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My experience here at the John Volken Academy (JVA) has been in many ways the hardest and best experience I have had in my whole life. Before arriving, I was despondent, alone, and afraid. In many ways, I did not believe that I was worth the effort to get sober and that death was the better way.


Desperate and afraid, I looked outward hoping an answer to my prayer would come. When I first heard about the JVA, I laughed, exclaiming, “You are telling me I have to work for two years for no money, with no phone, and am not going to be able to speak or hang out with women. LOL You are crazy!” However, within 5 minutes of taking a tour of the facility, I knew that this wasn’t at all what I had expected! The men were kind, respectful, welcoming, and most important – Passionate. They were passionate about everything, from cleaning toilets to selling furniture. Once I started to really buy in and believe that I was capable of doing more than I ever believed possible, I began to find a passion for living. My brothers started to pull me out of the fog, the haze, the lies, the behaviors, and self-delusions that I had been living in for the last ten years. I am so grateful for my brothers here as well as the John Volken Academy. When everyone else in my life said they did not want anything to do with me, my brothers in the Academy were willing to except me with all of my faults and failures. That they would accept me into their family is a debt I can never repay, but for the rest of my life I will forever be trying to make the ledger even. After 18 months, I have learned what it means to live life on life’s terms as well as how to be truly happy. The JVA has given me a chance at a life and I am always striving to be worthy of the gift that I have received by doing what JOHN VOLKEN has asked us to do, which is stay SOBER for life and be the best we can. There is a plan in my life now; I have a life worth living and I am always trying to do the best I can and to find the path that is laid out for me. I know that there will be pain and struggles in my future, but know those pains and struggles are for my good and will make me stronger. I want others to know that no matter how far down the ladder you have fallen, if you are committed to change your life, there is always a place where you can find a family that will help you in your struggle.