I remember sitting down to draw up the idea of LI Helps. Similar to most things that become great, you never know how great it will be when you are staring at that drawing board. I knew I wanted to help addicts, I knew I wanted to help their families, I knew I needed resources, I knew I needed help. How to get to that destination was a jumble of puzzle pieces in my head. Slowly but surely, I started putting this puzzle together. Discouraged at first, since the field surrounding substance abuse is filled with legal jargon and restrictions I’d have to hurdle. I felt alone; I felt like these organizations already in place extended no hand to help and wanted nothing to do with me. My brain hurt because I understood recovery differently. Recovery is my world; the people in recovery are my world and I had mistaken these “professionals” to understand my point of view.
I must have written through five notebooks. These notebooks contained my life story. Written was my experiences getting sober and struggling to maintain sobriety. Forty treatment experiences, outpatient, detox, inpatient, private therapy, and 39 failures. I poured my heart out and by doing so, knew I could create a better process for the still sick and suffering. I knew If I could fill the gaps in my story, I could do my best to prevent others from falling in them.
I met Edward Haar in a facility called Outreach House 2, located in Brentwood, New York. This was a drug rehabilitation/behavior modification program. We shared a room at one point and one of my first trusted relationships in recovery was formed. Long story short, we both graduated and went on struggling for many more years. Ironically, I found myself standing on his stoop in the chilly mouth of January 2016. We discussed my idea and he was influenced by my enthusiasm to help people like us. Shortly after that, LI Helps Recovery Initiation was officially formed. We spent endless hours discussing ideas, how to influence this industry in a positive fashion, how we could change the process, and ultimately help one million people and their families achieve recovery.
I’ll never forget the call I received from two childhood friends implying Kevin Alter needed my help getting sober. Kevin and I grew up together and influenced each other in a negative way for many years. We’ve been sober together, relapsed together, and at the moment of that phone call had gone our separate way for two years. I picked Kevin up from the south Bronx where he had been shooting heroin and cocaine for the better part of a month. He was sucked in, beaten down, strung out, and had a defeated look in his eyes. Humbly, he took my advice, never questioned the process, and truth be told has become one of my greatest accomplishments. Our friendship is forever growing and his passion to help people has become one of the main components of the dream LI Helps. In recovery, he has found his ability to write and reach the souls of addicts and their families.