The story of boy meets girl on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) campus takes many forms, and our story is one that continues to unfold. Big things often have humble beginnings…
The story of boy meets girl on Alcoholics Anonymous campus takes many forms, and ours is one that continues to unfold.
Jasmine began drinking heavily when she left home for college. At the age of 21, she entered a treatment facility in Prescott, Arizona, far from her home in Bar Harbor, Maine. My story began as high school ended, when I began drinking and using drugs. After several arrests and multiple felonies, I, too, was sent to Prescott, Arizona, for help – 50 miles north of where I grew up.
Jasmine and I met in the rooms of AA, but we became close while working in a local restaurant. Our first date was almost ten years ago. We approached our relationship by becoming friends first, and we believe that is why our relationship has been successful.
Eight months later, Jasmine and I moved in together. We had both done well staying sober, and we began saving money for a down payment on a condo. At age 24, we bought our first house.
Throughout this time, we were both attending Twelve Step meetings every day, working fulltime and attending community college. Jasmine graduated with an associate’s degree in nursing, and I received an associate’s degree in business administration, both from Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona.
I hadn’t been honest about my sobriety date. After three years sober, I came clean and revealed the true date. It was a great weight off my shoulders, and it finally made my recovery process feel authentic.
Upon graduating from community college, Jasmine began working for a small billing company. I continued college for a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
After graduation and many failed attempts at corporate work, I decided to go into the addiction treatment field. I began as a group counselor, but quickly realized it wasn’t a good fit for me. I decided I wanted to do individual assessments and provide outdoor adventure therapy. I was given the opportunity to become a lead admission specialist at a local treatment center. Because I excelled at my work, they soon offered me a fulltime job.
On June 26, 2010, as the full moon rose over Arizona’s Verde Valley, I proposed to Jasmine on top of Mingus Mountain. It was beautiful, spectacular and perfect. We married exactly two years later in Northeast Harbor, Maine, near where Jasmine was born and raised. Our friends and family traveled from all over the country to join in our joyous celebration.
A year later, we began thinking about having a child. In 2014, Jasmine and I discovered she was pregnant and due in January of 2015. Having left the company I had been working for because of the 100-mile-a-day drive, I was in a state of flux.
I decided to become a partner in a private institution. When that business deal fell through, I felt clueless and lost. I was encouraged by family and friends to open a treatment center and began exploring that option. In December 2014, I visited Portland, Maine, in search of a good location to open our own facility, which we decided to call Liberty Bay Recovery.
The trip was a success. Upon my return home, we decided to leave Arizona and move to Portland. Everyone thought we were crazy. Portland was experiencing one of the worst winters on record, but I knew my Higher Power was guiding me the entire way. Liberty Bay Recovery Center was officially created on January 1, 2015. I returned to Prescott and spent the month, six to eight hours a day, writing policies and procedures.
Many members of our families had gathered in Prescott in preparation of our baby Remington’s arrival. On January 14, 2015, we became the proud parents of a beautiful seven pound, five ounce baby boy. Remy is the best thing that has ever happened to either of us; we are blessed to have him.
In February while I packed up our three-bedroom house, Jasmine dealt with severe postpartum depression. We had originally planned to open Liberty Bay in South Portland, but that opportunity had fallen through. We finally found another location on Forest Avenue in Portland. On Craigslist, I found a home close to our new business, which we snatched up even though the rent was over twice the amount of our Arizona mortgage.
I trusted my Higher Power and trusted the process. In early March, Jasmine, Remington, our two dogs and I hit the road for a two-week trip across the country. While traveling through Ohio, we visited family members and attended an AA meeting. The journey was extremely stressful because of the close quarters and the coordinating I had to do along the way. Despite the inconveniences, we arrived at Portland, Maine, in mid-March.
The moment we walked into our new home, we felt we had made a terrible mistake. There was no furniture. It was 30 degrees outside, and there were several feet of snow still on the ground. To top all that off, the house smelled of lacquer. We were afraid things wouldn’t work out.
In April of 2015, our business passed the state inspection. By early May, we officially opened Liberty Bay Recovery. As we were still feeling uncertain about our future, it was an emotional time for us. Despite our fears, we received our first client on May 16. By the end of May, our first recovery house was completely full.
At first, it was a rollercoaster ride. I was dealing with severe depression and experiencing possible bipolar episodes. Despite this, Jasmine persisted. She dug in and worked hard; the company began to grow and thrive; and I was able to find effective medication.
Our company now has four sober living homes: three for men and one for women. We are blessed to be in Portland, Maine, and to be providing addicts and alcoholics with the treatment they deserve. As long as we remain sober, trust God, clean house and help others, our future is bright.