Chris Sobel has been clean and sober for 14 years. He is a committed husband, a loving father, a responsible homeowner, an experienced therapist and one hell of a cook. He’s worked as a chef and a sous chef in some fantastic restaurants and he helped launch some of the most popular eateries in northern Arizona. After years battling addiction to drugs and alcohol, he pulled himself out of the depths of despair and worked hard to create a happy, healthy life for himself and his family.
But if you ask Chris his favorite part about this “new” life of his, he’ll tell you it’s not just what he’s done for himself that makes him happy. No, his favorite part is what his roller-coaster life experience now allows him to do for others: relate to people on their level so he can truly help them help themselves.
“When I was a client at Prescott House, I was a pain in the ass,” says Chris, excusing his language but saying there’s no better way to put it. “I was a terrible client. I got in a lot of trouble while I was here because I didn’t believe I had any problems. I thought I was normal. I spent a lot of time on ‘tables’ [a disciplinary mechanism at Prescott House]. Looking back, of course I had a problem with alcohol and with drugs and with the way I treated women. But I didn’t see it then. And I did not want to be at Prescott House when I got here.”
Eleven years after he caused so many headaches for the therapists at Prescott House, he now sits on the other side of the desk. He is a primary therapist here and he is one of the longest-tenured employees in the addiction recovery center. He estimates he has more than 2,000 hours of experience as a therapist. He’s gone through specialized training to better help clients through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Post-Acute Withdrawal Therapy and he’s been to countless workshops on topics like problem gambling and PTSD and relapse prevention.
Chris has been facilitating self-esteem workshops at Prescott House almost since the beginning of his employment here in 2005. Even so, if you pry a little bit, he’ll admit that he still battles his own self-esteem issues from time to time. And you know, that’s the thing about totally turning your life around: the process is never fully complete. There is always work to be done. Chris doesn’t necessarily like that he sometimes questions his own effectiveness or self-worth, but now as a sober person, he recognizes that he’s not alone in that feeling. He knows that everybody has doubts about themselves in some way or another. And being able to understand his own struggles in the larger context is part of what helps him be a really effective therapist. Men usually arrive at Prescott House when they are at the lowest points of their lives, and the mess of emotions that comes along with that often includes feeling alone and feeling like no one else can really relate to what you’re going through. But Chris can. Because he has literally been there—in that exact spot.
Here’s a synopsis of Chris’s roller-coaster life: He was born on Long Island, New York and reluctantly moved to Arizona as a young teen when his mom left his father, who was an alcoholic. A number of years later, when his dad drank himself to death in 2001, Chris’s life spiraled out of control. Ironically (or not), his dad’s death by alcoholism was a significant contributor to his own descent into an addiction to alcohol and drugs. He started getting into trouble. A lot. He drank like crazy. He smoked pot and did meth. He got a woman pregnant and then wasn’t much of a father after his son was born. He went to jail more than once. Soon after getting out of jail in 2001, he finally agreed to seek addiction treatment, although reluctantly, and he found his way to Prescott House. He continued to cause problems and he didn’t buy into the treatment process immediately. He was a pain in the ass.
But then he had a life-changing epiphany.[to be continued…]
Stay tuned to read the rest of Chris’s story and to find out how his recovery from addiction helped him become the man he’s always looked up to.
Meanwhile, if you want to go from battling an addiction and getting in lots of trouble to conquering your addiction and turning your life around, call us. Chris and the rest of the Prescott House professional staff can help.