“I cherish the life I live today. Very grateful for the jump start in recovery that Rimrock was able to provide for me.”

Charles A.


You’re not alone. There is hope. And you are worthy.

I would say I grew up in a normal family. I had no reason to choose drugs and alcohol. But, it was normal to drink, and I kind of fell into that role pretty easily. Once I began, I took it to the next level. I got out on my own and into college and I tried doing other things. So, alcohol is not the only piece to my story. I smoked a lot of marijuana and had a period of time where I was doing pretty much anything. I went from one drug to another.

My drug and alcohol use started destroying a lot of relationships and a lot of things in my life. I found myself being comfortable in the role of being an addict or an alcoholic, even though I did not truly understand what that meant, and I had created my identity with this lifestyle in mind. I worked in bars and areas that allowed me to be that person.

I slowed down a little bit once I got married around 30 years old, but I was still drinking. I was still smoking pot. But, I wasn’t using as many drugs. A lot of my friends had been locked up, I also had a couple of DUIs when I was younger but I was able to kind of skate from the law for the most part other than a few stints in the county jail here and there.

There came a point in time everything started catching up on me. My parents died, I got divorced, and I kind of fell apart. One evening, I was out attempting to drink responsibly and I was hit by somebody else and could very nearly have been hurt really bad. I got out of the car and I thought how lucky I was to be alive. I prayed that whatever happened out of this, I would accept it. I ended up getting a DUI. From that DUI, I lost my job of 11 years. I was angry and I did not want to accept it so I drank. That’s the only way I knew how to deal with difficult times in my life. All the times in my life, when struggles happened, I got high, I got drunk and I got loaded. And this time was no different. Just to prove everyone wrong, I went out and got another DUI. I can now thank the people that gave it to me because it gave me the opportunity to get locked up long enough that my head could clear.

I was sentenced to the Department of Corrections for a felony DUI on 6/4/12, which happens to be my sobriety date. Because I had been using and drinking and stuck for so long, I had so much stuff packed into my head that it took a long time for that stuff to clear. It was two and a half months into a 6 month DOC treatment program before I could see where I was. Prior to this, I was still thinking about how to get away with things, getting things the easy way. One day, I was walking around in the yard and the sun broke through the clouds and miraculously the clouds cleared in my head. And I thought, “man I’m done with this, this lifestyle that I’ve surrounded myself with, this person that I am, that’s not who I always wanted to be. I’ve not been anything that’s been of value to me other than having my kids. I’m not the person who my parents intended me to be”. My parents are gone now and they tried for long time to get me into a better life or into sobriety. Even though they are gone from this life, I can still show them they raised me right and I am worthy of a better way of life.

It was that day that I decided to start paying attention. I started to look at my life for real. I looked at the fact that every single time I had contact with a police officer, I was either drunk or high. That every single time I had a difficulty in life, I was either drunk or high. And if I didn’t want to go to jail anymore, if I wanted to be a part of my children’s life, I had to take away the common denominator. And, that common denominator is drugs and alcohol. That changed my life.

I’ve been in recovery since June 4, 2012. There are still struggles, but they are struggles I can deal with. When I get angry, my first thought isn’t to go get high. When I have some grief or some sadness, my first thought isn’t to go to the bar and get drunk. It’s to talk to somebody. It’s to pick up a phone. It’s to go to a meeting. It’s to talk to another alcoholic or another addict. You know, get vulnerable and actually deal with it. Work through it instead of trying to stuff it and hide from it. That’s why I’m here.

As a felon, as an addict, and alcoholic, life will never treat me in my idea of normal or fair, and I know that. I have to work through that and I have to accept things that I cannot change. That’s what real recovery looks like to me — the Serenity Prayer. Accept the things I can’t change. Change the things I can. Changing the things I can is sometimes really, really difficult because I’m a very stubborn person. I’m pretty stuck in my ways, but I know that if I can’t change myself or the way I look at something, then it’s going to bring me back down. I have to accept people for who they are, past present and future. I have to accept all of that. Then comes the last part of that prayer. That’s the wisdom to know the difference. I don’t get that on my own. I’m not that smart. Sometimes I think that I am, but every time that gets me in trouble. I get the wisdom from talking to other alcoholics and other addicts. I get that from working with people that are struggling. I get that by giving myself away. That’s where I get the wisdom to that piece of the Serenity Prayer. I think it is missed sometimes because people think about acceptance and courage, but they don’t think about that wisdom. Where do we get wisdom? I don’t get it from myself. I have to get it from other people.

Personal achievements are something that I used to view as athletic trophies, ribbons, or medals. I was a wrestler. I was a football player. I would associate an accomplishment by winning a tournament or by winning a football game. When people would ask me what my biggest accomplishment was, I would tell them I won a state championship foosball tournament and it was an amazing thing. And that was a big deal to me, but where was I? I was in a bar and I was pretty high the whole time. My vision of what accomplishment is now has completely changed. I graduated college at forty-seven years old with a bachelor’s degree. I think that’s a huge accomplishment. I’ve been sober for almost seven years now. That’s a huge accomplishment. I’m in the process of getting a master’s degree right now. And that’s a huge deal.

I continue to look for outs. I continue to look for reasons to stop doing what I’m doing, but the doors just keep opening in those directions and for me to walk through the door that opens in front of me is a huge accomplishment.

Today, I am an Inpatient Counselor at Rimrock working in the level three-point five inpatient treatment. I feel like I’m in this role for a reason. I’m in this role because of something bigger than me. I consider this to be the front lines of recovery. Once you get out of detox, you come into inpatient treatment because you can’t do it on your own. You don’t have the ability to not use if given that opportunity.

From housekeeping to the business office to admissions to IOP, they all care. My door is open for my clients at all times. If we have a scheduled meeting or not, I want you to come to me if you have a problem. I want the client to know that every single person that has a name tag, you can talk to them. They care about you and your recovery.

My advice to anybody that is thinking about treatment is to just walk through the door. A lot of people have some trepidations or some hold back on walking in the door because they’re afraid. They don’t know what to expect. By walking in the door, the first thing you’re going to see is hope.

I get calls all the time from past patients that are working a program of recovery. These things give me a great amount of hope. I like to think that I have a recovery gas tank. Those stories of recovery fill up my recovery gas tank because I don’t get this on my own. I don’t stay sober on my own. That motivates my recovery and it continues to show me why I am where I am. I do believe that I can make a difference in people’s lives.

For me, Rimrock is recovery.

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