Jerry G.

 To anyone interested in growth and recovery: 

I moved into First Things First sober living homes through an unexpected chain of events. After a year of sobriety I was hit by a car; lost my job and apartment, ending up in a shelter looking for a job. Too disabled to collect unemployment benefits, but not disabled enough to qualify for short-term S.S.I. disability. I had lost everything but my life and my sobriety. 

I was able to move into First Things First with a new job and a new beginning in a sober spiritual setting. What I thought to be only a place for me to start over turned out to be a unique opportunity for personal and spiritual growth within a structured sober environment. 

The basics of food, shelter, fellowship, and socialization are truly enhanced with the fundamental core beliefs of a 12-step spiritual program. John, the owner of the houses, takes an active interested role in everyone’s recovery and progression back into living life on life’s terms. The transition into service work in the houses and meetings becomes a natural progression because of the living examples of John and Senior house members. 

The concept of balance in my life became something I could finally comprehend and begin to implement into my life. I heard a phrase recently that describes my experience from living in a First Things First house “I can truly begin to live in the moment with a 360 degree life”. 

I continue to attend F.T.F. house meetings and maintain contact with the men who lived and live in the houses. 

Joe A.

 I’m Joe alcoholic an addict without a doubt. I’m going to tell you a little bit about how I got to First Things First. Well this last go around I was out and about doing what I knew best drinking, thinking and smoking crack. So I thought! 

It was Saturday, October 23, 2005 and it was going to be my last time using. That following Tuesday I was supposed to go to treatment but it didn’t happen that way. That Saturday evening I got lost. Then I got into a high speed chase. I was not going to stop for nothing. In fact I was smoking crack while they were chasing me. They finally trapped me and I had no choice but to give up.I was locked up in Coffee County for about ten months. I couldn’t afford a lawyer so they appointed a public defender. I realized I needed some help so I pleaded to the judge to send me to treatment, my request was answered. I was on state probation for two years and two months also, which I completed on November 11, 2008. 

My case worker asked me what I wanted to do when released. I asked her to look for a sober living or recovery home. That’s when John C. came down to Pathfinders personally to talk to me. He must have had a lot of faith to take me in. It was a answer to my prayers, I believe. When I arrived at First Things First I really didn’t know what to expect. There were five other guys staying at the house at the time. 

There were house responsibilities to fulfill and other requirements in order to stay they include; getting a job, going to meetings getting a sponsor and working the steps. It may seem like a lot but I realized it wasn’t that much when the pain outweighed the pleasure. I also completed I.O.P. and aftercare with pathfinders. 

I was becoming adjusted with my “new way of living”. I learned to be more responsible and to accept the things I could not change. While living at First Things First I saw people come and grow spiritually. The great fact is that it taught me so much! I also became a senior house member which was a great feeling. As I stay in the process it gave others hope another thing I realized is that the longer that I gave the program and First Things First a chance the more it brought structure into my life. 

So if you are like me an addict and alcoholic, be honest, open minded, willing and experience the sunlight of the spirit. May god bless you and keep you till then. Your experience, strength, and hope lies ahead. 

Kevin C.

 If you are reading this note you or a loved one may be considering living at First Things First. My name is Kevin C. and I would like to share with you some of my experiences, and lessons learned as a former resident of FTF. 

I moved to Murfreesboro in 2007. I had a new job with a large construction company. I had been sober a little over a year when I arrived. After a month on the new job in a new city I started drinking again. I was able to hold on to the job close to a year. 

My drinking and the depression that accompanies it led me to “abandon” my job. I just walked away from a $60,000 a year job. On the verge of homelessness, hopeless, friendless and jobless I ran into an old employee. I was honest with him about my situation and he recommended that I contact John Colvert. I was told that he ran a recovery home and he recommended it above the others in town. 

I started calling John and attending AA meetings. I had learned in the past that if you are new anywhere it’s a good idea to stick your hand out and introduce yourself to others. I was doing that at AA meetings and that is how I met John Colvert. I continued to attend meetings and after a few days a bed became available. So I left my apartment and moved into one of John’s houses on Clydeway Drive. 

That was a huge relief. I was able to work through a temporary job service for a couple of weeks until I found permanent employment with a drywall company. I was eager to change for the better. I tried to do all the things that are suggested in AA and required as a member of FTF I attended as many meetings as I could. I found a “sponsor” to guide me through the twelve steps and to see me through the daily ups and downs. Opening up to a sponsor was really beneficial for me. Living with others that were seeking recovery was great. Guys I didn’t know became brothers in a short time. 

