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Oxford House Stories
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James M s Story, My name is James M and I was born on April 4 1937 in Nashville Tennessee the youngest of. four children I attended Nashville Public Schools and three years of college at Tennessee State University. In 1957 at age 20 I got married my wife and I had one daughter In 1959 I began working at the. Nashville Post Office as a Railway Postal Clerk and in January 1967 I was given a choice by the Post. Office to stay in Nashville in another position or move to another city and remain in my current job In. February 1967 I decided to move to Washington DC I thought I could do better financially in the big city. In Washington DC away from friends and family I began suffering from depression and was. prescribed Valium I became addicted to Valium which led to an addiction to more drugs I still. functioned at my job with the Washington DC Postal Service and received promotions to supervisory. positions but my private life was a haze of smoking crack cocaine divorce and despair I thought I had it. all because I had a good business selling drugs until I became my own best customer. On November 17 1981 I was urged by friends to get addiction treatment and entered the. Arlington Treatment Program in Arlington VA I came out and promptly relapsed On May 1982 I. stopped using again but did not know how long I could stay clean without help In August of 1982 I. applied to live in Northampton Oxford House in Washington DC I was sure they would not accept me. All the residents were white and the house was in the best section of town I went back to my sponsor and. hoped to talk him into putting me up Then I got a call I had been accepted. Immediately upon moving in I felt fortunate to have discovered this new family even though it. took a few weeks before some of the guys felt comfortable around me I studied the Oxford House manual. from cover to cover Soon every meeting was a place where other guys would ask me whether we were. conducting the meeting the way we were supposed to I was elected to one house office after another I. stayed in Oxford House Northampton for more than twelve years My new family taught me what was. important in life After a few months in the Northampton House I decided to devote my life to helping. other addicts and alcoholics to find what I had found a housing situation that provided support for. recovery while also teaching the residents how to live responsibly. I have been fortunate I married a wonderful woman That was why I moved out of Oxford. House She has put up with me traveling around the country from Hawaii to Texas to help others. establish Oxford Houses Years ago I convinced my brother Milton to get some houses going in my old. hometown Nashville Today I am a proud member of Board of Oxford House Inc and am thankful every. day that I found Oxford House AA and NA,Myrna B s Story. Quit drinking forever did that mean I couldn t even have a glass of wine with dinner I knew. my social life would be non existent and how would I function without a cocktail What would I do. without my drinking friends I knew I drank like a lady. The reality was I was totally dependent on alcohol and failing in all aspects of my life My one. year alcoholic marriage was a disaster I had alienated my family I pretty much abdicated my. responsibility as a mother I quit my job it took too much effort and interfered with my drinking my. social life was one continual drinking spree and my spiritual life consisted of bargaining prayers during a. hangover As one of my acquaintances put it I didn t drink like a lady I drank like 10 ladies It was after. one of my marital drinking rows that my children put me in treatment. I had been in treatment before in 1980 but it was an aversion type treatment You know like. Pavlov s dog The attendants would pour a drink down me and give me a shot to make me throw up This. lasted for ten days and even the smell of alcohol triggered a nauseated reaction Can you imagine I. couldn t even use hair spray This lasted for about a year but the only support or outside assistance I had. was that I could go back to the treatment facility and throw up for a weekend Well my alcoholic mind. told me I could still drink and throw up and have some fun Controlled drinking worked for a time but. eventually I hit my bottom So when treatment was pushed on me I accepted gladly The program at this. facility was entirely based on the AA 12 steps, It was here I learned about the 24 hour program and it began to work There were people just like. me suffering from the addiction of alcohol and all the crazy things that go along with it Crazy When I. read that second step about the insanity I was highly indignant I wasn t insane I just drank too much and. did some really stupid things Like marrying a fellow abusive alcoholic I met in a bar which in reality. was one of the minor sins I committed My counselor suggested I reread my first step and then decide if. my behavior wasn t insane Thus I started on my journey of physical mental and spiritual recovery. When it came time to leave fear set in I didn t want to go back to that disastrous alcoholic. marriage and I needed an opportunity to start a new life I asked my counselor if there were any group. homes for recovering women I heard a lot about places for guys She said she had heard that a woman in. the AA program was going to open a house to women but it hadn t got going yet I met with the lady who. was going to manage it and decided to move in I had to close out my other home and put my stuff in. storage so I didn t move in until a month after I completed treatment in March One other woman was. now there I came in there with no self esteem and both my spirit and physical body were broken and. About 2 weeks after I moved in the manager handed me a booklet and said I could read it and see. what I thought It was the Oxford House Manual I read it and had the other resident woman read it too. She said it sounded good but we would need 10 years of sobriety to start something like this Being the. controlling addict I was I decided to call the 800 number in the book A life saving angel named Mollie. Brown answered the call She filled me in on the real concept and told me there were no houses in. Washington but 3 men s houses had started in Oregon She also explained that there was a start up loan in. the works and I should contact the State Offices and the Oregon men I believed her and took action I. probably drove her crazy calling almost daily, The owner of the home lived out of state but decided to visit the house and look into this Oxford. idea She met with the Oregon people released her manager and said Go for it I spend many hours on. the phone with Mollie and our state DASA contact In May 1990 we 4 applied for the Charter of the. Chalet Oxford House joined the Oregon folks in a Chapter furnished our 10 bed home started making. presentations and became the first Oxford House in Washington I wish I could say I did this as a service. project but it was out of my need Today I know that this was all part of God s plan for me I gained so. much in my recovery by sharing with these women and taking on responsibility again. In the meantime I found a home group in AA or they found me and developed a support group. both in AA and in the Oxford House I now had 3 months of sobriety The early feelings of insecurity fear. and shame plagued me but my Oxford roommates and my AA support group carried me through and. encouraged me to start a men s house in our area My thought was that I wasn t going to need this much. longer and would move back to my old area This obviously wasn t God s plan With the help of a fellow. in AA we searched for a couple of months to find a landlord any landlord willing to believe that a. bunch of alcoholics and addicts would be good tenants We finally found a landlord and 5 months later. opened the men s Lincoln house This landlord was another blessing who ended up owning 8 of our. Oxford Inc had sent an outreach worker to Seattle to fulfill a contract with the State of. Washington After opening a couple of houses in that area he was sent to another state A women s house. with children had opened in the suburbs of Seattle and was failing I received a call from Paul M and. Mark S asking me if I would go there to help them out Fear and apprehension gripped my total being. Seattle was a really big city that I knew little about I had been there to visit a few times but to go up. there by myself I had graduated from no self esteem to low self esteem but that wasn t enough It was. one of the women in my house and my AA support folks who convinced me that I should go and put God. in my pocket I was 10 months sober, I knew one of the first things I needed to do was to find an AA meeting I celebrated my one year.
