Meet Mark S
Mark S was an altar boy. He did sports and played chess. The nuns at his prominent Catholic high school told him he had a great future. Then came drugs and alcohol.
Mark S was an altar boy. He participated in sports and the chess club at a prominent Catholic high school where nuns told him he had a great future. He never used drugs or alcohol. Then came college. At first, he excelled. Mark S was a great student, president of the Black Student Union, and picked by his class as “most likely to succeed.” But he lived a double life. Although he graduated college with a degree and a good job offer, he also left with a full-fledged addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t stop on my own,” Mark S said. “I joined the military to get some discipline. But when I got out, I gravitated right back to the same thing. Everything, every dime that I made went toward using drugs.” Mark recalls his bottom: He was in an alley, high and screaming to no one in particular, “I need help. I can’t stop. I don’t know why. What’s wrong with me? I just can’t stop.”
“When you think of that guy that came from that alley and all the stuff I’ve been able to accomplish now—coming on 33 years of sobriety — treatment works, recovery works. You get better.”
That help came from his mother and a treatment program he entered the next day. In the program, Mark S learned about addiction and reflected on his life. He realized that in order to maintain his recovery, he would need to change his people, his places, and his things.
So he did just that. Mark S was accepted into an Oxford House, a self-supported home for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. He stayed sober and worked through his program. Day by day, his life flourished. Mark S now helps open other Oxford Houses around the country. He is married, has a child, has bought and sold multiple homes, and is active in his community.
“When you think of that guy that came from that alley and all the stuff I’ve been able to accomplish now — coming on 33 years of sobriety — treatment works, recovery works. You get better.”
Today Mark S helps people who want to give recovery a chance find their path. “I want you to know that there’s a way out. You have a lot of people out there that’ll support you and help you, but you just need to reach out.”