Patient Stories | Powell Chemical Dependency Center in Des Moines
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines


Jim's Story

Jim's Story:

"You have your choice. Go to jail or go to treatment!" That was the ultimatum given to me in August of 1989. It wasn't exactly the choice I was looking for at the time. After all, I really didn't have a drinking problem, I simply had bad luck.

Even though I was facing my fourth Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest, it was never my fault. If I had just remembered to turn my lights on while leaving the night club or had just known the layout of the streets a little better, then there would be no problem. Why was everyone on my case? They just couldn't appreciate someone who liked to have a little fun... or so I thought.

It wasn't until I chose treatment at Powell CDC over jail time that I was faced with reality. It was at Powell that I learned how my addiction was affecting those around me. It was at Powell that I was finally able to admit, "Yes, I do have a problem with alcohol and that I was, in fact, an alcoholic." Boy, were those words hard to admit. No one likes that title attached to them, but the staff at Powell educated me and made me realize that I had a disease. I didn't ask for it but I had to deal with it.

While at Powell I was encouraged to attend 12 step meetings and to find a sponsor. I rarely took advice from others at the time. I liked being in control, or the illusion of being in control. Looking back, I never had my drinking under control. It was always my way or the highway, but for some reason, I knew deep inside that I had to listen to the experts on this advice. I found myself testing out the waters in the 12 step meetings and found a sponsor. Together with Powell, this concept saved my life.

After one year of sobriety and attending Powell CDC's aftercare program, I volunteered to facilitate an aftercare group. I followed this path of giving back for a couple of more years and then found other ways to help the alcoholic. Twenty one years later, you would find me in the hallways of Powell on my way to facilitate an AA meeting for those in treatment. This was my way of giving back the gift that Powell so generously gave to me. I could never have imagined my life turning around as it did and how my family has all benefited. Who would have guessed, on that August day in 1989 when I entered the halls of Powell CDC, that someday I would be full of gratitude to not only the policeman who picked me up, but to the judge who gave me the choice of going to treatment, and to Powell CDC for teaching me the skills I needed to turn my life around.