I have family in Newark NJ, where I was raised. I came to Philadelphia seven years ago when I first entered recovery. I lived in a recovery house and eventually rented a room in a home. I lived there until November of 2013 when I decided to go back to Newark and “help” my nieces and nephews, be the uncle I should be, not the uncle I was in my active addiction. I thought I could share my experiences with them.
I found myself doing the same things I did when I was actively using; isolating myself and not taking care of myself, only this time, I was doing it in recovery. I felt like I had no “me” time. I felt trapped and I didn’t realize it until I got a call saying an efficiency apartment was available in Philadelphia in the same building a friend that has been there for me through my recovery process lived. I was so excited. I couldn’t pack my bags fast enough. I came back in the beginning of May to stay with a friend and just moved into my apartment this past June 6th.
Being a volunteer for The Philadelphia Recovery Community Center has taught me how to deal with my problems, talk about my problems, not hold everything inside and I learned how to ask for and accept help. That it is not a weakness to ask for help but strength to ask for help and to know when you need help.
I do miss my family but I have to let them grow, and I have to think what is best for me and my recovery process. So, I am grateful today for all of my friends through my 12-step mutual support group and most especially the PRCC staff and volunteers. I am grateful to be a volunteer at the PRCC because it gives me an opportunity to give back to my adopted community. I have learned to really meet people where they are at, to listen to others when they are struggling with a situation. I have even learned how to facilitate groups and discovered some recovery discussion groups I like to run.
Life couldn’t be better; just for today!