“Basically I got sober because my dad got sick with Alzheimer’s,” says Thomas, explaining why he ultimately changed his life. Before this decision, Thomas had battled methamphetamine and alcohol dependency for nearly his entire adult life.
As an addict married to an addict, Thomas’s life was a cycle of physical and verbal abuse; he never “felt good enough” and self pity took over his life. For a while, “drugs and alcohol took it all away.” Unfortunately, this dependency increased to become a full-on addiction. Bad decisions became a part of life for Thomas, who discusses kidnapping his (now ex) wife, as just one symptom of their unhealthy relationship that led to Thomas spending time in prison. This pattern continued until Thomas learned of his father’s illness and realized he would need to be clean and sober in order to care for him. After several false starts at other rehab facilities, Thomas explained to the people at Pathways the situation with his father and they allowed him entry for an 89 day program.
Thomas’s life changed at Pathway Society, Inc, a place Thomas still calls “home.” The relationships that Thomas made while living at Pathway House helped put him on the road to recovery, because Thomas explains “the people who work there are special, there is a personal connection” because they have been through recovery too. His Pathways roommate remains a close personal friend; Thomas acted as best-man at his wedding. “There is no judgment or shame about who we were”, says Thomas; instead, Pathways is a safe place where you can just focus on recovery and rebuilding your life. The impact of counselors who have been through similar experiences in their recovery was unparalleled for Thomas, who says that “they put their heart into it because they’re alcoholics and addicts too, so they really care.” The task of changing his mind-set to move forward and be sober became a reality for Thomas when he began to “feel wanted and welcome” while living at Pathway House.
Thomas was released on June 6, 2006 and has been living a clean and sober lifestyle ever since. Thomas was able to care for his father completely for the remaining four years of his life, and says he is most thankful that he was “able to give back to my parents and mend the fences” as a sober person. Without his experience at Pathway Society Inc, Thomas says that he would have watched his parents die from a prison cell. Instead, he was able to share and participate in the end of their lives. Thomas has been steadily employed for the past eight years, and currently is responsible for the mechanics of the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The responsibility of overseeing such a large project and a team of 14 men clearly makes Thomas proud of his new dependability. He is also in a six year relationship with a wonderful woman, whom Thomas was able to help through significant health trouble- something he could only do because he got clean. Thomas says that “the blessings I’ve received [as a sober man]” are immense.