Last month we introduced a new element to the HIA Men’s Mentoring Program. It’s called Resident of the Month and it’s given to the individual who for the past month embodied all of the core values of our program.
Values like: giving back, being on time, encouraging others, leadership and of course SOBRIETY!
This month’s “HIA’s ROM” exemplified all of these values and more, that’s why he was a unanimous choice amongst our managers. With that said, we are super excited to announce May’s HIA Resident of the Month is… Blake Wieland!
Here’s a very candid Q & A with Blake and I. If you are a parent of an addict or a supporter of HIA in anyway, you need to read this interview. It’s powerful, real and HOPE-GIVING!
Congrats Blake! We love you!
What was the toughest part about entering into recovery?
The toughest part about entering into recovery for me was the fear of the unknown. The thought of the rest of my life without alcohol was incomprehensible to me. For a good period of time I made alcohol my primary source of peace, joy and excitement. To say I couldn’t understand how I was going to have any of those things in sobriety would be an understatement.
The fear of judgment made it very difficult to enter into recovery as well. Admitting that you’ve lost control of your life certainly goes against the American “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality that every man knows. However, I got to a point where anything would be better than living in my active alcoholism. I knew I was either going to keep living a while and cause more destruction around me, or die pretty soon. At the time, the latter seemed like a better alternative. I was a broken man.
How did you find Hope is Alive?
I was trying to sober up after several days of hard drinking and I was attempting to sleep off my withdrawals (by this point I didn’t really care too much about hiding it from my family). My dad walked into my bedroom and said, “I know you don’t want to, but next week I want you to go with me to this thing called Night of Hope in Oklahoma City.” I complied as I frequently did out of respect for my parents. Upon arriving there I was amazed at the group of people attending. Throughout the service I couldn’t help but think that if it wasn’t for addiction, there’s nothing else all of these different people would be gathered together for. I had always heard that addiction knows no persons, but this really hit it home for me. The church was PACKED and the individuals there were as diverse and varied as any crowd I’d ever seen.
After the service ended, we were heading towards the exit when I bumped into a guy from a bible study group I had been attending off and on. It was there that he told me he had nearly 18 months of sobriety and that he was an HIA resident. Five months later I’m walking into our evening meeting at Rob’s Ranch and the host of the meeting was none other than Hope is Alive Ministries. The first guy that I set eyes on was a different guy from my bible study group that was also an HIA resident. By this point it was pretty clear to me that God was telling me something. I went up to Lance Lang and introduced myself and within five minutes I had a bed reserved at one of the houses upon my completion of treatment at Rob’s Ranch. The rest is history as they say.
Since you moved into the HIA Mentoring Homes, what have you been asked to do that’s challenged you? Helped you grow?
I’ve been challenged to do what I’m doing right now- share my story. Whether it be in front of a group of people or for a blog post, my story was something I tried my hardest to hide from everyone before moving into HIA. It’s not always comfortable, but it helps me just as much as anyone who hears or reads it. I would also consider myself a very stubborn person, so HIA has taught me to take suggestions and be open to new ideas. It makes sense seeing how my way of doing things almost killed me.
What’s has been the most rewarding experience of your recovery?
After being the person that everyone poured so much energy and support into trying to help, I’m starting to see the other side of the spectrum. People are starting to come to me and ask for help and assistance with an addiction of their own or someone they know. It’s a huge blessing to be able to share and relate to someone that’s trying to find help. I think having the ability to help others may very well be the reason for my own alcoholism. I believe that’s the reason God blessed me with the disease of addiction and that’s an awesome, indescribable feeling.
How much different is your life today from when you were using?
My life has changed drastically and it continues to change daily. The times I tried to get sober before I would simply quit drinking alcohol, so then I was just a sober, miserable person. I gave alcohol WAY too much credit in relation to the issues in my life. I was not addressing the issues that led me to drink. When I entered treatment I was told that I had a Blake problem with an alcohol solution and that made very clear sense to me. Today whenever I’m sad, mad, afraid or ashamed I can stop and identify what is causing me to feel that way. Once I identify that and address it the right way, all of a sudden I don’t need to drink. Once I don’t need to drink the desire to do so quickly dissipates.
What would you say to those people who support the work of HIA?
It is very common for people to donate or give to a cause and have no idea where your contribution goes or what it affects. I can tell you honestly that I get to see the effect your contribution has on individuals every single day. Hope is Alive shows men and women that they can lead a sober, successful life and gives them the tools to do just that. Without your love and support our message of Hope is capped. Thank you for allowing us to spread the message and share our stories to the millions of others who need Hope. I am very grateful for you.
Anything else you would like to add?
If you don’t like the way your life is growing then look at what you’re feeding it.