New year brings a new, sober, happier life

Recovering alcoholic shares his story

New year brings a new, sober, happier life

BEND, Ore. - With the new year comes new resolutions, new trends -- and for some new beginnings. For one Bend man, 2013 starts another year of sobriety, somewhere he never thought he'd be in a million "new" years.

"My father was a raging alcoholic," said Mike, a recovering alcoholic. "I guess it was like father like son."

At the young age of 14, Mike began his relationship with alcohol. A relationship that would last for 45 years of his life.

"I was the type of drinker that hid my alcohol consumption from the rest of the world," said Mike. "My drinking basically started in the evening -- you know, after the kids were in bed -- and then I'd go in my garage I'd work on my projects, and I'd drink."

Mike describes his early drinking habits as social. Working in a career based around alcohol, he said he thought everyone drank. But with time, his "social" habit became much more.

"I had to have a drink in the morning. If I didn't, I would shake, and my nerves -- you know, I had to calm myself down with a morning dose of alcohol," Mike explained.

Mike said his health was declining, and he did not realize just how much until his doctor pointed out a growing problem with his liver.

"My levels weren't to the point that it was dangerous, but it was on its way," Mike said, explaining his health scares.

That's when Mike decided he needed to change.

With the help of his doctor and his family, he turned to Serenity Lane, an alcohol and drug abuse treatment center, with locations throughout Oregon.

"Mike came to us with a fairly significant drinking problem," said Bob Synder, a clinical coordinator at Serenity Lane. "He went to residential treatment, and then has been here with us in our outpatient treatment for over a year now."

For more than a year, those programs have taught Mike about his disease, and kept him on track to an alcohol-free life.

"That's one of the things we really stress is getting people accurate educational information about addictive disease," said Snyder.

"All the things that I knew about alcohol were actually not true," said Mike. "Going through Serenity Lane, I learned how addiction works, how it works on me. And that was the beauty of the program."

A beauty that has helped him through the last 12 months, and hopefully many more to come.

"I've got a year behind me now, and I know what I have to do, and I know what I have to do to stay sober," Mike said. "You can do it. I mean, if I can do it anybody can do it."

Mike continues to attend meetings with AA and counselors at Serenity Lane every week. He also said he has become a yogi, and does Bikram yoga three times a week.

If you or one of your loved one is struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction you can contact Serenity Lane in Bend at (541) 383-0844, or you can visit their website at

Snyder said trying to get over an addiction of your own is successful 10% of the time, but if you combine going to AA meetings with professional treatment the success rate goes up around 70-to-80%.

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