Recovery Connections Community

"Creating Recovery, Creating Connections, Creating Community"

Brian Byrum

Hello, my name is Brian Byrum. I am currently a resident in Recovery Connections Community. I entered the program on August 30th, 2016. I was living a lie and a terrible existence. I was addicted to methamphetamine, marijuana and was dabbling in heroin. I was moving around, staying wherever I could and all the while I was strung out heavily. My family had all but given up on me and I don’t blame them. I was staying at a friends house when after 8 straight days of no sleep as I was laying on the floor I came to the conclusion that I had reached the end of the line. So I called 911 and went to the hospital, who then sent me to the detox center. That fateful day was August 13th, 2016. I will never forget sitting with the social worker and we were discussing recovery programs and Recovery Connections Community came up. She told me it would be a difficult journey but I told her to set me up an interview.

The rest is history. RCC took me in and helped me learn things about myself I never knew. It taught the value of living in a community, of having Peer Brothers helping me out on my journey. It taught me to work on my character defects. It taught me the value of working in a profession I never imagined I would work in. Guess what, I did it. I have learned to be the man I need to be to help my newer peer brothers and sisters on their journey. I have learned a new career path that I am excited to be a part of.

I am approaching my 2 year mark in the program. I have defied the odds against me as I and others never thought I would see this point. I am a medication aide at my job and within the program I am the Facility Manager for the men’s mountain house. I have regained my Brothers and my nephews love again (I don’t think I ever really lost it but had damaged it). They are so supportive of me and it brings tears to my eyes to know that they and my parents in heaven are once again proud of me. I have re-established my lifelong friendships with my high school brothers who had also lost faith in me. I have rebuilt that bridge also and I am so thankful to Recovery Connections Community, Jennifer Warren, Phillip Warren, and everyone along the way who has helped me get to this exciting point in my life. I am not gonna lie though, it has been hard.

I have developed strong friendships with other residents in the program. I am still close with my Peer Brothers who have come and gone. I lost a dear friend of mine who started the program 9 days after I did to this battle we face and I think of him everyday and know he is cheering me on from up above.

I have made friends for life within the program, too many to name but they know who they are.

This program is about trust, faith and being the best you can be. It is about caring for our peer brother and sister. It is about Recovery, about Connections and about Community.

To sum it up, RCC saved my life, helped me rebuild my connections to family, blood and non blood and introduced me to new people and ideas on life. I will never back down on my love of this program and will always carry with me what I have learned here.

Jennifer, Phillip, Janet, Nicholas, Brandi, Cole, Bobby, Jeremiah, Nick, Crystal, Jersey Joe, John F, Blake, Vinny, Carl M….Y’all are my saving grace. I love each and every one of you and will never be able to properly thank you for the different kinds of help you have given me. I just hope I have lived up to the examples you have set for me.

RCC for Life……

Brian Byrum

Brandi Pinson

My name is Brandi Pinson.  I came to Recovery Connections Community on August 3rd of 2016. Before I came to this program my life was out of control. I started using drugs when I was 14 years old. I didn't know anything about living. I have never had a real job, I have never been a mother to my three beautiful little girls, put my family and loved ones through hell. Along with the drugs come the lifestyle, so I ended up in jail many many times. I've been to all different kinds of rehabs, living on the streets ,bouncing around from house to house. I had finally had enough so I went to Swain Recovery Center from jail where Phillip Warren and Cole Dunlap came to speak about Recovery Connections Community. I knew this is where I needed to be. I was told early on this would be the hardest thing I ever did in my life. Since I have been in the program I have gained so much .I know who I am today. I have a relationship with my children and family once again. I have built long lasting relationships with people in the program. I'm a productive member of society finally. Coming to this program was the best decision I ever made. I am now a staff in training and learn things about myself that I didn't know every day. I could not have done this without Phillip and Jennifer Warren, Janet Wilkie, Nicholas Horne ,Cole Dunlap and all the peer brothers and sisters that I have met along the way. Some still here and some not. I'm so grateful for you all and this program. I will graduate very soon and I plan on staying and being a part of. This is what keeps me clean. I have finally been given freedom and opportunity. The freedom from active addiction and everything that comes along with it. And the opportunity to change my life in a safe environment with people that love me for me and not what I have to give them. So for anyone that has doubts about this program look at all of the good things it has to offer people and keep an open mind. This is the only thing that has ever worked for me.

