Sobriety and peace seemed to elude Gerry for more than twenty-five endless years. Attending different rehabilitation facilities and then relapsing again became an unfortunate trend for him. The pattern occurred twelve different times over the course of those twenty-five years. He always admitted himself so he could recharge his energy, sober up, feel physically healthy again and appease his family, but he always remained a non-participant in his own recovery. It wasn’t until he attended ATS for the first time ten years ago that Gerry actively took a role in his recovery and rebirth. But even at that time, he freely admits, he wasn’t totally ready. The very night he completed the twenty-eight-day program, he relapsed. Eventually, ATS would make a breakthrough with Gerry, allowing him to see the insane life he was leading.

From humble and destructive beginnings, Gerry saw firsthand what addiction could do to a family. Raised by a loving and stable mother and a contradicting alcoholic father, Gerry’s mental and physical development had been stunted. His father was replaced by an emotionally abusive step-father during his early teens. At this point Gerry sought comfort and shelter outside the home in order to cope with all the mental torment his step-father imposed on him. He remembers clearly how it began: “I would escape, using alcohol to deal with going back home. It was the only tool that I could deem appropriate at the time.”

Throughout his teens and early twenties, this way of life became normal for Gerry. The unstable lifestyle eventually destroyed his marriage, leaving him to raise three boys on his own. This only compounded his already excessive drinking problems. Gerry soon turned to his mother for help, sending his children to live with her, only to join them shortly after because of his inability to manage his own life.

After countless episodes of falling back into active addiction and relocating in search of some vague elixir or cure, Gerry had a breakthrough—in the midst of a blackout in Michigan that landed him in a drunk tank in Texas. He remembers how perplexed he was: “I had no idea how I ended up there. My alcoholic nightmare whisked me away clear across the country. It was seriously alarming!” After returning home Gerry attended Dakoske Hall, and the program took root in his mindset. Finally, Gerry took an active role in his own recovery. He contributes his willingness to participate to two reasons: first, he needed to change for the survival of his family, and second, the staff at ATS really knew what he was going through. Gerry stated, “The staff at Dakoske Hall knew how to relate because they had been where I was now. Other facilities employed counselors that didn’t have a personal experience with addiction. They were just regurgitating things they had read in books, and that constructed a [mental] wall for me. The counselors at ATS weren’t citing facts or statistics that they’d read in books, but instead they were giving accounts of what they’d physically lived through. They approached me like family members would, structuring the program with a family dynamic that allowed me to feel relief and trust.” For those reasons Gerry was able to finally open up and address his emotional and psychological issues that had tormented him for years. His revelation was realizing that alcohol was never the solution to his anguish—having a spiritual connection was his personal cure.

Today, Gerry breathes a little bit easier, living one day at a time, sober and at peace. He shared, “I can make eye contact with that reflection in the mirror today and truly not feel disgusted with the person glimmering back at me!” He is currently repairing his family relationships, especially with his sons. He also takes pride in his work again, noticing that people see the quality of his work and acknowledge the responsibility that he is willing to take on. He receives nothing but positive evaluations and feedback from employers and colleagues. Happily, he said, “Things happen for reasons designed by a higher power! My higher power placed me with ATS and certain people within the organization to rebuild my spirituality and family relationships. For these specific reasons, I will never stop being immensely grateful!”