Letter From Our Founders

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Liquor was my solution from the first moment I discovered the ease and comfort it provided. I was no longer nervous, awkward, or panicked. My fears were gone. I felt like I finally fit in. I felt funnier, prettier, and more daring. I was confident, though, I felt cooler than ever.

My already outgoing and rebellious nature became extreme at this young age and by 17, I was a drug dealer with an underdeveloped curiosity to live on the edge; a thrill-seeker perpetuated through this force (alcohol) which created wild and sometimes outlandish choices. It molded my relationships with friends, boyfriends, and family. I was a black sheep and everybody knew it. I was perfectly okay with taking on the persona and accepting mistrust. It created entertainment in my complacency. The fun kept me company and even when shit hit the fan, the drama kept me company.

Even if depression, sadness, and anger were my right-hand man, it always kept me busy. It was one extreme to the next. I started attracting the people or person I would portray in myself, the good parts of me and the crazy. I was so used to numbing uncomfortable feelings that I felt no need for them anymore,  which also created a very co-dependent nature in my loneliness and need for fulfillment.

My outbursts came in the forms of crimes of passion in love and cries for help in pain because so many times I didn’t know how to face myself and my feelings. I had no idea of any tools or coping mechanisms to lead an average or even a powerful life. I had so many talents in creative arts, intellect, adventure, intelligence, and leadership with no understanding of where to place them. Only to have fun and feel good.

I used to reflect on those days as I sat in numerous detox and rehab facilities, hospitals, and jails. I wondered while feeling sick with disgust, at what point things got so bad. Drinking continually got worse slowly and progressively even after turning points and rock bottoms. I was tired. Even though seeking help, I still failed. Those rock bottoms came time and time again, each time worse than before and more detrimental to my self-esteem and people’s perception of me.

I would lay sick, riddled with withdrawal and regret. I would try to get off these diabolical benders either cold-turkey or with doses of benzos, sometimes in worse places, then I would feel better, make my resolutions, take some time off booze just to return yet again for another round. And so the broken record goes. I made many resolutions, I faced death many times, and still consumed again. My life became unmanageable. I started planning life around my slip-ups (jobs, relationships, etc.) because I knew I would eventually slip. My best was continually partial and my excuses were endless.

The obsession to drink ALWAYS won and eventually ruled my being, even through longer-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol. I was missing something, I was defeated. My mother once asked me how I would like to be buried while I was still only in my early thirties. I was faced with that residual question in a grimy motel room too sick to drink and too sick to stop as an ambulance came to wheel me out on a stretcher; “Do I want to die? Do I have the balls to die?” “This is so painful, how can I even make it to death, or live through all this pain?” Nothing mattered anymore, nothing emotional, nothing material, just physical.  I was still alive but felt I was dying, and there that day, I made the choice of life. I got help even with the small amount of resistance my body still had left in it.

The ambulance rushed me to the hospital while I stayed on the phone with a counselor from my DUI program. Over the course of 72 hours, my mother picked me up and hauled me to a lockdown facility in Tijuana, Mexico and I decided to stay, not knowing they would have kept me there anyways, even if I said no. I was forced to leave all my real-world issues outside. I was forced to face myself. I was forced to face my God because it was all I had left in the most painful and isolating time of my life. Everything else, I considered gone. God came through for me in ways I didn’t feel immediately, but clearly see now. During my time there with myself, my prayers, and my peers, I developed a comradery with other addicts that created a new way of thinking and created a passionate idea that I could help others; that I was valuable and had a greater purpose in life. My life is very different now. I have a mission that keeps me sober.

I encourage you to try something different. I encourage you to put your whole heart and full effort into something you have yet to understand, knowing that your ways didn’t work. Get rid of your own ideas for once, you may be pleasantly surprised when you look back on your life, just as I have.

~Jessica Shrader

My name is Adam Lincoln. I’m 39 years old and a local to San Diego. I was raised in a middle-class household by my mother and father. By the time I was 14 I was smoking weed and just started drinking. Alcohol and weed as of yet we’re not a problem. I had this strange idea that everything in life would just fall into place. Alcohol and weed were great. It lowered my social anxiety, help me to get along with other people, and help me to deal with the… “Life is boring” feeling.

I graduated high school. By this time I was Experimenting with harder drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. I actually had a lot of fun. There were some dicey situations however I seem to come out of them unharmed. I started going to two junior colleges in orange county to be close to my high school sweetheart. That is where I first tried meth. Within eight months of living in the harbor area of LA, I had made a new set of friends, broke up with my girlfriend, and was using meth on a regular basis. The paranoia I experienced was unreal. My house was dirty, all of the clothes in my closet were on the floor and the sink was full of dirty dishes at all times. I cared less and less about hygiene and hardly slept. After getting a notice of eviction I decided to do what all men do in a bad situation… I called my mother.

Because I had been lying and had been living far enough away they had no idea about the way I had been living or the amount I have been using. I was able to keep it at a distance. I decided to tell her the truth and ask for help. She sent a moving truck to LA. I packed my belongings and checked into my first detox at 20 years old. It was Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. I stayed there for about eight days. I slept almost the entire time and when I woke up, rejuvenated from eating and sleeping, I told myself I would never drink or do drugs again. I later learned, that with alcoholics and addicts the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to quitting forever. 

Over the next six years, I floundered from program to program, county jail to county jail. Everytime, I was either forced into one or entered on my own, I went in there with the same mindset which was…”I am done doing drugs and drinking forever”. I meant it every single time into the depths of my heart. Once again this is the baffling feature of alcoholism and drug addiction. It is the utter inability to leave it alone no matter how great the necessity or wish. I understood that while I was using, I would usually use the next day and this pattern would continue until I was forcibly stopped. I got that. I understood that. I understood that my body was addicted. What I didn’t understand and what is most misunderstood by people is that the insanity of the alcoholic or addict centers in their mind. It was brought to my attention that I always relapse when I am stone-cold sober. That means I make that decision when I am not under the influence at all, despite my track record of destruction. 

I ended up taking a job at a rehab I once attended. It was great. I got to be around my people. I have always felt like such a screwup, as the black sheep in my family, but working with a sponsor and being surrounded by people like me, I began to see that I was just sick, getting better…  not a bad guy getting good. Unfortunately my girlfriend Jessica and I have been through the wringer! We have experienced life on both sides of the grass and we have gotten well and allowed God to build this beautiful thing with his help. Like my sponsor told me, you cannot fix a broken brain with a broken brain. Let us think for you for a little while, if you’re not happy and don’t feel better when you’re done, you can always go back to doing what you were doing. Drugs and alcohol will always be there but life is short and a chance at sobriety won’t.

Adam Lincoln