Samuel’s Recovery Story

On the morning of August 25, 2011, I woke up in a jail cell, full of guilt and shame. “Not again,” I said to myself, not knowing what I did the night before. All I knew is that I have to do something to prevent this never-ending spiral. I couldn’t stop telling myself, and this has got to stop.

As I sat in that jail cell, I looked at the other guy who slept on the cold, concrete floor. We both had an overpowering scent of alcohol, perforating through our sweaty pores. I felt a drop of blood on my left eyelid. Surprised, I put my fingers over a head trauma that was given to me the night before. I then realized what I did. The guilt and shame had a meaning.

Hours passed like days, and I was helpless. No one was there to help me. I realized that I had to support myself, without anybody’s aid. I had to take action. I needed to do something for MYSELF, and no one else. “My drinking career had ended,” I thought to myself.

Time ran its course, and I focused on the next step of my recovery. I admitted defeat which I didn’t have control over alcohol and the fantasy along with it, of false confidence in self-control. I gave up trying to pretend that I can drink socially, responsibly, and morally. I gave up all the lies I told to my loved ones, I gave up holding the guilt and shame, I gave it all up, and for once, I wanted to give honesty a try.

I couldn’t think any further, and it hadn’t hit me yet, that HONESTY is my SOLUTION to all my problems.
I am chained to other convicted felons and misdemeanors, behind a window, looking at the courtroom. No one was looking at me. I sat there in fear, knowing that I had to be honest with myself. I wasn’t afraid of not knowing what was coming to me by the judge, because I knew I was in trouble. I was scared of admitting that I am an alcoholic.
The judge called my name, “Mr. Nothstine, please come up to the stand.”

I shuffled to the stand in chains, my body shaking with fear. The judge started to list all the charges against me, and I thought of something to say. I knew what I had to say, but I didn’t want to. The judge asked if I had any comments. Then this is what I said. “Judge, I am guilty of all charges. Everything you said is correct. I have realized that from all of this, is because of my drinking. I am an alcoholic. I came back here, because of alcohol. I know that now.”

The judge nodded at me, and it was strange to see a look of relief. I hadn’t seen any facial emotion from the judge until then. Moreover, the judge told me, “Mr. Nothstine, you are an example that these other men can take after (The judge points to the other convicts in the room with his finger), I am relieved that you know why you’re here. From here on out, I pray that God will guide you on your road to recovery. Good luck, sir.”

THE RELIEF! I had never felt such relief in my life! The once shame and guilt that chained me was gone. I was FREE! That is funny to say because I am still in a jail cell, but in my mind, I was a free man. I admitted defeat, and I was free! Free of guilt! Free of shame!

I am still sober to this day, and how this thing called honesty changed my life forever. No longer do I have to be a slave to alcohol. No longer do I have to be lying. No longer do I have to feel the guilt and shame from the night before. No longer do I have to feel like a loser.