Alex SantanaWe Do Recover

Learning is a matter of intensity, not elapsed time.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, I was forced into a family rife with alcoholism, addiction and physical abuse. By my ninth birthday, I felt the only way to survive was to begin my own journey of chemical dependency, and I spent the next five years intent on disconnecting from the world with drugs and alcohol. In my addiction, I have been shot, stabbed, arrested, and beaten beyond recognition. By the age of 14, I was living in a sleeping bag behind Guitar Center in Hollywood, CA.

My moment of clarity came while celebrating my Dad’s sobriety anniversary. I ran into him outside of a coffee shop in Hollywood. I was homeless at the time, and when he finally recognized me, he broke down crying and said he wanted to help me. He told me he knew what I was dealing with, and that he found sobriety in prison. I didn’t trust him at first, but the prospect of warm sheets and a decent meal was enough to get me home.

Over the next six months, I went to 12-step meetings with my Dad while still getting extremely loaded. But the evening of November 20th, 1999 marked a new beginning for me. I got up in front of the whole meeting to announce my Father’s AA anniversary, and it changed my life forever. Everyone knew what a horrific drunk my dad used to be, and the room was on its feet to celebrate and cheer him on. Next thing you know, the hardest, scariest man I’d ever known was weeping. And then it hit me like a wave – that unique kind of love you only feel in the rooms.

For the first time in my young life, I felt like a part of something, and I haven’t lost that feeling yet.

My subsequent California drug rehab experience helped me realize that addiction has impacted my family for three generations. Not only did my Father pass down his affinity for chaos, but he made an asserted effort to feed his disease into those around him. I did the very same thing until finding recovery – and my continued recovery prevents the cycle from continuing.

I am happy to say that life after rehab has been completely different. As a lifelong student of the human condition, I rely on a Martial Arts background and unique education to fuse broken voices across the addiction recovery field and the mental health community. I am a Certified Addiction Specialist and Gambling Addiction Counselor, Certified Interventionist, A-List Life Coach, Freelance Writer, Blogger, Media/Content Editor, Social Media Strategist, TV/Radio producer, musician, and a passionate public speaker. I can do these things today only because of my recovery, and I am grateful to participate in making the world a better place.

By far the best thing about being clean and sober is having the capacity to be an excellent father and to help those who need it.

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