By: William M., Transformations Alumnus, New Jersey

My name is William. That’s me – the fat guy with those 3 beautiful girls in Maui this past Christmas. One year, 2 months, and 25 days ago, my 3 beautiful girls, my family, were all scared to death of me. Once again, after almost 2 years of sobriety, the addict in me took me away from them. I was misdiagnosed for almost 3 months as I bounced from psych ward to rehab, rehab to the psych ward. I finally was blessed to land at Transformations, where the care of all the wonderful staff helped me find myself. Although I was only there for a short time, they gave me a comfortable and stable environment and allowed me to make some choices for myself. I truly believe Transformations saved my life. I relearned how to meditate, which I still do every day. I have accepted the fact that I am bipolar (thank you, Caron). I actually, for the first time in my life, took suggestions. When I left, I was terrified. But I made myself some promises, one of which was staying in touch. And we have. My biggest worry about leaving wasn’t staying sober, it was learning how to live life on life’s terms. I wondered if I would ever find, and truly know serenity.

I flew back to NJ to move into a sober living home. While there, I made one really good sober friend. We had our own meetings sometimes. “Ok,” they said, “get a home group, a sponsor, get involved.” For some reason, “Do the next right thing” kept playing in my head. I did the best I could, even though I hated my outpatient program. I meditate every morning to start my day. It helps keep me on the right track. Remembering to advocate for myself, I transferred to a different program. Transformations is a tough act to follow. I went to AA, got a sponsor, and started the steps. Long story short, my sponsor went back out. It was at this time that I decided to give NA a shot. All the while, I was meditating every day, praying, and going to meetings. I was working my job, and seeing my family as much as possible. Slowly, things started getting better. I moved back home, where I am happiest. I am now on my third and, I think, final sponsor.

I can’t say when, but one day, all of a sudden, my wife and I are getting along. We’re really talking, we’re both trying to listen harder, and it has led to both of us communicating better with each other. Talking with my daughters and being in their lives again is overwhelmingly beautiful. Honestly, truly being in the moment with them is my greatest reward. It hasn’t all been great. I lost my job in November, a month before our vacation was planned. But I stayed positive. I trusted myself and my wife as we made a plan which is being implemented. I also lost my father on August 13th. And I have stayed sober. I don’t know that I have serenity every day. The urge to use was lifted quite some time ago. I’m looking for a job. I’m thinking of becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. I’m learning every day to just get out of my own way. I’ve found that all of the possessions that had meant so much to me aren’t nearly that important today. I still get angry. I still yell, but not nearly as bad as I used to. I go to my home group every week and try to get in a meeting or 2 in between. I talk to my sponsor & we are working the steps. I read a daily devotional and meditate. I am happy & I am grateful every day. I’ve learned that being positive and looking on the bright side is such a great way to live. My wife has been telling me that for 30 years, but I had never understood or even tried, until recently.

And I will tell you all this-it is such an honor to have been chosen to be the first in the Alumni Spotlight. It’s an absolutely amazing honor and I thank you. I believe when you try to do well, wellness finds you. I must also say that I have always had a wonderful life right in front of me. I just had to stop trying to control everything and everyone around me. Once I’m settled in a new job and I get some vacation time, my long-term goal is to come back to Florida to visit. Oh and Troy? Paddleboarding will be great if we can swing it. Peace, love, happiness & recovery to all.