Chris Loomis, house manager at FleaHab, talks about his road to recovery.
.. Stayed sober 7 years and then relapsed. During that last relapse I found out about FleaHab and made it up here
How long you been at FleaHab? And how did you hear about us?
I have been living here for one and a half years.
I heard about FleaHab from a friend of mine who was a surfer. He was actually somebody I was using with. At that time, I was addicted to heroin and crystal meth, and just completely in a hopeless state. I said I needed to do something to start my life over. He had heard about FleaHab. I checked it out online and for the first time, I had hints of the willingness and hope to start over.
What was it about FleaHab that gave you hope you could beat your addiction?
I have been a surfer all my life and always looked up to Darryl. I had been to Santa Cruz a couple of times before and fell in love with it. So, I thought here is a chance to start fresh in a place I love. Then I went to FleaHab’s website and it was talking about developing a healthy lifestyle and pursuing your passion. I have a passion for surfing. The idea of coming up here to surf with Darryl and a new life in Santa Cruz were huge inspirations.
How long were you a drug user?
I started using drugs and drinking at around 14 years old then initially got sober at 21. I cleaned up my life and stayed sober for seven years. It was amazing. Life was really good. But I stopped focusing on recovery. Slowly I got miserable and isolated. I did not have a group of people around me to support my recovery. That’s when the heroin, meth, all those things kicked into high gear. It was a rough relapse. One I did not think I would come back from. For a lot of years, I gave up on myself.
Can you describe your journey to recovery?
During that last relapse I found out about FleaHab. I spoke with Darryl two years before coming to the house. He said you have to be completely clean before becoming a member of the house. So, getting to FleaHab ended up being the end goal to recovery. It took me two years of struggling. I went through the process of getting off heroin and getting off methadone. It took me about a year to get off crystal meth. Then I called Darryl. I said, ‘I don’t know if you remember me, but I am ready to be clean.’ He not only remembered me, but I was in the house soon after.
How has your relationship with your family changed since getting sober?
It is better than ever. My parents have both struggled with their own stuff and have always been supportive of me getting sober. When I started using again it was tough on the family. They wanted to protect me from myself. It was heartbreaking, to see their faces and how torn up they were, not knowing what to do and basically watching me die. I am sure it is every parents’ worst nightmare. But now things are really good. They are both really proud of me.
Can you tell me what is important to recovery for you and how FleaHab helps?
The most important thing at the beginning of recovery is getting a foundation in every sense. One of the requirements at FleaHab is you must go to meetings. For me, getting emotionally and mentally stable was getting involved in meetings. My next goal was to become self-supporting, and to get a job as quickly as possible. I also got active, something really stressed at FleaHab. I feel like the biggest thing that helps at FleaHab is the camaraderie in the house. We share a lot of communal meals and activities. We teach each other new things. When other people are doing healthy things, they inspire people who don’t necessarily do healthy things to start doing healthy things. That’s the cool thing that happens here. You’re immersed with other people trying to do the same thing as you to keep clean. It’s really supportive.