Decision to Make a Better Life
by Janette Hebert (Intern)
Having been bounced around to similar programs with no luck, Michael Darden requested to come to Gemeinschaft Home, after learning about what the program offers. Darden arrived in the fall of 2014, and after completing the program, he now explains, “My 90 days are up; I’m self-pay. I’ve made that choice.” To pay for his room and board, Darden currently works for a local roofing company, but says “I do a little bit of everything; there isn’t anything I can’t do.”
Restoring family connections has been one of Darden’s main priorities during his stay at Gemeinschaft Home. While visiting family recently Darden recognized that “my family hasn’t changed, but I have, and they see it.” As someone who has struggled with addiction, Darden discusses the changes he has made in his behavior and how he deals with the temptation to use again.
He credits Gemeinschaft Home with giving him a better understanding of how to control his environment and to deal with situations that might trigger him to go back down the wrong road. “I can go out and have dinner with my family, and if they have a drink or something, it’s no big deal,” but Darden admits that the addiction is always there, and he knows that he must work daily to overcome it.
Gemeinschaft Home has also provided Darden with other tools for being a productive member of society, including personal finances management, and improved interpersonal skills. “This place has given me patience; I’ve never had patience in my life,” says Darden. Gemeinschaft Home has given him the opportunity to look back on his life and to take personal responsibility for the choices that he has made in the past, in order to move forward in life. He has also been able to save money for a house after his stay at Gemeinschaft Home.
However, the counseling aspect of the program has aided Darden the most in his recovery process, saying that “you have resources here; you have people you can talk to, people who are willing to give you good advice.” Darden offers specific praise for resident advisor William Ross, who regularly encourages him to attend AA and NA meetings.
His experience in the program has inspired Darden to take the knowledge he has learned to help others, explaining, “When you go through a program like this, and you make the effort, later when you go home, you can try to help another.” In fact, Darden already helps other residents, from offering his emotional support to reminding them of chores that need to be done for the day.
For the moment, Darden does not feel fully prepared to leave Gemeinschaft Home, not because he is scared or worried, but because he is still working to accomplish a few goals he has set for himself.
Gemeinschaft Home has facilitated Darden’s journey to recovery, and he hopes that the program has the same effect on others. He stresses the point that taking advantage of the program at Gemeinschaft Home offers “a new starting point for your life; this is one of the best opportunities you’re ever going to experience.” Darden concludes, “If you want to change your life Gemeinschaft Home will help you to change your life,” adding, “if you want a different lifestyle, they are here to help you.”