SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — To shine a light on Alcohol Abuse Awareness, ValleyCentral spoke with a local man on his journey to becoming sober.

Donnie Jones said alcohol abuse started at a young age.

“When I was fifteen, I had my first drink and I went crazy,” said Jones. “I started breaking into my friends and parents’ liquor cabinets.” 

Jones explained how alcohol abuse was a pattern that he continued for up to 30 years. 

“I would go on a binge and something bad always ended up happening,” said Jones.  “I won’t go into details about them but I’ve been homeless a few times, in jail and then I would wake up the next morning and I would swear that I was never going to do it again.” 

According to Jones, a change in lifestyle did not occur until he encountered himself in a deep realization of how serious his relationship was with alcohol.

“Something bad enough happened that I became willing to do anything to stay sober,” said Jones.

Origins Behavioral Healthcare Clinical Director, David Tejeda said the journey to recovery is often misunderstood.

“There’s this general idea about recovery, sobriety that all it needs is quitting or stopping drinking; and really what we are talking about is going beyond that, storing a person’s life, the relationships, inspiring them to live their life to the fullest potential that may have been limited by substance abuse,” said Tejeda.

Tejeda said alcohol awareness and education are meant for everyone, not just for those who are on their road to recovery.

“It lets people know that it’s fully treatable, that you can fully recover and I think without that piece, there’s a lot of misinformation or ideas,” said Tejeda. “Education also helps the family begin to understand and to move away from blame.”

According to Tejeda, recovery centers have always been a necessity in the valley but were hardly available which is why Origins Behavioral Healthcare decided to become more accessible for valley residents. 

“We started accepting private insurance going in-network with various insurance companies,” said Tejeda. “That opens up the door to people in this community.”

Jones described his first day of treatment as one of the worst and best days of his life.

“The worst day of my life turned into the best day of my life all within 24 hours so it’s like the day I was reborn,” said Jones.

Jones said the road to recovery is not easy but encourages those who are trying to trust the process.

“Surrendering is the hardest thing that I ever had to do but it’s the most beautiful thing and it’s the most freedom I’ve ever experienced,” said Jones. 

According to Jones, it has been five years of keeping alcohol and drugs away from his life.

He is proud of himself and is now dedicating his time to helping others with their journey to recovery.

Anyone interested in learning more about Origins Behavioral Healthcare is encouraged to call 844-210-2005 or visit OriginsTexas.com