Jun 7 

Written By Joshua Sample

My name is Josh, I’m 33 years old and I came to Graceland ten months ago from Denver Colorado. Before coming to Graceland I had lost my sense of direction in life. I felt lost and I couldn’t see a way out. I was searching for those fleeting moments of happiness and living off the small comforts that seemed to be harder and harder to find. Feeling tired and sick everyday just hoping that I could make it to that next thing that would ‘fix’ me. It didn’t really matter what it was, work, things, girls but most consistently booze and drugs. I didn’t know how to find a solution to my problem, so I held on to any kind of temporary fix until it came crashing down and I was right back where I started. This had become my normal way of living for the past decade, and every time things didn’t work out the desperation set in heavier and lasted longer. Sometimes I didn’t even know how desperate I was until I was suffocating in it. It wasn’t always easy to spot. I mean I paid my bills. I had a car. I had girlfriends. I even had decent apartments, but for some reason every relationship failed, the jobs came and went, the cars were sold, and I continually moved from place to place. I was searching for something to ease the pain, but every place I moved there I was, still desperate, still trying to find those elusive moments of happiness. In this seemingly endless cycle there was one fairly consistent way to find relief and that was through drugs and booze. If I couldn’t find a permanent solution so I might as well not feel the gnawing desperation that was my life. And so it went. I couldn’t fix my life so I started to shape everything around what I had found to be my solution. Where I lived, who I dated, where I worked, all had one thing in common. They allowed me to fuel my addiction. Drinking and using my way through life. If anything stood in the way I would drop it and find something more concurrent. This lasted for a long time. My life was headed downward at an increasing rate. It was very frustrating. I wanted to be happy and I wanted to experience the life that I saw others enjoying but I just didn’t know how. I would make so many plans to better myself and say “I’m gonna do better tomorrow” but tomorrow never came. I was stuck in an ever increasingly dark cycle. My drinking and my drug use became more frequent and the tolerance got higher and higher. It was my life, my budget, my love. My addiction was in control and I didn’t know how to get out. My last run took a huge toll on me. I ended up in the hospital, i was kicked out of my apartment, I lost my job, and I sold my car. I was done, I didn’t have any fight left in me. I had two options in my head, kill myslef or get help, and where I was at the first option was looking pretty viable. I didn’t know how to ask for help and honestly didn’t know if I could get help. Well, my sister had sent me the number for a place that she found on social media. It was Graceland Ranch. I already had my backup plan so why not give this place a shot. I picked up the phone and called. I didn’t have much hope of any kind of solution but why not see what this place is all about. Madison picked up the phone and we talked. She listened and I could tell she understood. She didn’t judge and that was exactly what I needed. I had no idea what I was doing but Graceland reached out a hand and I grabbed on. That was that, a plan was created and I showed up on Graceland’s front porch a bit scared and unsure of what to expect. What I found changed my life. I was welcomed with open arms. I found like-minded people that had been through similar experiences and could understand how I felt. I found a new way to live and guidance through the darkness that had engulfed me. Here at Graceland I have learned to use new life skills and tools that allow me to feel human again. I even feel happiness, not just fleeting moments of comfort, genuine happiness and the knowledge that everything is going to be ok. I’m able to look at my past and learn from it, not shut the door on it and try to forget. I’ve grown to appreciate what I have and be able to love myself through all my faults. I have a

community here that is allowing me to flourish and stand up for myself. I’m so glad that I picked up the phone that day and made that call. Graceland has saved my life and shown me that happiness is attainable. I have structure and direction in my life now. All those plans I made for tomorrow aren’t impossible anymore. I’m able to help others that were in the same dark place because every tool that I’ve crafted can be shared with my new family. We’re a community here at Graceland and together we help each other, sharing our experiences and learning together. I used to think that I didn’t have much to offer anyone but now I know that myself and everyone here has the potential to save lives. Everything that we have lived through can help another and that is what we do here, we help each other to live.

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