Andrew’s Story: Jail, Institution, Death or … Recovery in Rehab


There’s a saying in Alcoholic’s Anonymous
that there are only three ends for an alcoholic—jail, institution and death—and this saying hit
close to home for Andrew. Before he checked in for an extended program at Duffy’s Napa
Valley rehabilitation center in California, Andrew hadn’t had a day of sobriety in ten
years. Can you relate to his story? Are you also
looking for help? Here at Duffy’s we would love to welcome you to our family to help
you—just as we’ve successfully helped thousands of our guests find a new life, full of freedom. There’s a saying in the program, “There are
three ends for an alcoholic: jails, institutions and death.” I realized that I had been to jail, I was
in an institution, and had a very near death experience, so that was the only other option
left. I actually came to Duffy’s because it was
court-ordered. I came here as a result of a DUI. I basically woke up from a blackout
in jail and was being charged with a felony and had no recollection of what had happened. Before I walked through the doors here, I
didn’t have a day of sobriety in over ten years, not a single day without drinking or
using something, but I didn’t care. Everyone was too afraid to approach me with the topic.
I was a pretty violent alcoholic, and wasn’t afraid to tell you what was on my mind, whether
it was the truth or not. So before I came here, nobody really said anything, but the
moment it happened, people who I had shut out for years and had borne the brunt of my
alcoholism, suddenly were completely around me, supporting, and glad to have me back. I basically researched every place I had to
stay in the state of California, and to be honest, this was the first and only place
I toured. When I walked through the door and took that tour, I just knew that it was right. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from
rehab at all. Coming in here, I had a lot of apprehension, but I figured, “I can just
go through the motions if I need to,” anything I need to do to get me through this situation.
But it was a combination of the education I got here, the small group discussions with
other people going through the same thing, and my counseling that I did realize that
I needed it. By the end of your first day at Duffy’s, you
feel like you’ve known all the other guests your entire life. Besides just helping you
to feel comfortable in your surroundings, that’s going to help you open up and start
to really look at the things you’ve done, and start to build some real friendships.
I realized that I may have burned some bridges coming in here, but also that drinking and
using friends weren’t really friends. Starting to build real friendships here, honest friendships,
feeling trust that you can go to them with a problem, that you can lean on them and they
can lean on you, that’s sort of the first glimpse into the fellowship that you’re going
to need to keep once you get out of here to keep you sober. The most important thing I learned here was
what to do with the tools they were giving me to maintain my sobriety. I came in having
gone to some twelve-step meetings beforehand, but I didn’t understand them; I didn’t like
them. What I learned here was how to get what I needed out of them. Without that understanding,
I don’t know what would have happened when I left here; the understanding that this wasn’t
going to get any better, that this was a disease, and it’s progressively going to get worse. Some of the tools that I got here to maintain
sobriety, it ranges from everything from what to do in that moment where I want to go drink.
There’s a million chances to stop before you go and pick up that drink; Duffy’s taught
me exactly what to do when those situations arise. It taught me to identify the situations
that lead up to that drink, how to deal with anger, how to deal with stress, and how to
just deal with people, how to interact with people normally, and how to be a good person,
and how much that can change your whole mindset on wanting to drink or escape. Before I got sober, I really had no responsibilities.
At the time leading up to coming here, I wasn’t working; I had no accountability and no direction
in my life at all. I had no motivation to do anything, so drinking and using is what
I did. Once I was here for a while, I realized that this was an interesting field for me.
Duffy’s not only provided the tools for getting my life back in order, it also made me discover
what I want to do with my life, and that is help others on a professional level. Duffy’s saved my life. The people who came
through and helped pay for it for me wanted to see me live. And that’s something you can’t really put
a price on, being able to live.

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