Robert White

I was born on April 11, 1988, and raised in Odessa, Texas. My dream was to excel in all aspects of my life. At least that was my dream before I met alcohol/drugs. My drinking career started when I discovered liquor in my dad’s cabinet at around the age of 12, the alcohol was what kept me sane, or so I thought at the time. I began experimenting with drugs (mainly marijuana) at around 14, which I honestly believed was normal to do at that age. I never had any problems in school and was an athlete, so I did not see any reason to stop smoking or drinking because I had not run into any consequences yet. I swam on the varsity swim team my freshman year through my junior year and excelled as a place kicker and a punter on the varsity football team at Permian High School my junior and senior season. I began experimenting with many drugs, but alcohol and marijuana never left my side. I got into trouble for the first time in my senior year in high school. A car pulled out in front of me while I was intoxicated and that was the first of many legal consequences I endured during my addiction. I received a DUI, and that is when my parents started to notice I was spiraling quickly out of control. The summer that I was to graduate from high school, I had the opportunity to play college football but instead chose to party. Little did I know or failed to admit that I had no choice whether I was going to use alcohol or drugs. By this point in my life, I was completely powerless over my addiction and began to lose all control once I started drinking or using drugs.

This way of life became normal for my family and me.  I ended up in my first treatment center at age 18. My parents sent me to a treatment center in California, and I learned much about myself but refused to admit to myself that I was the real alcoholic/addict. After this treatment, I continued to justify that I was too young to be an alcoholic or addict and proceeded to partake with my insane lifestyle. I would move from city to city blaming the people around me for my actions and consequences. After my third treatment center, I was introduced to heroin and began to see that I was hopeless and defeated.

Heroin addiction is something that I do not wish upon anyone, but I am grateful for it because this substance would allow me to reach a place of powerlessness that I had never experienced up until this point in my life. I could not function with or without heroin, and soon I would encounter more legal consequences, sleepless nights for family and friends, and more institutions that I would not take seriously. I went back to treatment in 2010 facing five years of prison from the life that I had decided to live. Due to my actions, I pleaded guilty and received thirty months in prison. My family was heartbroken. Never did they once think that the man standing before them, with such great potential, promises of having a successful and productive life would be going to prison. What would others think of him? What do we tell our friends? What do we say to the rest of the family? How did we fail as parents? These are the thoughts that plagued my mom and dad.

Even this severe consequence of going to prison failed to keep me sober. I did not get it. Why could I not just live life without people thinking they knew what was best for me? I continued to justify and rationalize why I was unique and different. This delusional state brought me to yet another relapse while I was in prison. I was in prison for seven months and used drugs and alcohol for the last four months. This experience taught me that no amount of human power or consequences could keep me sober. What a powerful truth to swallow. I was defeated and hopeless. Could I be willing to try a new way of life honestly? Would I take the necessary action to recover from addiction? Or would I continue to justify and rationalize why I am different than others and continue to cause wreckage in my life and those around me?

I cannot thank God enough for intervening and saving my life. The experience in prison was a real Godsend. Near my release date in prison, I began thinking of how I could get back on the path of recovery. There were so many people out in the community that I might be able to help if I were to get sober. I began daydreaming about assisting others to find a solution to their problems. When I got released, I had a different attitude than I did in past recoveries. I finally admitted sincerely to myself and others that I was an addict/alcoholic.

My family and I opened a sober living home, Any Length, in 2012 and I met a group of men that were passionate about helping others. I followed their direction and began to live a life based on three principles, willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness for the first time I to action in all Twelve Steps of Recovery. I began to feel free from the bondage of addiction and set out to make amends to those that I harmed in the past. Finally, all my old ideas were gone, and I began to allow God and others to help guide me in a new direction.

  I can’t explain in words why recovery was different from 2012 to 2013 than in the past. What I can say is that it takes someone and myself to continue to be willing to go to any length for victory over any addiction. It took the same amount of willingness I had when I was using drugs and alcohol. When I was using, I was willing to go to any length to get whatever substance would change the way I felt, whether that meant lying, stealing, and manipulating. I and others in recovery must have this same willingness if we are to retreat our lives. We must be willing to live a principled life, help others in recovery, and be present for our family and friends.

My team and I continued to grow Any Length by being of service to the men and families who came to our sober living home. In 2016 we opened up Any Length Retreat, a men’s recovery center. We have created a place where men have the opportunity to find a permanent solution to their addictions. I have fun with my family, and they can go to sleep knowing that their son is alright. Recovery has given me a beautiful wife and two dogs that I get to be present with every day. Recovery has given me peace and freedom to go anywhere in the world without worrying about using drugs and alcohol. Today, I get to wake up and be a productive member of society and go to sleep knowing that I get to be a part of something special. My sobriety date is April 28, 2012, and I never thought that I could recover. Recovery has taught me to stop doubting myself and instead take the next right action, get quiet and listen for guidance, reach out to my brothers in recovery, and stay engaged in recovery.

Recovery has taught me there are a few simple requirements for permanent recovery. These requirements are— Trust God, Clean House, and Help Others. With the help of God and the fellowship of the spirit, I hope to be able to guide others in the direction of recovery that myself and others have been able to experience.  To help show others recovery is life, and we can have the best experience we want as long as we remain willing, honest, and open-minded.