Constantly Re-Inspired

Recovery newcomer Ben M. makes the most of his sober social community for insight and support.
Ben M sitting in an grassy field during sunset
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I put my sobriety out there for everyone to know, and now I have all kinds of people rooting for me

Ben M.

Ben M. posted his status for all the metaverse to see. "I wrote that I went to rehab, that I was grateful to be sober and that I was so happy to have this clear-headed, new life for myself," Ben recaps. 

The outpouring of love, support and sober-curiosity he received blew him away. 

"I put my sobriety out there for everyone to know, and now I have all kinds of people rooting for me," Ben shares. "I'm using that energy to keep my sobriety going, and I've also been reaching back to people who want to know what rehab's like and how sobriety is working for me."  

If I Can Do This, You Can Too

Ben's always been a very social guy, so his unofficial new role as something of a Millennial sobriety social influencer comes naturally. 

"Posting is one way I've found to hold myself accountable," Ben explains. "I have an app on my phone that tracks how many days I've been sober. When I hit a milestone, I take a screenshot and share it on my social media. It's about accountability for me and it's also in the spirit of, 'Hey, if I can do this, you can too.'" 

Ironically, the first photo Ben ever posted on Facebook back in 2008—when Facebook was just coming on the scene—was of himself and two high school friends, each hoisting a bottle of alcohol. 

"We were goofing around in the basement of my parents' house in Brooklyn, and it's clear from the photo that we thought we were all that," he laughs. 

Ben kind of was all that in high school—an accomplished athlete, gifted actor and popular student. He did a lot of drinking on weekends with other underage friends, though, and had a special talent for sneaking into the hottest NYC nightclubs. At college in California on a theater scholarship, Ben's drinking went next-level, amplified by frequent marijuana use and experimentation with just about every other substance around. He earned the nickname Ben Party. 

Somehow Ben held things together enough to land a job after college on Wall Street, where the combination of a demanding work schedule by day and acting classes by night provided enough structure to keep his drinking and drug use in check for a couple of years. Still, Hollywood— and dreams of an acting career—beckoned. 

That's What Happened with Me!

Ben moved back to California where his success as a nightclub promoter led to a job at an exclusive bar favored by Hollywood celebrities. The work was fun, the pay was good, but the situation was ludicrous given Ben's challenges with substance use. He was fired when he was caught sneaking drinks. Ben quickly found a similar job at a similarly exclusive Hollywood speakeasy where, over the next few years, he became the preferred bartender for entertainment industry a-listers. That's when his addiction really took off—routinely drinking on the job until 2 a.m. and then chasing down drugs at after-hour clubs. Once again, Ben was eventually fired—this time for being passed-out drunk on the job. 

Recognizing that a nightclub probably wasn't his optimal work environment, Ben found a job in the car industry. But alcohol and drugs followed him there, and he was fired after a hangover-fueled altercation. Ben's next position was in luxury car sales where he started to build a successful career before slowly breaking every rule he'd set for himself around substance use (only beer, no daytime drinking, etc.) 

A series of deeply embarrassing and dangerous incidents culminated in Ben's girlfriend contacting his parents. 

"My parents flew out to check on me. I couldn't believe things had come to this, and that I was having this humiliating conversation with my parents. I was filled with shame and guilt." 

Ben's father started making phone calls. A colleague's recommendation led the family to the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California. Ben was ready to go to treatment, even though the prospect of giving up alcohol forever felt impossible. And he didn't realize marijuana was prohibited too—that was his go-to whenever he tried to curb or quit drinking. 

"Once I got to rehab, everything changed for me," Ben shares. "I started listening and learning and recognizing that, 'Hey, that's what happened with me!' I finally had names for what I was experiencing—symptoms, cravings, triggers." 

I Did What Worked for Him

Ben also connected with the healing principles and practices of Twelve Step recovery: the idea that positive change can be contagious. 

"I learned by following my roommate's lead. I did what worked for him, which were things he learned from someone else—and so on, and so on. We pass on what we learn. That's the flow and unity that helps us stay sober." 

Now months into recovery, Ben is a regular at Twelve Step meetings, checks in almost daily with guys from his treatment unit and works the Steps with his alumni contact from the Betty Ford Center. He's also back at work full time and living recovery out loud. 

"I understand I'm not 'cured' of addiction, but I know I can always reach out and there's a whole community of help and support for me," Ben says. "I'm constantly re-inspired."

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