Walter S. – Phoenix, AZ

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Shortly after a relapse, I found myself lonely and sick. I had been sleeping by the train tracks near the apartment I could no longer pay for. It was the end of December. I wandered to a Phoenix bookstore one night and met a guy there who said he was walking from his California hometown to New York City. His next major stop would be Las Cruces, New Mexico. I asked if I could join him, he agreed. I still had fresh track marks. I badly wanted a new life and hoped I would find it in New Mexico. I started walking. I had food stamps, a back pack and a sleeping bag. I started praying again. I didn’t really intend to be sober but knew I could get nowhere without some kind of Higher Power.

My new friend and I began each day of walking with a brief Yoga routine. I started meditating again. The gravity of the wreckage I had caused in the previous months came to me in waves of overwhelming sorrow, remorse, self-pity, anger, and grief. Someone had pulled over on the highway and given me a little cash. I ended almost every day of my adventure with alcohol. A sixteen ounce can of beer became a quart or a half pint of whiskey. I smoked pot when I could find it. After about 200 miles of walking, the day finally came when I could no longer deny the fact that I cannot live a successful meaningful life without sobriety. I spent an entire day searching the trash on the shoulder of the highway for any alcohol or drugs that may have been tossed from the window of some passing car.

Exhausted, I sat down to meditate after setting up camp that evening and wept brokenly. I knew that I would end up strung out and homeless in Las Cruces- if I even made it that far. I knew in that moment that I am and always will be a drug addict/alcoholic. I remembered that my mom had offered to help me go to The River Source some months before. I called and reserved a bed that night. A greyhound bus took me from Lordsburg, New Mexico to Casa Grande, Arizona two days later.

Stepping through the door, I was a wreck- I was scared of my own shadow. In a short time, though, I felt welcomed and a part of. The love and support I received for The River Source staff and from my peers taught me to love myself again. Engaging in each of the body /mind/spirit components of The River Source program has made me a better man than I was when I began my journey in treatment. My physical health is better than it has been in a long time. The freight train of racing thoughts that constantly ran through my head has begun to leave the station. I have an active relationship with a God of my understanding. I have hope. I am not so scared anymore.

I believe whole heartedly in the truth that The River Source has helped me to see- that to be miserable, lost, and broken or happy, strong, and useful requires the same amount of work. I feel lucky-or, rather blessed-to have had the opportunity to participate in The River Source program. I am truly grateful.