Carl McKenzie

My name is Carl McKenzie and for me, this program has given me an opportunity. An opportunity to refresh my life, an opportunity to restart my career and an opportunity to live my life clean for the first time. I have never lived in a community of people who all generally share the same main goals and principals. I've been given a chance to put away my selfish and destructive ways to focus on positivity and helping others. I have never thought of working in the medical field, however being in this program has given me an opportunity to venture into an unfamiliar profession and continue to pursue my education. This program has taught me a lot about myself, but the most important thing I've learned is I'm an addict. That realization alone helps answer questions I've had about myself my entire life. And as an addict, I've learned to never settle and to constantly try to achieve more and more.

Kimberly Myris

My name is Kimberly Myris and Recovery Connections Community has given me the greatest gifts of life back that years of drinking destroyed. I entered the program on May 23, 2017 and am a current resident. I knew it was going to be a difficult program, but I was willing to do whatever it took to beat my addiction for good. Some things the program has done for me are obvious. In the months prior to my arrival at RCC, I found myself in three different county jails, in and out of hospital detoxes, living on the streets of Fayetteville, NC, back in the legal system and close to death. I was physically ill from repeatedly poisoning myself with alcohol, unemployed and unemployable. Within 24 hours of entering the doors of RCC, I had access to whatever I needed, a roof over my head, food, and a job. I was suddenly surrounded by complete strangers that took me in and cared for me, loved me and protected me. All they asked in return was, and still is, to be honest, open-minded, and willing to do something different. Through my experiences with my own ups and downs, and dealing with several different personalities, living life on life's terms is no longer out of my reach. My addiction robbed me of the ability to manage anything. Now I am able to think before I act, not act before I think. My character defects are brought to me and I am held accountable by my peers when I don't move toward correcting them. Each person that comes through the program teaches me something about how to be a better me. Today, I don't obsess over how and where to get my next drink, but how my time here will lead me and my brothers and sisters in recovery to true happiness. Since 12-step programs, short term state funded programs, halfway houses, jails, hospitals and outpatient programs didn't work, my family made it very clear to me that my ties to them would be cut forever if I didn't make the decision to seek genuine help from Jennifer Warren. Because I drank alcoholically for 15 years, I never really knew what it meant to be happy, joyous and free. Today, I know what real happiness is. I visit with my six year old son on a regular basis, have been in contact with all my family members near and abroad, have a new career path and life-long support. By the grace of God and RCC, I am alive, healthy and motivated to put 1000% into each day. Thanks for letting me share!

Jim Rice

I came to RCC to work on my ability to relate to others and of course to recap my life and give myself time to take a look at the damage I've done (alcohol, drugs, people). This family has given me the opportunity to work with people that have similar problems and together we have gone to spend lengths to relate to others. I also have learned to accept responsibility for my actions. I realize we all have problems and must learn to accept people and their beliefs regardless of what we might think or feel. Everyone has a right and must be free to express themselves as long as it is done properly and without harm to myself and others. And to have the feeling of being safe and even loved. No one has the right to hurt others and make them feel useless or not wanted. They do matter. Since being here at RCC, I've grown to care for others regardless of opinion. I'm grateful for this opportunity and this program that has helped me realize I am somebody and I do matter. I've earned positions in the house and the respect of others as I respect them in life. I'm grateful for the work and the time the leaders and staff have spent on me. Even through the difficult times when mistakes are made and accountability is the end result, it is done with fairness and we learn from the mistakes we make in life to better cope with issues of us acting of our own design. This is dealing with life on life's terms. After all, we are only human and mistakes will be made. It is how we deal with them that makes us who we are. Thanks, RCC for all you've done and all you'll continue to do. I fell safe and cared about and not alone. I have people who have my back and I have theirs.

