I Was Hopeless

I Was Hopeless

By Rich J., Cumberland Heights Alumnus

At the table was a small piece of paper that read, 'Everything is going to be OK.' But I wasn’t OK, not yet.

At the table was a small piece of paper that read, ‘Everything is going to be OK.’ But I wasn’t OK, not yet.

Still Waters is a 12-Step immersion program where AA and NA principles of recovery are taught using approved literature, fellowship, group discussions, lectures and 12-Step meetings.  Richard J., a recent Still Waters alumnus, shared his courageous story with Cumberland Heights.

I made my way to Cumberland Heights on a greyhound bus from Baltimore. I was too strung out and confused to understand how strung out and confused I really was. I struggled through detox at Cumberland Heights and as the fog lifted, I realized how bad off I was. At this point in my life I had lost my brother to an overdose, I was homeless with several arrest warrants out for me and I had to be revived with Narcan six times in one year. I couldn’t put down a needle to save my life. I was hopeless.

After my initial 30 days at Cumberland Heights it was recommended I attend Still Waters. I didn’t want to go, but I was a thousand miles from home with a duffle bag and half a pack of cigarettes to my name, so I went.

When I arrived at Still Waters I put my things away and sat down for lunch. At the table was a small piece of paper that read, “Everything is going to be OK.” But I wasn’t OK, not yet.

I was given responsibilities and held accountable for them. It was a struggle at first, but I learned what was expected of me and began to realize I could meet those expectations. When I did, I felt better about myself.

I attended group meetings and it was nothing like I’d experienced in any other treatment environment. They were working the 12 Steps just as they are laid out in The Big Book and the basic text of Narcotics Anonymous. It seemed too simple then, but I did what was asked of me for step 1, then step 2 and so on. Before I realized it, the hopelessness was replaced by genuine hope. I began to trust the suggestions of my counselors who I affectionately referred to as hope dealers. When the time came to leave Still Waters I was sad to go, but I knew I was on the right path.

Today, I spend time with my family, I work a regular job and I’m pursuing a career in music. I still have bad days, but, in the grand scheme of life, I’m living the dream. I’m part of a brotherhood, and I hope to always express my gratitude to them through my actions. As I reflect on my time at Still Waters, I realize that little piece of paper on the lunch table was meant for me. After all, everything did turn out OK.


rich glassesRich J., 25. From Baltimore, Maryland. Loves punk rock, hates spiders and hopes to pursue a career in music.

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