Although an over simplification one could say that there are three broad kinds of people in recovery. First there are those poor souls who have endured the most horrific pasts and childhoods imaginable. These recovering addicts could tell stories that would rob sleep from your eyes or at least fill your sleep with nightmares. Then there are those whose childhoods while far from perfect where largely okay in the sense that they usually felt loved and cared for. Most addicts and indeed most people fall into this group. Then there are those who were raised by men and women who were nearly saints.
Jim definitely belongs in the latter group. He was raised by people who not took excellent care of his sister and himself when it came to the necessities of food, shelter, healthcare and the like but they also sacrificed to provide many of the little things that separates ordinary childhoods from extraordinary ones.
Nevertheless, owing perhaps to some dark and rebellious recess of his personality, Jim experimented with marijuana and alcohol before he even graduated grade school. Although the next thirty years were characterized by binging and repenting, and binging again he still managed to enjoy some success in both business and academia. However the first few times he sampled cocaine and crystal meth the binges got more severe and closer together until all of life was only an unending binge. Then in less than seven or so months his money, house, reputation, friends and family were all gone or mostly so.
Someone once said “there are some lessons only consequence can teach.” He began to listen to that teacher with careful attention. He went to a rehab in Riverside and later he worked there for a year before returning to grad school, this time to earn a master’s in Psychology. In October of 2012 he began working as a volunteer at the Perris Ca Salvation Army rehabilitation center, he was hired in a few months and then a few months later he was promoted to Program manager. A few years after that he was very happy to become a regular contributor to Step12/Recovery Illustrated magazine.
He loves recover in part for what it has given back to him out of all that he lost, and in part because he can once again tolerate the face in the mirror. But he loves recovery most of all because through it he learns far more than about himself, life in general and God’s mercy than he could he could ever hope to teach others.