Keonard Gwynn

I'm grateful for a lot of things the program has given me and taught me:

1.) How to endure and get through the pain from the past and still live

2.) How to deal with aggressive behavior

3.) Responsibility

4.) Not to be selfish

5.) How to rationalize situations

6.) To be a better parent and help me with my son's Christmas shopping

7.) For letting me be me

8.) Peace of mind

9.) Teaching me a new train of thought

10.) To learn from the past and the pain it brought

11.) To break the chains from the drugs that brought me so much shame

Who am I? It's a road to follow RCC will always bring tomorrow.

Amanda McCants

It seems like almost overnight that I went from a highly regarded department of defense civilian employee and a wife, to an unemployed soon to be divorcée drunk with a totaled Subaru and a pending DWI charge. Looking at the facts, I did not lose everything overnight just like I did not become an alcoholic overnight. I had given up my life to my addiction of alcohol, I couldn’t seem to beat it on my own. I had tried self-will, church, and AA meetings with no avail. I figured I would just give into it and give up on life completely. I still remember my caseworker that was assigned to me at Moore Regional Hospital. I was taken to the behavioral unit after my last blackout wreck and thinking I did not want to live anymore. I don’t remember her name but what I do remember is the question she asked me. She looked at me and asked “ How bad do you want to change your life? How bad do you want sobriety?”. After expressing my desire for sobriety and my desperate need for help the caseworker told me of a place called Recovery Connections Community. I was given paperwork and told to write a three page biography of my life and what led me to this point of wanting to change. I began right away writing down the thoughts of my past that came flooding into my mind. I prayed to God that be it his will, I would be excepted into this two year long-term recovery community. I had tried to seek out help before I hit my rock-bottom and lost everything but, my great insurance continuously deemed in-patient care medically unnecessary for me. I look back now and can see that I had to fall, I had to lose it all, to give up my way and to find out about Recovery Connections Community.

I was interviewed by two RCC Graduates before being accepted. Looking back they were very honest about the hard work, open mindedness, and willingness needed to take in all this program had to offer someone. I can’t say that this program has been what I expected, as I did not know what to expect. But I can say that this program has shown me love when I needed it, toughness when I needed it, and that I don’t have to be a victim to my past or to my addiction anymore. If you want a program that is going to promise to deliver your recovery with a ribbon on top this program is not for you. If you are ready to put in hard work, have those character defects that have held you back pointed out, grow through your emotions, and are truly willing to go to any length for recovery for yourself and for those you love; then this program can give you the opportunity in life that it has given me. Since coming into this program on August 11, 2017, I have earned my Personal Care Aid Certification and my ServSafe Manager Certification. I have been given many new peer run responsibilities within the facility that I am part of. Responsibility of these jobs are showing me that I am capable of much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I am also growing into the fact that it is ok to make mistakes, they are steps to growth. I work at the programs Community Café. I thoroughly enjoy this job running the front of house. I get to serve great food and provide excellent customer service to this wonderful community that we are part of. I am learning how to be the friend, daughter, and productive citizen that I was falling short on in my active addiction. I am gaining self-confidence, a voice to speak up for myself, and a community of like-minded individuals that will always push me to be a better me. I could continue on about the benefits that I have found within this program, the gratitude that I feel inside my heart, and the direction of positivity my life is now headed in. Than you Recovery Connections Community. To my peers, staff, and those that had the vision to create this program I will be forever great full and I look forward to this journey of recovery as part of Recovery Connections Community.

Theresa Skoog

My name is Theresa Jill Skoog. I became an addict at the early age of 17. I put my family in harm's way and did not think twice about hurting anyone. over the years, I tried to get clean buy myself without help, but failed miserably. Finally, after ten years of using and having my two beautiful daughters taken away from me, I knew it was time to try something different. I heard about RCC through a graduate of the program and said I'd give it a shot. I've been in the program since December 7, 2017. I am extremely grateful to be here and finally get my life back on track. The program has, and still is, teaching me to stand up on my own feet sober. They have helped me gain the relationships back I've lost. I'm working on getting custody of my daughters back, which is the most important thing in my life besides my recovery. This program teaches you tough love and is not for everyone, but if you truly want to get sober and become a functioning member of society, I highly recommend it. I will always be grateful for RCC giving me back my life which is sincerely the best gift to anyone.

