Brad says wryly that his story has lots of thriving now and just some surviving before.
His addictive behaviors started early. As a kid he remembers playing video games addictively, experimenting with tobacco when he was only 10 years old, and with alcohol by age 13.
He recalls seeing teenagers at a football game who were drunk, and he thought it looked like they were having fun and getting a lot of attention. He was intrigued. They stashed some beer for later and he got to drink with them and thought it was great.
Soon after that, his older brother introduced him to marijuana. By ninth grade he had used both mushrooms and LSD. In tenth grade he started cocaine. Alcohol was his primary substance of choice; he liked mushrooms and LSD, but they were harder to get.
When he was 17, his father was being coached by Joe Bailey, author of several books, including The Serenity Principle, a book that explores a health-based rather than a 12-step based way to help people recover. His father took Brad to a conference by Sydney Banks (someone who had strongly influenced Joe Bailey’s work) and he later read Mr. Bank’s book, Second Chance. Something with the book resonated with him and he stopped drinking for about a year and a half.
Next Step, Relapse.
He started drinking again, and his father convinced Brad to work with Joe Bailey for about a year but remembers that he could only get a partial or superficial understanding of what Mr. Bailey was sharing.
A short while later Brad went to college, got a fake ID and returned to drinking. When he realized that his drinking had become a problem again, Brad turned to AA and stopped drinking. During that time, he met Mitzi and got married. He maintained his sobriety for several years.
One of his buddies was getting married and Brad was invited to the bachelor’s party in Las Vegas. Brad went to Las Vegas, drank and had a relapse that lasted for six months. During that time, he was arrested for driving under the influence and readily admits he deserved the arrest.
Brad’s next step was an outpatient program that didn’t work for him, so he went to one of the most reputable 12-step-based drug and alcohol treatment centers in the country. When he completed the program, he then stayed at a halfway house for a while in an effort to get sobriety right this time. He did maintain sobriety for sometime, but later, he had several short bouts of sobriety each followed by relapse.
Brad says that for a while he seemed to be collecting 24-hour sobriety chips from AA. He had received so many that he was ashamed to keep going back because he felt the other AA members wondered why he couldn’t get it right.
Then came a major relapse and Mitzi wanted him out of the house and asked for a divorce. Despite having two beautiful daughters, Brad also wanted the divorce so that he could be left alone and drink full time. He did that for five months.
The Return of Hope.
His father had maintained contact with Joe Bailey through the years, and Joe told Brad’s father about Gulf Breeze Recovery, a non-12 step drug and alcohol treatment program that was really helping people with addiction and relapse problems. Joe had helped train the staff at Gulf Breeze Recovery and recommended it highly.
Brad called and spoke to an admission counselor at Gulf Breeze and he said for the first time in a long time he felt hopeful. He knew it was the place he needed to go and he trusted that feeling.
At Gulf Breeze Recovery, he willingly participated in the program, he attended all the classes and met with his therapist and struggled to get the deeper understanding he had heard about. He wanted to go down a different road.
Brad remembers being in a class near completion of his program when something clicked, the lightbulb came on in his mind, everything he had learned made sense in a way that went beyond intellectual understanding. For the first time, he truly felt in touch not just with his intellect, but with his own wisdom.
He was excited, he wanted to talk to Mitzi to share with her what he had learned, and he wanted to salvage his marriage if it was possible.
Brad’s therapist scheduled a time for Brad and Mitzi to talk, while she supervised the call in her office. Brad spoke from his heart, not even sure where the words were coming from, but by the end of the conversation, Mitzi had agreed that perhaps their marriage still had a chance. He was thrilled and so was his therapist.
Brad remembers the power of his daughter’s forgiveness.
After completing the program at Gulf Breeze Recovery, Brad moved to a halfway house near his home as he and Mitzi began the process of building a new and healthier relationship. He remembers how powerfully emotional it was for him when his seven-year old daughter told him she forgave him.
Brad has learned to forgive himself too, of mistakes he made and pain he caused. The past can’t be changed, but the five years since leaving Gulf Breeze Recovery have been better than any of his years before.
He came to understand that while under the influence of substances a person will do things that they normally wouldn’t do. Those actions, he says, are not who you really are. He had to release his guilt and shame
His favorite songs are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “It’s a Wonderful World” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole’. Brad’s journey has been rough at times, but he has found his place “over the rainbow” and in his “wonderful world.”
Brad readily admits that life isn’t perfect and that some challenges continue. Breadwinner roles changed when the family made a major move to another state a couple of years ago and his wife became the primary income earner while he took on part-time positions and stepped into the “Mr. Mom” role. He is now looking for a full-time position with the opportunity to interact more with adults. He stresses that even with issues, life is now a breeze compared to his life with addiction.
Brad’s deep understanding that he first experienced has stayed intact and has even expanded. From time to time he posts on Facebook short quotes to explain his understanding of his experience of life. They have been so positively received that he has put them together for his first book, which will be ready for publication soon.
When asked what he would share with someone who has struggled through multiple relapses, Brad states, “They need to know they are loved, no matter what! That it doesn’t matter how many times they have fallen or tripped, they are loved by the Universe, God, their higher power or whatever they want to call it. Keep trying.”
Brad is hopeful that sharing his story of recovery might help someone else who is feeling lost or hopeless. “Let them know,” he said, “that there is always hope, never give up, you are only one thought away (from your own understanding) and you are definitely worth it.”
Don’t wait, call now.
If you or someone you love is fighting addiction or has relapsed one or many times, help is available. Recovery is possible. We offer a compassionate and holistic treatment program. Contact us at Gulf Breeze Recovery or call: 833.551.2356 to speak to an addiction expert to learn more about our program that has helped so many people overcome their addiction, rediscover their dreams and embrace life.
We help people not just to survive, but to THRIVE®
About Gulf Breeze Recovery:
Gulf Breeze Recovery, unlike other treatment centers in Florida, is a non 12 step holistic drug and alcohol rehab that is changing the future of addiction treatment with their THRIVE® (Total Health Recovery) program focused on overcoming chronic relapse.
Gulf Breeze Recovery’s THRIVE® program is a non 12-step approach designed for those who are looking for a drug and alcohol treatment program to produce a different and positive result.
This non-12 step program allows you to drive beyond your addictions and promotes a new outlook on life.
We are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and our last audit scored 99.7! Also, we are gold certified by the Joint Commission.
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