Q: At which facility did you receive treatment? A: I went to Oregon to what is now known as the Springbrook Center in Newberg. Q: What is your sobriety date? A: April 11, 2006 Q:What was life like for you before you went to treatment? A: I actually drank normally for years. However, a doctor I saw for stomach issues prescribed Xanax. The medication worked well, but I wasn't ready for the craving that set in when the prescription ended. I began "doctor shopping," looking for someone more lenient and "open-minded" to help. I eventually found a doctor, but my tolerance grew stronger as I continued to take the drug. I turned to alcohol to balance the craving, and within a couple of years, I had to have either alcohol or Xanax—or both—in my system all the time. The alcohol began to tear my stomach lining, making it more and more difficult to keep food down or maintain my weight. I kept waking up in the middle of the night with the shakes from withdrawal. I had to have a drink just to go to work, go to the store, to do anything. I couldn't function without alcohol. My father had gently mentioned that maybe I needed to "go someplace to dry out," but I refused, hanging on to alcohol to the very last minute. But one day, I couldn't take it anymore. I called him for help. We started looking at treatment centers at decided on Hazelden in Springbrook, Oregon. My father flew up with me and even stayed in town an extra day to make sure I was okay. On my first day, I was welcomed by the rest of the guys in my unit and attended my first recovery meeting. The guys shared about how they hid their alcohol, and how they went to different liquor stores so the guy behind the counter wouldn't judge them for coming in so often. I couldn't believe it! Other people had done some of the same things that I had hidden and felt so badly about for years. It felt so good, and I didn't have that empty feeling of aloneness anymore. Today, I go to Twelve Step meetings on a regular basis. I honestly look forward to them; there is such a feeling of warmth and community in these meetings. There is freedom in being able to talk about tough life problems without having to worry about being judged. Sobriety is a big part of my life, but it doesn't define me. I'm a strong believer in balance. Q: What was the toughest aspect of quitting? A: My addictions were alcohol and Xanax, so I was experiencing a lot of sleepless nights for the first month and a half. Q: If you could share one piece of advice that has served you well to someone still suffering from addiction, what would it be? A: I would tell them that they are not alone; that other people are going through the same things that they are. There is always help available.