A Resident’s Story: Dmitri

On the evening of December 24, 2018, I pulled up to the front yard of my parents’ house in a red Dodge pickup with a transmission barely shifting into first gear and a tank running on its last drop of gas.  Homeless, jobless, and dead broke, I was hours away from feeling the nightmarish withdrawal produced by years of abusing my body and soul with drugs and alcohol.

I’ve made this embarrassing walk before, to their front door, usually asking for food, clothes, a place to stay, or instant forgiveness.  This time was different. As she opened the door cautiously, my mom realized I had finally reached a moment of true and unreserved surrender.  Then she heard what any mother would want to hear from a child struggling with addiction: “The truck is out of gas, can you take me to a treatment center?”  It was my way of asking for help. She responded, “No, I’m in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner! But I’m sure your father will be happy to take you.”

I packed a small camouflage bag of clothes, then my dad drove me to a Detox Center.  After seven days in Detox, I turned myself over to the care of an intensive drug and alcohol treatment facility in Smyrna, DE.  I would spend the next two months there, healing physically and mentally.

When I was nearing completion, the counselor in treatment strongly suggested I continue my recovery at Friendship House.  I had a few options but I trusted his guidance, and after the interview process I knew this was the place that gave me the best chance to transition successfully back into society.

From day one, I knew there was something special about this place, about the people that worked here, and the volunteers that visited every day and showed me what true humility was.

As soon as a job opportunity came, I had a pair of those famous Bill Perkins steel toe boots to start working!  I was hired by a general contractor to assist in the remodeling of a family counseling center in downtown Wilmington.  Friendship House provided me with the tools to properly budget my finances. I started being more mindful of my spending so I would have more to put away for savings at the end of each week.

Everybody’s recovery has its peaks and valleys.  When doubt crept in of whether or not to continue my recovery in this program, I was blessed to receive honest advice.  Sometimes what others decide to do may seem appealing from an outside perspective, but you have to stick to what’s best for your recovery in the long run.  When I sustained a very serious knee injury in the summer of 2019, Friendship House provided me with everything I needed to achieve a successful recovery.

Most importantly, over time, my faith began to grow and life stopped becoming a drag.  It opened the doors to exciting experiences and new opportunities. My attitude started to become more positive.  I started to build authentic relationships with people inside and outside of the program. Eventually, I began to mend those relationships I broke in the past.  

I would have never thought in a million years I would be given the opportunity to share my experience to help others achieve sobriety and find a new way of life.  

A year ago I didn’t even think my family would open their door to see me on Christmas Eve.  This year I was invited! I was given the opportunity to say a prayer before dinner! The gratitude I have today for Friendship House is immeasurable.

– Dmitri

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