Jeff Venekamp | Survivor of Addiction

"Face It TOGETHER is making a difference."

January 25 will start my 8th year of recovery.

Like many young adults, alcohol was a huge part of my social life. Drinking at gatherings was accepted and a part of what we did. It never seemed odd or out of place. It never dawned on me that alcohol was the reason we got together, but it was always there.

During the 12 years that I was a drunk, my life was a mixture of disorder, chaos, pain, and hopelessness. I lied - to almost everyone. I lost important relationships. I lost tens of thousands of dollars. I lost and used friends. I lost my self-respect.  I didn't see that then, but it is crystal clear now.

Thank God that I had a friend, Julie, who was willing to risk our friendship in order to help me.

Since, I have been sober I have: met my wife, been a father to two beautiful daughters, engaged a fantastic job, regained my health, attempted to help others, shared my story and I have regained my self-respect.

I see alcohol addiction as similar to cancer, as a disease that is treatable. I have not met many cancer patients that are embarrassed by their disease.  They are fighters and brave. Alcoholics need to fight as well for the clarity that comes from removing the shackles of this disease.

Be brave! - ask for help! - sober life is beautiful!

*This story represents Jeff's recovery journey as of 3/3/10.

Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls is an important part of my recovery, the caring staff and constant contact with their various social media sources reminds me that the journey to recovery isn't a lonely one, there are people all across Sioux Falls that are a part of this journey. You aren't alone with Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls. As I enter my 12th year of recovery, I share my story with Augustana and college students across the country. Many habits are formed in college and getting the word out about this disease is important to building this recovery movement. Not only do people who have this disease need to know that you can get better, but those who view addiction as a failure of character need to be educated on the disease. Face It TOGETHER is making a difference.

*This story represents Jeff's journey as of November 7, 2013