Recovery Was My Release From Prison and My Path to a Better Life

Recovery Was My Release From Prison and My Path to a Better Life - #VoicesProject

My name is John Fabiseski. I have not put a mind or mood altering substance in my body since January 26, 2014.

Directly because of my recovery I am able to be a husband to my wife, a father to my children, and a grandfather to my grandchildren. I am employable today and I work as a certified recovery specialist. I have found purpose in my life and recovery has given me that purpose.

My addiction started at the age of 11 where I would get beer from the fridge for my grandfather. The first time I tasted alcohol it was repulsive. But it did something that I instantly connected with. It took away that hole I felt like I had that I was less than, that I was not good enough. My addiction progressed into my teen years and I soon found myself tossed out of multiple schools.

By the age of 18, I found myself couch surfing and living where I could. I was incarcerated for the first time at the age of 20 for fighting and underage drinking. I thought it was cool to have been in jail – even marking the wall with my initials JMF.

My first child arrived and I was so far into my addiction that I didn’t even go to the hospital when she was born. Over the next 20 years, I tried to white knuckle and get sober. I had to sell a successful bar business because my cocaine addiction almost took my life. My wife made the harsh decision – for I was incapable of making it myself.

In the years to come my addiction led to more troubles at home and arrests. In January 2014, I lost my best friend. I was out of work, losing my home, my wife, and was suicidal. On January 26, I tried to end my life. I failed and awoke alive in a jail cell.

On the second day of detoxing, I was sick and praying for death. I was laying on a concrete floor because the cold on my face made me feel better. I tried to get to my bunk so I could tie a knot to hang myself, but I could not get up. I tried to hold my breath but that didn’t work. I asked whatever was out there to please give me some kind of sign –  just something as to why I should live.

When I opened my eyes, I saw something that I hold dear to this day. Call it a divine intervention, a moment of clarity, a coincidence – whatever you want to call it (if it needs a label). But to me, I call it MY gift of desperation. There were those initials (JMF). Painted over, faded, but recognizable. Here I was 20 years later in the same place, doing the same thing over and over again.

I knew that I had to change.

I was accepted into a diversion program and began rebuilding my life and living in recovery. I go into jails now to talk to individuals about substance use disorder and assist them with re-entry. Recovery has given me purpose. The guy that couldn’t be there for his daughter when she was born got to walk her down the aisle and give a speech at her wedding.

I was there when thousands stood up and told the world that it was time to end the silence around addiction in Washington, DC. Everyday is a blessing. Everyday recovery continues to bless me. I will be traveling to Ghana Africa this fall to visit recovery programs to give my experience, strength, and hope to others.

For me, recovery has allowed me to be person I always knew I could be.

We are all just stories in the end. Make yours a good one.

Start today and change your story. I am not anonymous because I am a face of recovery. Today, I have piece of mind and I try to give this gift to all that are willing.