As I write this letter I have a great sense of gratitude. I am moving back to Georgia in the morning. I am going to mention a few things that I have learned that help me to stay sober. First and foremost alcohol was my master. In order to stay away from alcohol I need help. I get help from AA meetings, my sponsor, and my friends and from trusting God. I learned that my thinking is not always healthy and it’s a good idea to talk to people when something is bothering me. There is a lot of good information in the Big Book and the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. By reading these books with an open mind my faulty thinking gets a little better. I have a favorite slogan that I first heard in AA and it states that, “If nothing changes nothing changes”. So when I catch myself thinking or acting like I use to I try to picture a better way. I throw up a quick prayer then go for it. I have to be willing to move out of my comfort zone if I am to grow. 

I was once told by my father, “Don’t come knocking ad I’d appreciate it if you stayed the hell out of Columbus Georgia”. Thanks to FTF and AA I am welcome again to my parent’s home. It will be my first stop. 

I will be going to an AA meeting tomorrow night. I promise I will be sticking my hand out saying “my name is Kevin… what’s yours?” 

I hope you or your loved one is able to find recovery. First Things First is a great way to make that happen. Like anything else the more I put into it the more I get out of it. 

Trey L.

 Hi, my name is Trey, 

I am an alcoholic and drug addict. I had my first drink and got drunk as a small child at a wedding with a champagne fountain. It was funny to all of the party goers to see little Trey drunk. 

I had my first experience with marijuana at 8 years of age with an older cousin who told me that it would make me fly. 

After graduating high school two years early I became a full blown alcoholic and it wasn’t long before I was injecting cocaine and methamphetamines. 

Well, after a short stint in the army, 6 months in combat, 2 marriages three daughters and 22 years my addiction was at its worst point. 

I drank vodka and beer most every day as well as smoked crack anytime I had money left after buying my booze which was about every other day and lots on payday. 

I had been homeless on and off for about 9 years and my health was getting worse. 

It was time for a change! I drove my van to Nashville, TN. to check myself into the psychiatric ward. I was promptly transported to the Alvin C. York V.A. Center in Murfreesboro. After 4 days of detox I was to be discharged. Not wanting to return to the streets I opted to try a recovery home. 

Having a list of 40 different homes, my mind kept drawing me to one specific program “First Things First” looking back I think it was divine guidance. 

After being accepted into “FTF” I was introduced to AA and NA I decided to follow the AA path. The first 3 months of recovery were difficult but I didn’t drink. My body had to learn how to function all over again, after 22 years of abuse. 

I got a sponsor in the first month of my sobriety and started working the Twelve Steps and attend AA meetings regularly (5-7 weekly). I started to realize that I could and would be truly happy sober. I also had to deal with the people who I lied to, stole from and cheated. That was a long list. 

After 8 months of sobriety and still living at “First Things First” I am ready to sponsor a new man in the program. 

Seeking treatment was the smartest thing I ever did; I wish I had done it many years ago. If you are interested in treatment and have a drug or alcohol problem i would highly recommend contacting John C. at “First Things First” for some guidance and to answer any questions you may have about recovery. If you do not contact “FTF” PLEASE Contact someone! 

Admitting you have a problem is the first Step to recovery. 

Greg D.

 This letter is to inform people of what a change my life has taken. On November 2nd 2009, I left my home in Chattanooga and moved to Murfreesboro to enroll in a drug treatment facility. Needless to say, I didn’t quite have things my way. First, I wasn’t allowed to enter the treatment facility right away. After they put me on a waiting list, which was going to be at least one and a half months long, it seemed like my chance of getting the relief that I so badly needed had vanished. 

I didn’t give up. As a matter of fact I was able to make contact with a blessing by the name of John Colvert. You see, John has a recovery house program called First Things First, and the only requirement to get into one of John’s houses is to want recovery bad enough to work a twelve step program the way it is suppose to be worked. There are rules to follow, rent to be paid, buy your own groceries, and if not on disability, you will have to pursue employment. 

Sure, that means getting a sponsor, attending 90 meetings in 90 days, learning to work the steps and principals of AA into my way of living and to improve my lifestyle. So far things are going great. I’ve been here in Murfreesboro for nine months now and that’s something else that’s good about being here, I don’t have to worry about when I’m to leave. I personally recommend this program for anyone, especially if the person is looking for a long term commitment. 

Mike H.

 What First things First Has Meant to Me 

(So far… more will be revealed) 

Now having several months sober, I don’t truly know where to begin. At first it was somewhere to help me get still and start to let some fears subside. Having done so, it works to an extent. FTF has allowed me to feel as if I am still a real person, not under forced rule which in turn allowed just enough comfort to form a bond with people in the house and with John also. 

