Michael Griggs is the senior house manager at Next Step Village, an aftercare treatment center in The Recovery Village’s network. To men and women who are taking their first steps in sobriety in these sober living homes, Michael’s enthusiasm, passion and leadership are proof that a meaningful life after addiction is not only possible, but within reach.

In his every endeavor at Next Step Village, Michael strives to lead by example. He knows that aftercare and sober-living housing are crucial to each person’s recovery journey, and he openly shares his experience of alcohol addiction and aftercare treatment with everyone. Michael is intimately familiar with feeling lost in addiction, and until he sought treatment at The Recovery Village Umatilla, he believed that his life was not worth living.

Alcohol: The (Not-So-Great) Equalizer 

Alcoholism grasped Michael at a young age and replaced a healthy sense of self-worth. His first experience of getting drunk with friends at 13 years old inspired his belief that alcohol could improve any situation in life.

“I always had an unreasonable feeling of inferiority. I saw people in my life, and in pop culture, seemingly drinking with impunity,” Michael said. “Drinking was something that I saw as a solution and escape but also a necessary part of being accepted and becoming an adult. I ended up rationalizing enough reasons to drink, as I had drinks to take.” Alcohol gave Michael a false sense of social security, and he developed a serious drinking problem that continued into his young adult life. “The last thing I wanted to give up was alcohol and the last thing I wanted to be was an alcoholic.”

Michael continued to live in denial of his addiction while it slowly devastated his relationships, career and mental well-being. “My mind would become twisted over time until I was full of self-pity and resentment,” Michael explained. “I became a maelstrom of selfishness through the lives of anyone I encountered. I alienated my friends and family, lost jobs, failed out of college, and was arrested for drinking and driving. I became isolated from the world, living in a private hell of incomprehensible demoralization.” It wasn’t until he found himself with a second DUI, without a place to call home and no desire to live that Michael realized he needed help.

From Alcoholism and Despair to Rehab and Aftercare 

Fortunately, Michael’s struggle with alcohol addiction hadn’t gone unnoticed by his family, who intervened to save his life. “Before coming to terms with it myself, concern was expressed by my friends and loved ones, not only with statements, but by their behavior and expressions,” Michael said.

With the help of his parents and siblings, Michael enrolled in treatment at The Recovery Village on April 11, 2015. The 47 days that Michael spent in medical detox and residential care taught him volumes about perseverance, and more importantly, helped him realize he could reinvent himself. “The best parts of treatment were also the most challenging, which is often true in life,” Michael said, recalling his rehab experience. “I identified events and issues I never knew impacted me and worked through them. I also start to find out who I was and develop an idea of who I wanted to become.”

Aftercare: The Key to Long-Term Healing

After graduating from rehab treatment, Michael transitioned to aftercare programming at Next Step Village’s men’s house in Eustis, Florida. During his year in sober-living housing, Michael learned how to manage sobriety successfully with the help of his house manager, housemates, therapist and the community.

Through this experience, Michael learned that aftercare is a critical stage of rehab because recovery is rarely linear: many people graduate from treatment, only to return to drug or alcohol use upon returning home and experiencing the stress of daily life. Sober-living housing bridges the gap between the structured, supportive environment of rehab and independent living in recovery.

With a handle on recovery and a heart for helping other people, Michael soon become the senior resident at the men’s home, facilitating group counseling and mentoring his peers. Michael’s continued involvement in the sober-living community allowed him to join The Next Step Village team as a house manager in March of 2016.

Today, as the senior house manager, Michael helps people take their first steps in recovery after treatment. “At NSV, we try to instill personal responsibility and independence, while also building a strong sense of community and connection,” Michael said. “I work to maintain the ideal environment to begin a positive and lasting journey in recovery,” he said. Spending a few months in a sober living home after treatment can help people practice daily living in recovery with the support of their peers and house managers like Michael.

Take It From Michael: Now Is the Time to Get Help 

Michael brushed off his need for treatment for far too long, but his excuses only made his addiction (and his well-being) worse. If you wait for the right time or the ideal circumstances before you decide to seek treatment, you may never get the help you need. If you’re asking yourself, “Am I an alcoholic?” like Michael did, you can take a CAGE, MAST or AUDIT test, or speak with your doctor for an official diagnosis.

A Word of Recovery Advice From Michael 

Addiction changed Michael’s life forever, and ultimately, for the better. “Had I not had the journey that I had, I would not have the amazing life I have now,” he said. Michael is living proof that addiction treatment, including aftercare, can be life-saving for people who struggle with substance use disorders. If you struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction, Michael has a message for you:

“If you don’t want to continue living how you’re living, and want to make a change, look to those who have been successful in sobriety. Reach out for help, do what they do, and be an active participant in your life and recovery.”

— Michael Griggs, Senior House Manager at Next Step Village

If you’re ready to leave drug or alcohol addiction behind, call The Recovery Village today at 352.771.2700. You can speak with someone like Michael, who understands addiction intimately and may be in recovery themselves. Reach out today to get started.

Hear More Stories Like Michael’s 

Michael’s recovery story is just one of many testimonies of hope and healing from The Recovery Village staff. Hear similar stories from our call center representatives, facility staff and clinicians in our YouTube series, “I’mPossible.”

Have Questions About Aftercare or Sober Living? 

The Recovery Village has plenty of insightful and informational articles on aftercare and sober living housing, including:

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