My name is Kareem. I just turned 18 a couple months ago on May 14th. To know a little about me… I just graduated high school two days before coming to Phoenix House. I am polite, well mannered, outgoing, and intelligent for my age. I am very bright; curious. I am someone you can get to know by just a conversation.
I’ve been at Phoenix House for 48 days now. I’m almost at the 2-month mark. My time here is everything to me. I’ve learned so much about myself while being here. Since I’m in a controlled environment, it is crucial that I lean hot to have structure and responsibility in my life. This Program had taught me lessons every day on how to stay sober and use positivity in my life. God put me here for a reason. I look at everything that way because I believe in my higher power. I am grateful for being put here in the Phoenix House. During my time, I use every day to learn something and to use the reformed staff as proof. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it’s how you get up that counts.
This experience has given me a chance to learn from peers my age that life isn’t a game. Everyone here has been in my shoes before and their life experience is proof of how fast you can screw up your life if you don’t learn that the past ways must change for you to survive. I’ve learned that addiction is a serious mental disease. But there is hope because there is a cure if you have the determination and will power to want change in your life. This experience has taught me to love myself in every way so that I don’t need drugs to mask my problems in life. I am blessed to be in a sober environment where I can think smart and clearly about what my purpose in life is and which steps I can choose to get where ever I want in the world — Drug Free!
My life has been changing because I promised myself and my family that I cannot go back to the selfish and destructive path I was on in the past. It would only lead to more shame on my family, jail, or death. I have dedicated everyday being here to finding myself and to learning something new every day. I have learned to put my negative behaviors like lying, cheating, stealing, and most manipulating behaviors I had before to an end. I’ve made bad decisions in the past that are the opposite of who I really am and that have affected me negatively, but it’s how I bounce back from what I’ve donate that is really going to define me. While here I have donated my time to helping others when I can. Volunteering to programs like Arf, LVINS, and other programs to help others in need. I’ve joined the kitchen crew in the house to help and to learn things I can take back and better myself.
My goal after I leave here is to give back to the place that helped me find myself and granted my token to a better life. I am going to return home and pursue college and the army reserve in the future. I want to have a an above 3.3. GPA in college. I also want to become a counselor or motivational speaker to help people suffering from addiction and younger kids, stay away from drugs, sharing the real-world experience that I’ve had and what I’ve learned from my teachers along the way. I want to make something of my life that my community, my family, and anyone that helped med along the way would be proud of.
My favorite thing about Phoenix House is the relatable staff. Off the bat when I came here, I learned the staff here, all the way from the rises to the directors, have been through hell just like us clients. They found the light through sobriety to help become who they are today. Also, while being here the staff tried to make you feel that you are somewhat still a part of society and truly want you to change your life for the better. But they are not going to baby you through it. You must put in the work to want to change for yourself. They have great things for you to occupy your time… and many ways for you to express yourself and find people here you can relate to. I believe this is one of the bright spots in the world that I wish more places could replicate.
I’ve learned so many lessons from this place it’s ridiculous. I might have to write a book on how many lessons you can learn from being at Phoenix House. The biggest lesson I learned here is that everyone in the world should follow is that it’s your life and you must put your life first. Let me elaborate on that. You must take your life like it is the last life. Everything you do in life is going to affect you first but also everyone in your life. That’s why you must live your life to the fullest potential. I’ve learned discipline, accountability, and responsibility. I’ve learned to learn from mistakes because that’s how you survive the world and to take life more seriously because you must appreciate everything you are given. There are some who are not as lucky as you and are struggling to be where you are right now. The most important lesson of all is take life one day at a time, one minute at time, and worry about doing the next right thing because good things come to the ones who do good things.
It’s a proven fact that people who overcome addiction are blessed by god with talents that help society in ways that are incredible. We are amazing people, we just need help to reach our full potential.