Nashville Recovers

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The Season of Giving
December 03, 2015

by Brad Schmitt My last night in rehab was my worst — raging headache, overwhelming fear and nagging thoughts kept me up most of the night. Where am I going to work? How will I get around without a driver’s license? Will I really go to these recovery meetings on the “outside”? Am I really an addict? Desperate and dark, I wondered if I had anything to offer, or if anyone would ever see me as anything other than the screw-up who got two DUIs and got fired from a TV station. I felt hopeless and lost. My brother Todd and my friend Christine picked me up the next day, and they took me to my first “outside” meeting. A recovery friend, Dan, waited for me on the back porch. I had family and friends — including a sobe...


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I was not a drug addict. I was successful, responsible and educated, but I just happened to use drugs or alcohol every day. I told myself I would quit when I had a good reason. Then, I had a million good reasons.

I could not be anywhere or do anything without a drink or a drug, and without them, I could not physically function. I got fired, wrecked my car, endangered my career and my health, and mostly, I became someone I did not recognize and someone who no longer had a concept of right and wrong.

With my internal life in shambles and my external life falling apart, I began to consider that it might be related to my dependence on drugs and alcohol. Once I let that idea in my head, my life began to open up again and hope began to return little by little.

- Megan S., East Nashville, 1 year clean and sober

I loved to party! High school, college and beyond, but when my friends slowed down, I didn’t. I went from weekend warrior to drinking five or six nights a week. Eventually, I got two DUIs and got fired from my job.

That’s when I went to rehab and found some 12-step fellowships and the YMCA’s Restore Ministries. I found folks just like me, and I’ve leaned on them to turn it around. And now, I help other addicts and alcoholics find recovery. I feel like I’m finally doing something that matters.

- Brad S., Donelson, 3 years clean and sober

For most alcoholics/addicts, it's fun and exciting until the consequences start piling up. Then you have a moment of clarity through the fog and realize you can't go on living this way and ask for help.

For me, recovery means getting my life back. Today, I'm able to have honest relationships with the ones I love, especially with a Higher Power that gives me strength on a daily basis. My life has more purpose and meaning than I could've ever imaged.

- Vanessa M., Hermitage, 3 years clean and sober

I was partying early in life, started selling drugs and then caught a few charges. Then I went to jail, ended up at a long-term recovery facility, found some good friends in the recovery community. I got a job, I love my recovery life and I like reaching out to kids who grew up like I did.

- Philip C., Antioch, 3 years clean and sober

It was curiosity, and the need to feel socially accepted. I worked my way up the chain of drugs until the drugs were no longer socially acceptable. Come to find out drugs didn’t make me an addict, but the way I was using them did.

My girlfriend left me and I went to treatment. I found 12-step recovery after that, accepted I’m an addict and I’ve lived a happier life every since. Now I’m helping people -- and helping myself.

- Chuck S., West Nashville, 2 years clean

Growing up in a relatively normal home in suburban NJ, I figured that because I had the "ideal" childhood without any major trauma I was immune to the disease of addiction.

Despite the normalcy of my upbringing, I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol and I became obsessed with euphoric feelings they produced.

Drugs became the only thing I thought or cared about as my life crashed into the ground.

The chaos that my disease created in my life did not end with me homeless or in jail, as I commonly thought of addiction, but instead found myself depressed and miserable, disappointed with the person I had become.

When I reached the point where I wanted to stop using drugs but found I couldn’t, I moved to Nashville and checked into a 30 day in patient drug addiction program, subsequently immersing myself in a 12 step recovery program.

Getting and staying clean has not always been easy, but it has been the best thing I've ever done in my life, as I'm finally able to live up to my potential as a human being.

I've repaired the relationship I have with my family, I have a good job, and I recently went back to school to finish my degree, but most importantly I can wake up and not hate the person I see in the mirror each morning and for that I will be forever grateful.

- Nick S., Bellevue, 20 months clean and sober