When wellness is more than sobriety: Jerad’s story

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Published July 1, 2023

Jerad’s last two relapses changed him.

“I scared myself,” he said. “It didn’t hit me through two DUIS and two treatments, but it feels like I finally realized the significance of what I’m doing.”

The last few years of Jerad’s wellness journey haven’t been easy. He’s tried many different approaches but has struggled to find what works for him and feels like a good fit.

“I’ve wondered why it’s not working and why this keeps happening,” he said. “I kind of had an awakening, a realization, that my wellbriety isn’t just sobriety, it’s overall wellness. If I’m in touch with my higher power and keep head and heart clear, I shouldn’t need to drink.”

Through his late teens and into his twenties, Jerad maintained the party and drinking lifestyle with his friends. About five years ago, he decided to switch to liquor to cut down on the number of beers he drank. 

“Then that just kind of snowballed into how I would drink; I exceeded my limit more and more,” he said. “It turned into a bigger mess.”

Through his DUIs and treatments, Jerad’s family has been there for him. It was his mom who initially brought him to Face It TOGETHER, where he met his peer coach, Terri.

Unlike in some of the other programs Jerad has tried, he hasn’t felt pressured to do things a certain way.

“Terri always has smart things to say and good resources,” he said. “I know she’s watched me fall on my face quite a few times. She’s always been there to talk to me about it and answer questions.”

Terri has helped Jerad look at his thought patterns, plan ahead and stay positive.

"I’ve been maybe trying to force a lot of things for a long time instead of looking at the glass half full,” he said. “She always tries to leave me with positive words.”

Honesty has been a big part of Jerad’s coaching journey with Terri. Instead of trying to keep things in, it’s getting easier for him to say what he’s feeling.

“She’s always said be honest, even with yourself, no matter what,” he said.

Although Jerad feels he’s been honest in the other recovery programs he’s tried through the years, he said it’s been a kind of “padded honesty.” He told the truth, but he wasn’t completely open. That has changed in his time with Terri. 

“I can say I feel like shit, and that’s alright,” he said. “It has helped exponentially. She’s been in some of the same situations, so she gets it.”

For anyone else on a similar path, Jerad hopes they find what works best for them. The programs he tried – the ones that felt forced, because they weren’t what he wanted – didn’t work.

“I’m so glad there’s no ‘Face It TOGETHER way.’ It’s more about what works for the individual,” he said. “I’ve thought I would’ve been kicked out from Face It TOGETHER because I just feel like I’ve been struggling for so long. But Terri’s always been there.”

In the last six months, Jerad has felt a turning point in his journey. He’s not white knuckling anymore. His mindset is more positive. He’s being honest with himself and others.

“It’s been a wild ride,” he said. “Now when I feel myself getting worked up, it just hasn’t been that hard to stay sober. I like reporting good news and having the confidence and really wanting sobriety.”

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