Steps to Recovery

Steps to Recovery
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    - My name is Phillip.
    Uh, I served with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven,
    NMCB 7, US Navy from '95 to 2000.
    - And my name's Mike.
    I'm Phillip's sponsor
    and I'm also his pastor.
    - In Honduras,
    I went down a mudslide.
    You know, I almost suffocated.
    I thought I was gone, you know,
    and, um, luckily, somebody grabbed my hand.
    I don't know which way I was at,
    but somebody grabbed my hand, pulled me out.
    When I got out, [sighs]
    You know, I had the-- I couldn't--
    it was like these demons followed me around, you know.
    Uh, nightmares of the children that were killed.
    Kids were visiting me in my dreams, you know,
    and then, uh, the obsession-- compulsive thoughts,
    over and over, over again.
    I imagined myself being in a--
    in a tub of water, you know,
    and my obsessive thoughts were down here
    and they keep going up.
    "What's gonna happen? When is--[mutters]
    I can't believe this is happening."
    And then freedom, I want to break out
    and I wanna-- I want relief, you know.
    I turned to drugs. I turned to alcohol.
    Turned to food.
    Turned to violence.
    The depression got a hold of me fast.
    I got myself in a dark hole.
    For ten years, my addiction and my--
    my mental health.
    I found myself homeless and in jail--
    homeless charges, trespassing charges,
    and, uh, the VA helped me out.
    They have a homeless clinic.
    And, uh, I got help through them,
    but I still wasn't taking my recovery seriously.
    But--I was, but I-- I wasn't clean,
    but I was on my way.
    I had already been in recovery for about
    five--four or five years already.
    And then I finally met this guy.
    - We met in a 12-step recovery meeting in Mesa, Arizona,
    and I happened to be doing volunteer work
    at the prison, making a reconciliation event
    with the Gila River Indian Community.
    - And I happened to be sharing at a meeting
    that I mentioned, "Oh, I'm from Gila River,"
    and he came up to me, "[gasps]
    "Oh, my God, you don't understand,
    you're so important." I go, "What?"
    And he goes, "I need to find this guy.
    "And I know some people,
    I know a lot of people in Gila River."
    So "this is a big project," I'm thinking to myself.
    "Yes, I can do this for you."
    - And that created a huge purpose
    in both our lives, together,
    as part of our recovery,
    and it put us in touch with a whole group of people
    that was a support network.
    - Being in recovery has brought me back to my tribe.
    Allowed me to live outside of my head, you know,
    I'm not in my head as much, you know,
    and that's a very important thing, not isolating yourself.
    - He could call 20 people immediately
    and have five or ten people
    be anywhere he needed them to be in an instant, as could I.
    That's what recovery support network does.
    We're all part of his community within the tribe
    and then it's reciprocated,
    and there is no event that happens--
    for example, at our church--
    that he isn't an integral part of.
    He has a huge purpose in our faith community,
    as well as his son.
    - Having this, a fellowship of people--
    I have people in the church,
    also in the recovery for-- 12-step recovery people.
    I've made a lot of friends.
    Of course, also my veteran friends.
    Being involved, not isolating myself,
    and being in contact with people,
    I'm-- I got really good friends now
    and they take good care of me, they love me.
    I'm in the network now, you see?
    Nobody's gonna allow me to fall.
    I don't have to be alone no more.
    - We're here to say,
    "If we can do it, you can do it."
    - These 12-step programs, they understand you.
    They understand you. I mean, they might not know,
    maybe the exact same events that have gone on in your life,
    but they understand the depravity,
    the--the depression, the hole you get yourself into,
    they understand that and they understand you.
    And having somebody understand you like that,
    it doesn't get better than that.
    - Ask for help. Don't try to do it on your own.
    Ask for help.
    And keep asking until you get it.
    The best way to heal is to open up I got tired of fighting myself She could tell that I was a different person It's OK. You're not alone. Today I welcome the day in I had a little bit of hope, and I ran with it His whole world was unreal for him Now it's time for me Couples Therapy My life has gotten so much more livable