Stay Involved, Stay Sober

Getting help can be a tough decision for someone struggling with addiction, but staying sober can be just as difficult if that person doesn’t have the proper recovery plan. Fairbanks has created opportunities for alumni to get involved and stay connected, because we understand how important that is to lifelong recovery. Although, our alumni have taken different paths to get here, many of their journeys have led to volunteering.

Kristine knew that the disease of addiction was stopping her from being the person she wanted to be.

“It was a long road and difficult in the beginning, but I had to shut up, listen and surrender to the fact that I have a disease,” said Kristine. “I have four children and all I ever wanted to do was be a wonderful mom. Along the way, I forgot that.”

Kristine’s journey at Fairbanks began in 2010 and although she admits to struggling at the beginning, her sobriety was eventually motivated by a volunteer.

“She was there every time I came and her story touched me so much that I knew once I got serious, volunteering would be a part of my recovery,” Kristine said.

Kristine remembers anticipating when she reached 90 days of sobriety to be eligible to volunteer.

“April 19 will mark two years since I became a volunteer and that date is almost as important as my sobriety birthday because I know I couldn’t have sobriety without it,” Kristine said.

Kristine now volunteers at the Fresh Start Café, Fairbanks events and speaks to the women in the Fairbanks inpatient program.

“I volunteer because it makes the pain that I suffered worth it,” Kristine said. “It was worth being able to pay it forward and hopefully touch someone just like that volunteer touched my life.”

Jerry had a different journey to Fairbanks. He attempted sobriety multiple times, but soon went to prison due to consequences of his drug use. Jerry’s wakeup call didn’t come until the passing of his grandmother while he was behind bars. 

“I used drugs and alcohol as a crutch because I felt sorry for myself and it was the only thing to get my mind off of everything going wrong in my life,” Jerry said. “But losing my grandmother changed everything.”

Jerry successfully completed treatment in 2000 and participated in the Fairbanks Supportive Living Program for 18 months. In 2003, Fairbanks employees assisted Jerry with becoming independent and finding his own apartment.

In addition to the help of Fairbanks, Jerry joined a local church and uses his spiritual growth to help his sobriety.

“I thank God for Fairbanks because they gave me all the tools I needed and it was up to me to put them to use,” Jerry said. “I just take it one day at a time and pray to do the right thing.”

After 13 years as a volunteer, Jerry is still dedicated and catches the bus faithfully to volunteer at Fairbanks.

“Volunteering keeps me off the streets and soothes my mind to keep doing the right thing and stay sober.” Jerry said.

Although Kristine and Jerry have traveled different paths and led different lives, they both agree on the importance of volunteering and what it means to them.

“Volunteering helps you in your recovery because you are doing something to help someone else,” Jerry said. “I am thankful that I have somewhere to go and know that volunteering saved my life.”