My stress levels have dropped dramatically. John has been willing to work with me financially and as a person. Having some self confidence returning, it has been a place of sanctuary. A place to let myself start to find the path of man in God’s will, yes just leaving but was without before I drove here I don’t know where I would be without First Things First. I’m glad I don’t have to find out thanks to John Colvert, and the men of first Things First. 

Wendell J.

To Whom It May Concern: 

On September 8th 2008 I was incarcerated in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center for 11 months and 2 days. At the time I was buying a house in Nashville, TN. I was clean not sober and suicide was a constant companion. I thought of it often. The particulars of my arrest are not important, reasons why, but the results are. I am an alcoholic I believe I was born one. I know I was raised one. I drank for 48 years. I did illegal drugs for 36 years. 

I was released on parole August 10, 2009. The terms of my release were that I find a drug free environment for at least 90 days, to reside and stay alcohol free for 15 months the end of my parole. I had not intended to do so. I had no one to help me in this and I didn’t see much chance of gaining any freedom for the next 15 months. My parole officer knew this and contacted John Colvert owner of three alcohol and drug free living facilities. 

There is a God and he knows John Colvert of First Things First. John agreed to pick me up at the detention center and try to help me out. One hour after John picked me up I was sitting in a chair at a Serenity AA meeting. This was the defining moment of my life. 

Because of First Things First I was able to learn first about myself, every tool available on how to live life alcohol and drug free was made known to me and full counseling on how to use them. I learned how to interact with others successfully and to deal with the problems of daily life.  I was never taught these things not even in the military. I found love that I never knew existed, humanity and hope for the future that I didn’t have. I probably owe my life to First Things First; certainly I do serenity and how to be content. 

I left the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center with nothing but the clothes on my back, no hope or chance at a better life, I was wrong. I am happy today. I have a family of friends that I never thought possible and a life of serenity and love, thanks to John Colvert and First Things First. I am coming up on a year of sobriety, who would have ever thought it. 

James G.

First Things First Sober Living Homes gives me an opportunity to share my experience strength and hope with other alcoholics and addicts just like me. I feel real grateful to have this opportunity. First Things first gives me a chance to make a new beginning in my life. First Things First helps me be alert, open minded and willing to do what is right and be as honest as I possibly can. First Things First Sober Living Homes gave me an opportunity to grow up and be responsible. First Things First Sober Living Homes is a place where a person can grow spiritually with the help of God and the Twelve Steps of AA or NA. 

I am very grateful that I became a part of First Things First Sober Living Homes. I have made a host of friends through First Things First Sober Living Homes, and I would give nothing for it. I know that God works through other people and has certainly worked miracles in my life and I have seen miracles grow in others as well. 

Richard W.

I was beaten and broken ten months ago when I reached out for help. A good man guided me to another good man and I was introduced to First Things first. I answered many questions about my background and experiences with addiction and alcoholism. I was then asked why I sought help. I then admitted that I was powerless over drugs and alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. I was licked, broken, destitute; mentally, physically and spiritually. I thought maybe I was too far gone to qualify, or be accepted into First Things First recovery Home. I thought I was beyond the point of no return. 

John C. and the men in the house chuckled at this, and said “nonsense”. They commenced to tell me about a simple program of recovery. Well they told me that it could be simple or it could be difficult; it was up to me. All I had to do was to make a decision to follow a few simple rules and I would recover like so many others before me had. I looked around the room and saw happy, loving and content faces. I saw conviction and determination in their faces. The only convictions I had were theft, possession, DUIs and driving while revoked. I cried and asked for help. 

John C. and the other fellows said that they would help me with the help of a supreme power a power greater than us all. They pulled me into their circle of power, love and compassion. I was on the road to recovery. My disease bucked and fought furiously but with help I followed the few simple rules. I made the commitment. 

I have been without drink or drug now for ten months. I am off all pills that were supposed to control my behavior and physical pain. The men at First Things First showed me that there was a way to live a clean and sober life. They showed me structure discipline and morals. They reacquainted me with the rules of life, society and of a supreme power. This change did not come overnight or like a crash of lightning and a boom of thunder. It took time and patience, courage, faith and trust. First Things First in my opinion is 100 percent instrumental in my recovery and the way of life that I know today. When I am asked First Things First recovery homes means to me I think of many things but their sum is simple. I may now live a life that I was meant to have. 

First Things First and the men here haved help me lay an unshakable foundation upon which to build a life on. I was dead and now I am alive. I may now try to pass on the wisdom gained in my recovery process to the next broken man. Of course, that is what it is all about isn’t it?