Testimonial

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Alex has created an oasis of change when he decided to share the powerful lessons he has learned and now lives through ARC RECOVERY! ARC is a superb example of finding healthy balance in recovery where I have looked time and again for guidance and encouragement! ARC is a place but even more so, a state-of-mind embodied in the framework of the very comfortable and safe sober living homes combined with sober sailing adventures where “teamwork makes the dream work” harnessing the ever present winds of change and forces of good to forge a new and lasting way of life. Alex and my time with ARC has and continues to be one of the most inspirational influences in my life and I’m beyond grateful for he and his professional and compassionate staff and fellow former ARC’ers being there for me to lean on for support while showing me that true freedom from drugs and alcohol can be both extremely fun and compellingly fulfilling! I truly hope someday i am able to have such profoundly positive affect on so many people as he does through ARC! Sailing with Alex is pure joy especially when you combine all the laughter plus the novel peace and freedom of being on the ocean. In addition to the daily mentoring and also thru sailing I have witnessed firsthand ARC’s subtle yet direct custom tailored approach with each individual to help them in overcoming the very different challenges presented in the early stages of embracing an incredibly satisfying new way of living! If anyone has any questions whatsoever about Alex, ARC or the genuineness of my endorsement, please call me direct anytime at 970.274.0100! Thanks and I hope my relating the difference Alex and ARC has made in my life will help you make the decision to sail in the sunlight of life! With Sincere Gratitude, Owen M. Garrity

 

Reflections of a Mother. By Sara Rivett-Carnac

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I had my car valeted yesterday. There was a stain on the back seat left there by Alex. A friend and I had scraped him into the car and driven him to rehab, again and curled up on the back seat, looking like a very frightened and small animal he lay on a banana!

I didn’t keep a diary of our journey through the nightmare of addiction but this was about 5 years ago! Not long in time but a lifetime in experience and recovery, for us both.

Alex started smoking dope when he was about 14 years old and then it progressed to most other addictions you can think of. He will say it was always who he was going to be, he can see the patterns of distorted thinking and challenging feelings way back in his childhood but as the 3rd child of 4 in a chaotic and travelling family lots was not noticed and lost in the mayhem of large family life. Not only for him but the other children too.

Of course I couldn’t see all this back then. At that time I was drenched in guilt and self blame, interspersed with rage and fury at the world and anywhere else I could try and relieve myself of the pressure of confused and unresolveable feelings.

I remember the first time Alex went into rehab, about aged 20, I went to a family support group and really couldn’t understand what they were saying. As far as I was concerned this was problem over, he was getting help, he was an intelligent, warm and loving person, he would obviously see what he had been doing and not do it anymore….on leaving the rehab he went and got drunk!

It takes a long time to really sink in that there is a problem here. Like most people I think I felt that he just had to’get a grip’ ‘try harder’ and all would be well.

I think it is holding all the paradoxes that was the hardest thing. He was, and still is, naturally loving and warm, so where did this vicious, manipulative rageful person come from? How could I really want him to die one moment and the next tuck him up in bed and sob with him over the awfulness of where we were? How could I know that there was nothing I could do to change his inner landscape and yet couldn’t stop trying with all my heart to do what I could?

And we all hung in there year after year. Hopes raised and dashed a thousand times, and we hung in. What made the changes you now see possible? I don’t know, maybe his beautiful wife, his children or maybe these things just have a life and gradually , if you stop feeding them they wither and crawl back into their cave. And then something else can start to grow and a life can flourish and the beast is in the cave where it can lick its wounds and in some way nourish and feed the life that then flowers.

I wish that Alex and I had never had to go through all that we did and I am eternally grateful that we did! Another of those paradoxes. It has changed me, I am a different person and I am glad.

And back to my newly valeted car. I no longer have a stain following me wherever I go!

Reflection of a Brother. By Tom Rivett-Carnac, Former Senior Advisor at United Nations.

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Reflection of a Brother

All traumas exact their own price, but the unique pain of an addiction in the family is that it exerts an agony that is both unbearable and mindlessly mundane. For fifteen years I witnessed the unraveling of my brother as he descended further and further from us into an addiction I could neither accept nor understand. As this went on, I still remember the moments when each of my strands of hope broke. The belief that I could reach him. The hope that things could not get worse. The terrible fear of the ultimate consequence. These threads snapped over the course of years, both breaking my heart again and again, but also habituating me to their reality. I would never have believed that what we got used to in those years could not only be borne, but actually become normal. The emergency rooms, the scouring of London streets and doorways at 3am for a body, the aggression, the terrible moments at which he could still be glimpsed in his torment. These passed from the realm of exceptional, life changing experiences and just became what we did. In retrospect we did what we needed to in order to survive and not be burned up by it. It was both dehumanising and tender beyond belief.

And then, after years had gone by and anger had changed unwillingly to acceptance, something changed. Somehow, the storm eased and passed, and there he was. Emerging out of this, he was in some senses changed beyond recognising. He was broken and new, but he was whole again. The depths that this has plumbed in him have created a capacity and a tendency for compassion and empathy that I now recognise would be impossible in someone who had not lived through this. In a totally surprising way, his journey was redemptive and healing in the end.

The restoration of my brother ranks along with the birth of my children as one of the defining experiences of my life. After hope had gone and we knew we had lost him, he somehow found the strength, through daily work and diligence, to pull himself through and back to us. I have since been asked by friends what made the difference and I always recognise the urgency with which this question is asked. Addiction is common and families suffer what we suffered, usually in silence, for decades. After reflecting deeply on it, I can honestly say I have no conception of what happened to make the impossible possible but I do know this; the fact that someone can go so deeply into the abyss and come home, whole and clear, is an experience of grace that I never thought I would have in my life. The thing about grace is that is hard to control. All you can do is show up, day after day, bringing whatever kindness, love and understanding you are capable of at that moment. If that space can be held then there is always hope.

I believe that Alex has done something truly remarkable, but I also believe that the path he has taken is open to all others who suffer still as he used to. His determination now to widen the narrow path he eventually managed to navigate is truly to his credit and, as time is beginning to show, to the immense benefit of those he meets.

I am very proud to be his brother