Vincent Lafrance

My name is Vincent Lafrance and I entered Recovery Connections in January, 2016. I had just separated myself from a family which my chemical addiction and hatred destroyed. I had lost my mother, father, daughter, wife, and brother. Everything was lost through my inability to confront my character defects, cognitive distortions, and negative perspective. If I had a mildly stressful day, it was excuse enough to get high, or drunk, or treat others as I wished. To me entering Recovery Connections to make a change, no matter how extreme, required tremendous vulnerability and courage and trust. This new family has greatly exceeded this needed trust. It is an excellent team! And though primarily in my case it had to chisel many flaws of my character with “tough-love”, I am ever grateful to feel a spectrum of emotions, positive and negative, and have the restored power inside to make clear decisions, and express myself. And I have even learned to be okay with making mistakes. I have learned that there is always growth – I am never complete. And that motivates me to keep learning how to better myself and those around me. I have learned many perceptions of myself in such healthy sessions I would have otherwise, in the past, ignored and raged against. In the past I would isolate, and this program taught me to spill myself. I have learned compassion, empathy, hope, faith, and loyalty. I have had wonderful leaders that are sober and productive, and heartening friendships. I have learned to remedy things here I thought wouldn’t be possible. I have gained things I assumed forever out of reach, such as companionship with a wonderful woman I’m now dating who is encouraging and motivating. The reality of Recovery Connections to me is that in order to endure the configurations we shape our minds into through active addiction we must embrace each-other with empathy and selflessness, love and friendship, loyalty and uncompromising honesty, to survive ourselves. I have learned to understand others to better understand myself. And the knowledge gained here has exceeded for me active addiction. It has healed my neurological imperfections and self-talk. I can turn negative things into positive. I am fully aware of my imperfections and flaws, and understand it to be okay. I have built so many wonderful memories here with those I love. I have chased farm animals, journeyed the state fair, vacationed at the beach, and experienced daily challenges that allowed me to bond deeply with others in the program. These aren’t things I appreciated before coming here. And to me the roots here can be planted deep and flourish greatly. I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, and what Jennifer and Phillip Warren have created here has done nothing short of giving miracles to us with each passing day. It does require hard work, it does require resolve and frustration and sometimes exhaustion. But without learning these requirements for life here, I would never have understood what it takes to be a productive human being. I would have settled for mediocrity. I would have been okay simply abiding, and not pushing myself with each moment of comfort. I am just overly shocked at the gifts this program has given me, those around me, and the future that is slowly presenting itself. I would never have imagined it involved a healthy relationship, or huge support network, or almost endless knowledge and affection. It has been a painful growth, but they helped me rid myself of the unnecessary habits I had developed, so I could promote and plant the positive world I had always wanted. Thank you so much for your guidance and help thus far, and I will always be grateful and feel part of this family.

Blake Tanner

My name is Blake Tanner and I am 20 years old. I decided to join Recovery Connections Community at the age of 19. I was a heroin addict for the past few years. My life had became a complete nightmare. Not living at home, basically jumping from couch to couch at different peoples' homes. I was a complete drain to not only my family, but all of society as well. Screwing over anyone who would possibly fall for my schemes. I had never held down a job for more than a few months due to my addiction. I would either steal from the job or just not show up. So what do I do? I turn to selling drugs. It doesn't take long before you realize "a monkey can't sell bananas". I managed to land myself in my local county jail, with 3 felonies and facing prison time. Definitely not the place I wanted to be. Being stuck there in misery, detoxing from all the dope, I knew I had to change the way I was living my life. I knew I needed some kind of structure, something to change my entire thinking process. So then is when I contacted Recovery Connections Community. Basically begging for a bed, they welcomed me with open arms. Here I stand today, 15 months clean and sober. With no felonies or pending charges, all because of the program and me taking the initiative to live another way. Something that I never could have possibly imagined. The choice is yours, you just have to keep an open mind and be willing to do whatever it takes. Take a stand to change your life and see the results!!