Moving Beyond Misery

23.06.2022 Nick Recent News

Story by Kerry Cooper

One morning, I looked at my life and I knew that this day was the day that I would do whatever it took to be free from the life of misery that I had led for so long.

At the age of 55, I was addicted to crack cocaine and in a state of hopelessness. I was a convicted felon who had been to prison more times than I could count. The brief periods between prison terms were all the same: promises to family that this time when I got out, I would do the right thing: get a job, stop using, and be a productive member of society.

I didn’t understand why I was paroled from prison and always returned to the same lifestyle that led me to a life of misery and despair. I knew that my life was worth more, and my biggest fear was to die and be remembered as a crackhead. In December 2018, I notified my family that I was DONE, and that I would be going to check into a drug treatment facility. This time was not like the other times and my family knew it.

I had heard of a program named “Rena B”, so I called and did a phone screening, but at that time, there were no beds available. I followed up every day, and a few days later, they informed me that there was an available bed at one of their locations called “Bimini”. When I arrived, I knew that I would receive the help that I needed, and I was ready to do whatever it took to never return to the life of misery that I had lived for so many years. 

  As a resident of “Bimini”, I began to understand that I suffered from a condition that needed to be treated. I received the treatment and learned that I would also need to live a life in recovery. I learned that abstinence alone wasn’t enough. I needed to understand what was going on with me psychologically.  I did what was recommended in the 12-step recovery programs and was able to discover the root of my disorder and allowed the miracle to manifest. As a result, I began to live a life free from the misery and pain of drug addiction.

After completing treatment at the Bimini, I began working as a street sweeper at Chrysalis Enterprises in skid row. Although I was grateful to be employed, I knew what I really wanted to do was to work in treatment as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor to help others who suffered from addiction as I did.

I enrolled in Los Angeles City College with the determination to receive the skills and training to reach my goal.  Today, I am proud to say that I am a Group Facilitator in “Bimini”, one of the programs of Social Model Recovery Systems, and on June 7th of this year, I received my Associate of Arts degrees in both Human Services/Addiction Studies and Social and Behavior Science.