Cenikor Saved My Life by Jason Bowes

My life was destroyed by substance use for almost two decades. During this time, I went to at least 5 rehabs and 15 to 20 detox programs. I had been in jail for more than 2 years combined. I thought nothing could keep me sober – as I was on a path to losing everything important to me. Cenikor proved me wrong. I am happy, healthy, and successful today because of them.

My spiral downward began in high school in 1992, when I killed my best friend in a drunk driving accident. This led to severe alcoholism, heroin addiction, and eventually jail time. My addiction led to divorce and separation from my precious children, and homelessness.

Before the accident I was on a great trajectory. I earned the rank of Eagle Scout and had been nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy. My future was bright until that tragedy put everything on an abrupt hold. I still had the honor of serving my country and spent a couple years in the Army, but that time period was plagued by escalating substance use. By 1994, I was a full-time heroin addict – living in dope houses and running various scams for drug money. Within a year, I was charged with aggravated robbery, and I spent 1996 and most of 1997 locked up.

Eventually, I received 5-years-probation, and life began to look up again. I successfully weaned myself off of heroin with methadone and started college. After graduating, I started law school, but had to bartend to pay my way, which was hardly a healthy environment. My choices began to shape destructive behavior patterns that would later catch up with me.

In 2009 I started my own business, a real estate firm. I was proud to have 26 employees and upwards of $1 million in revenue per annum. I married during this time and am blessed with two lovely children, Jackson and Emerson. Unfortunately, this wonderful period of my life did not last long.

By 2013, I drank my way to divorce, had to close the firm, and ended up bouncing from meaningless job to meaningless job. Within a year, I was drinking all day, every day, living on my mother’s couch. After being charged with a possession felony and a DWI, I was lucky to be placed in probation – an opportunity I wasted. In December 2014, I was behind bars again for 3 months. I was released after agreeing to a felony conviction, but the moment I was “free,” I continued drinking heavily.

Eventually – by the grace of God – I had enough and decided to enter Cenikor’s therapeutic community program. I entered the program voluntarily and was free to leave at any time. At one point I did leave. After spending three months there and working as a “grinder” in a metal fabrication plant, I left the program and got a job as a personal injury attorney but barely made it 24-hours before I was hospitalized again for abusing alcohol – again.

I called Cenikor and was welcomed back with open arms. From that point forward, I threw myself into the program. For me it was the only option. I literally had no money and was living on the streets. It is the best deal in rehabilitation out there for those without insurance. At the time, $450 got you a place to sleep for 2 years, plus clothes, hygiene, counseling, job training – everything you need.

The jobs I held through Cenikor were safe to the highest standards, and the work provided me structure and a path to employment and lifelong sobriety. I quickly rose up the ranks once I truly applied myself and am now a highly successful defense attorney for a firm I love in Dallas. I have been there since I graduated Cenikor in 2016.

For 53 years, Cenikor’s helped thousands of people like me regain sobriety and independence and begin successful new chapters of their lives as productive members of families and communities. The world is a better place because of them – and so am I.

man on beach enjoying freedom from substance abuse

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