A story of recovery: Alex

For Alex M. life was always a little difficult. At the age of five he witnessed an unhealthy relationship between his parents who eventually divorced. Growing up, he spent time between two homes in Greenfield, Indiana with his sister and step-brothers. With little else to do he began experimenting with cigarettes and marijuana when he was just twelve years old.

After struggling with his father’s abrupt move to Florida, Alex began using drugs daily. A once promising high school football player had quickly become more interested in drugs and alcohol. Alex tried to hide his drug use from his parents, but eventually he was caught when his mom and step-dad found drugs, alcohol and paraphernalia in his bedroom.

The day after finding these items they brought Alex to Fairbanks for an assessment. At fifteen years old he was admitted to the Fairbanks Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), but after five months, Alex started using once again. The next months led to an overdose and a hospital visit. Neither even caused him to stop using, but one night he realized he needed and wanted help.

On May 18, 2011 Alex came back to Fairbanks and was admitted to rehab as an adolescent. He believed this would be different. When it was time for him to leave the adolescent unit he knew he wasn’t ready to go yet.

“I wanted to be a responsible person and live a new life,” said Alex. “I knew if I went home I wouldn’t have the structure I needed.”

Alex approached the manager of HOWSE, the adolescent sober living program at Fairbanks, and asked if she would consider letting him live there while he continued his recovery. She and the HOWSE community agreed.

Alex lived in HOWSE for over three months, and then moved to the Supportive Living Program (SLP) for adults at Fairbanks. While a resident in the supportive living programs, Alex also transitioned from the adolescent recovery management group to the adult men’s recovery management group. In recovery management, Alex received the tools he needed to live a life free of drugs and alcohol.

Today he attends five support meetings a week, does service work for the recovery community and talks with his sponsor daily. He has earned his GED and works 35 hours a week at a local restaurant.

“Life is valuable and when I was using, I wasn’t treating it like it was,” remarked Alex.

According to Alex, every aspect of his life is better. His relationships with his friends and family are now based on love and respect. Alex is excited about his new life in recovery and looks forward to enrolling in Ivy Tech soon. His goal is to one day become an architect, but for now he is living clean and sober one day at a time.