Dear John Volken,
Before coming to the academy, I was a person who did not know who I was. I didn’t know what I believed, I didn’t know what I stood for, and I didn’t know where I was headed in life. I was so lost and sick inside that I refused to believe that there was any hope for me in the future. I had accepted the idea that I was to be an addict alcoholic for the rest of my life, and in the end, I would just die from my disease. The night I decided to commit suicide by heroin overdose, I got on my knees, and prayed. In that moment, my dog intervened by waking up crawled across the bed, and started licking my face as if to tell me “get up, and get help”. In a moment of clarity in which I have a hard time explaining, I was overwhelmed with all the answers, and knew exactly what I had to do, and that everything would be ok. I met God that night, and I will never forget it. A week and a half later, I arrived here at the academy. It has been 2 years since that moment, and I am no longer fearful of living my life. While here at the academy, I have discovered the kind of man I want to be. I have learned to be a leader by example, to show care and compassion to those around me, and to be a man of service to my friends, family and community. Most importantly, I have a relationship with God. I am no longer spiritually sick, but rather I now look forward to growing with my higher power each day. While being here I have learned to trust myself, and to trust others throughout my life. I have figured out the type of leader I was meant to be all along, and it took failure to find that out, and for that, I am so grateful. I’ve learned how to focus on the things most important to me, and let go of control. I am grateful for all the ups and downs of the program because it has
taught me how to get through things no matter how I feel. I plan to continue being a leader to students still in the program, even after I graduate, because I know how much of an impact it had on me to see graduates come around. I will give hope to those looking toward the future after the program, by stopping by, to enjoy a meal or two, attend AA meetings here at the academy, and sponsor any student looking to add some tools to their tool belt. My plan is to continue with AA, live at the transitional house, and contribute any way I can to give back what was so freely given to me.
Thank you for everything.