For Kevin, missing an aftercare group session on a Wednesday night is unheard of — even if it’s his birthday.
Kevin entered the aftercare program, a lifetime resource to those who have successfully graduated from their treatment at the Sharp McDonald Center, to sustain his sobriety from drugs and alcohol.
The group regularly includes 100 attendees whose sobriety ranges from a few days to many years. Each person is offered a platform to give and receive feedback about anything related to their substance use disorder. Sharp McDonald Center therapists professionally facilitate the group.
Darryl Butson, a behavioral health therapist at Sharp McDonald Center and one of the facilitators of the aftercare group, has been affected by the change he has seen in the lives of those who attend.
“As therapists, we are inspired by the number of people who truly embrace recovery and changing their lives,” says Butson. “We get the chance to watch them become the individuals they were meant to be outside of substance dependence.”
One member who has embraced a radical change is Kevin, who feels that his constant attendance has been a cornerstone in his overall recovery. He says his participation in the group gives him purpose, something he hadn’t felt while facing his addictions for 10 years.
“Alcohol was my life,” he says. “The first thing I would do every morning when my wife left for work was run downstairs and grab some beers. Then, I would work one to two hours in my office and after, contemplate if I wanted to participate further in my day.”
With the help of the aftercare program, a sponsor and his loved ones, Kevin has maintained sobriety for more than two years, and his weekly routine looks quite different from before. He is now a sponsor to others who are recovering from a substance use disorder, and finds joy in watching others discover freedom the way he did.
“The way I stay sober is helping others,” he says. “I’m uniquely qualified to do so, and the aftercare program gives me the forum.”
Additionally, Kevin has been able to be a great support for his family and friends, something he felt he couldn’t be in his addiction.
“I was spreading pain to those around me,” he says. “But now I know the meaning of life, and that is to be of maximum help to people, it’s that simple.”
Learn more about treatment for substance use disorders at the Sharp McDonald Center, the only medically supervised chemical dependency recovery hospital in San Diego County.