This month we sat down and talked with the Program Coordinator of Transitional Living, Jordan McVay. In his role, he helps facilitate and coordinate activities for the Green Hill Transitional Living house while providing oversight and guidance for administration tasks. This month Jordan will be celebrating his 2-year sobriety anniversary, so we explored what his journey has looked like and what this milestone means for him.
You’re coming up on your 2 year anniversary of sobriety. What feelings and emotions come up for you when you think about reaching this milestone?
It’s difficult to put into words how I feel about this milestone. Years ago, I was convinced that my life was going to end at a young age and that I would die in the midst of active addiction. Honestly, I welcomed that fate because in that moment I believed that death was the only way the misery I was living in would subside. Today, I have a life I never imagined. I am overwhelmed with gratitude & hope.
What has your journey looked like over the last 2 years? How has your role at GHR played into/affected your journey?
I would be lying if I said it was all rainbows and unicorns. It was up and down, especially the first six months. I was working in a Behavioral Health hospital, there were no in person meetings, and I wasn’t doing any of the work that is suggested to us when we get sober. I reached the jumping off place. I was either going to drink & use, most likely leading to the end, or I was going to take action and do something different. Thank God I chose the latter.
I became heavily involved with an AA group based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and met people that would assist me in changing the trajectory of my entire life. I worked the 12 steps with a sponsor that I had never met in person. This was proof to me that no matter the circumstances it was possible for me to stay sober, but I had to be willing to take the action.
After celebrating my 1 year anniversary virtually, I began looking for ways to get involved with the recovery community in Raleigh. One day, my wife sent me a link and it led me to the Green Hill Recovery website. Although I wanted out of the acute psychiatric and detox setting, and even though my career goal was to work with young men in recovery, I reached out to Green Hill with zero thought of a job. I just knew I needed to help others. After a few meetings with Nick & Ryan, the conversations shifted into me potentially coming on board at GHR. So naturally, I quit my job at the hospital before I was actually ever offered a job (2 out of 10, would not recommend doing it that way).
Fast forward to today; I have the privilege to work for incredible individuals who have allowed me to learn and develop and have given me the chance of a lifetime. I get to work with young men in recovery and make an impact in this community.
Before you got sober, did you ever think your life could be the way it is now? Why/why not?
Absolutely not. There is no doubt whatsoever that I would not have seen the age of 30. It is said a lot in recovery that we would sell ourselves short if we attempted to predict what our lives would be like today and that is true for me. Today, I am truly proud of who I am. There is a peace and serenity that I never thought I’d feel. I can look people in the eyes today. I get to wake up each day and I get another chance to make a difference in the world.
What about your life has changed over the last 2 years? What has improved, or where have you found added value/satisfaction/happiness/etc (ex. family, social life, etc)?
Oh, wow. Everything in my life has changed. In February of this year, I became the Program Coordinator of Transitional Living. The relationship I have with my wife is the best it has ever been. My relationships with family and friends have drastically improved and I am truly proud of how far I have come, while recognizing that this journey is far from over. We became homeowners in August of 2021, after many years of catastrophic financial situations that I put us in.
I have a whole group of friends in another country that I have come to love and cherish. I got the opportunity to meet all of them in September of 2021, after almost 2 years of virtual interactions throughout the pandemic. I’ll be there in late April to celebrate my anniversary.
For the first time in my life, I am happy with myself. I am having fun again. The Green Hill clients may consider me to be an old man (*eye roll*), but I feel young and vibrant, and I am loving life. I am proud of my journey and how far I have come. I choose to recover loudly today.
“What if we recover loudly, we could prevent others from dying quietly….”
If you could speak to someone contemplating recovery, what would you say to them? What advice would you give?
Give yourself a chance. Give this thing a shot.
I spent years in a dark and miserable place and even when I was able to put together a little time, I always went back to alcohol and drugs. I didn’t realize at the time that I had never given recovery a real chance. I would often take certain suggestions and do the “easier” ones, I’d pick and choose which ones I thought I needed to do…inevitably, I found myself drunk, high, and saying “ThIs PrOgRaM DoEsNt WoRRRkkKK!!” The reality, for me is, that when I truly put all of my effort into sobriety and started following the suggestions of the men in my network, the miracles started happening.
My advice? Jump in with both feet. Spend at least a year giving it everything you have. You can always go back to the miserable darkness that awaits you in active addiction. Jump into this amazing fellowship and I promise you will find your people. You will find lifelong friends that you share this deep connection with. You will HAVE FUN AGAIN!! All you have to do is show up, jump in, and stay out of your own way. The folks that have been doing it a little while longer will help show you the way.
I do need to say this: I talk a lot about the AA fellowship and the program of action that has guided me to achieve all of these wonderful things. It has absolutely done that – it has saved my life. But, if I happen to go back out and return to that darkness and misery that I spoke about, it is not because “the program didn’t work”. It is simply because I made the decision to stop doing the work and stopped taking suggestions. I distanced myself from my Higher Power, the fellowship, friends, family, etc. The program does work. You just have to commit to it.
You never have to be alone again. Never again.