at a podium meeting of about 200 people Again AA let me know I was a part of a larger family We. eventually closed the house It couldn t even be turned into a men s house because of its inaccessibility to. bus service and shopping My 3 months turned into a year and more years and more houses What a. blessing I stayed sober and truly had begun a new way of living I lived in various Oxford Houses for 4. years until I moved to the Olympia area our State capital Again my first priority was to find an AA home. group and continue to open new Oxford Houses This continued on for 14 years. The combination of Oxford House and the people and the program of AA have given me a life of. peace and most of the time serenity My family and I have renewed our relationships and added 9. grandchildren I retired as a fulltime Oxford employee a few years ago I am exceedingly grateful to God. to AA and to Paul M and the founders for the Oxford concepts Mollie B and the staff of Oxford Inc the. State of Washington DASA the hundreds of other people who have supported me personally including my. sponsors and the Oxford Houses and my sponsees, Recovery hasn t always been easy I have experienced a divorce death of a family member. serious health problems and the day to day frustrations of my job and life in general Things that I have. learned through AA and Oxford House are an attitude of gratitude acceptance love forgiveness. compassion and the willingness to take that next step With each of these comes action Oxford House. gave me the opportunity to practice the principles and action Today I try to walk my talk It is through. my continued participation in AA that I can apply the 24 hour program and the principles in all aspects of. Stan T s Story, My name is Stan I m an Alcoholic When I had my first taste of alcohol I enjoyed the flavor and. the idea of stealing it from my parents Pretty soon I was cutting the booze with water so my dad wouldn t. know I moved on to being a weekend warrior I d just drink on weekends I didn t drink to just get high. I would drink until I passed out I d brag to my friends how much I drank and how much fun I had even. though I couldn t remember a thing that happened that night Worse yet if I did remember I wouldn t. want to share the fact that I wet my pants or got sick or was a complete ass. At the old age of 18 I was in the service and drinking like a man straight whiskey beer back I. was gung ho and drank until I dropped every night One night I got drunk got into a fight woke up in the. hospital I had a completely disarranged right knee and I missed my flight to Vietnam When I found out. about the deaths of some of my friends in my squad I threw a two week drunk When I was discharged. from the service I was drinking all day every day I hadn t seen my family for two years My mom told me. to quit feeling sorry for myself and get home, I settled down for a while found a wife and life was good I don t know why but my life seemed. to be missing something alcohol The next 20 years of my life I would spend drinking and drugging I. lost everything I worked so hard for house truck boat and a wonderful wife Drinking wasn t fun it was. something I needed to get to the next day It s what I thought about when I got up in the morning until I. passed out Something finally hit me I was tired of the loneliness and self pity of this addiction I asked. for help I entered LakeSide Milam on September 14 2002 I thought if I could just keep away from the. booze for a couple of weeks I d have it made While they were repairing my body with food and rest they. gave me a book to read and tried to explain what makes us addicts not the booze or the drugs but the. disease I was always tired I couldn t stay awake I admitted that I was powerless and my life. unmanageable I wanted to surrender That s when I knew there was a power greater than ourselves The. next two weeks I had the chance to really look at myself they gave me ways to control the anger and pain. that I was feeling I learned to share my feelings with others I attended AA meetings and found out I was. not the only one who asked for help My 28 days were up I gave up my room at the house I was staying at. with 5 other alcoholics I couldn t go back I made a decision to stop using I was told about Oxford. My name is Sam I m a hot tar roofer and an Alcoholic That s all I had to say to get an. interview at Brockman Oxford House I explained that I just got out of treatment 2 hours ago and needed a. safe place to stay I had enough money to pay a weeks rent or a couple days at a hotel They heard my. story and gave me a ride to the locker to get my things I was accepted I just had to follow the rules get. All members of the Oxford House family hope that by sharing these personal stories of hard won but comfortable sobriety they will contribute to the growth of the Oxford House network and guide those not yet in recovery toward an effective program and while fostering the understanding and support of the broader community All donations

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