By Michael Rass
Amy met Danny in the summer of 2007 when they were both working as servers in South Florida. She soon found out that he was misusing drugs and alcohol. Danny had been struggling with addiction for some time. At first Amy thought he was just drinking too much. Then, she discovered that Danny was abusing drugs as well.
It was a difficult situation for a 19-year-old woman. “It was definitely hard, but we had a strong connection right from the beginning,” she recalls. “None of his friends had ever stuck by him, but I said I will do that for you.”
Amy didn’t really know much about the disease of addiction then, but she was determined to change that. “I researched everything,” she says. “I even took some psychology classes about addiction at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. And I went to a few AA meetings with a girlfriend from college who was in recovery. Later, I went to lots of meetings with Danny.”
Amy had only dated Danny for a few weeks when he went into rehab. It was his second attempt to get sober, and this time he had something special for which to fight. Amy had caught him doing drugs and told him, “There’s no room for drugs and that kind of life in my life. You have to make a decision about what you want to do.”
Danny called his mom and said, “I need help.” Since it was his second attempt to get sober, they knew exactly what to do. When Danny walked into rehab on August 30, 2007, with only a duffel bag half-filled with clothes, he was done. “I couldn’t do it anymore,” he remembered. “I was physically sick and unable to function without opiates.”
Danny worked hard for his recovery and took his time. By the time the holidays came along, he was staying at a halfway house. “We saw each other for a limited amount of time because he had curfews,” says Amy. She knew it was for the best. Danny had to focus on his recovery first. By now, Amy was aware of the danger triggers pose in early recovery.
She also realized how much her life was going to be different. If they stayed together, they would share a life of sobriety. Amy started to go to Al-Anon meetings with Danny’s mom. On their first New Year’s Eve together, Amy and Danny went to a meeting. After the meeting, they joined a sober party for people in recovery—not your typical New Year’s revelry. But Amy was very happy to be there because she wanted to be with Danny and she wanted him to get healthy.
Danny started to build a better life for himself. He stayed sober and went back to college to become a graphic designer. A few years ago, Danny began to apply the 12th Step professionally by working in the addiction field. In March 2017, Amy and Danny moved north to Jacksonville. Today, Danny is a certified recovery coach and works with the alumni services team at Lakeview Health.
He has now been sober for over ten years and loves helping people overcome addiction and achieve full recovery. Missing out on the holiday season in 2007 has definitely paid off for Danny and Amy. They married in 2012 and have a beautiful two-year-old daughter now. Occasionally, they still attend special holiday events to celebrate Danny’s recovery.
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