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Voices for Recovery

Neil Kaltenecker (06/15/2010)

Neil Kaltenecker Voice My professional career began in the field of criminal justice more than 25 years ago, and at work I have witnessed the devastation that addiction brings to individuals, families, and communities. Because of my own problems with alcohol, there is very little that separates me from the people I have arrested, monitored in a county jail or a maximum-security women’s penitentiary, or supervised on probation and parole. Like me, many started drinking at an early age, made poor choices in personal relationships, and continued to use alcohol and drugs in spite of the shameful and damaging consequences.

I drank through high school and college. By the time I reached age 30, my health had deteriorated to a critical point, and my life was a version of hell on earth. When I had the brief, yet intense, conscious awakening that I did not want to live this way anymore, I discovered a strong and incredibly caring community of recovery that was there to support me. Alongside them, I began a period of renewal that healed my body, my heart, and my mind.

I have been in long-term recovery since 1990 and am grateful every day for the incredible opportunities I have had and continue to have since then as a result of recovery. I am a responsible and caring spouse, stepmother, daughter, sister, friend, and colleague. My recovery is at the very core of who I am.

Opportunities for recovery should exist for each and every person. That belief has fueled my passion to bring a message of hope to anyone who will listen. It is also why I am working at an advocacy agency whose mission is to reduce the impact of alcohol and other drug problems in our communities, and why I humbly speak out about my recovery and let others know that they, too, can get well.

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