WSTC Employees in the Spotlight: Andrew Court
This month I would like to tell you about one of our WSTC Employees in the Spotlight: Andrew Court. Andrew is an Aftercare Coordinator. Prior to graduation from our program, the Aftercare Coordinator puts together a continuing care plan for the patient. Continuing care plans vary based on the needs of each exiting patient. However, WSTC typically recommends Intensive Outpatient, Individual Therapy, Medication Management (Psychiatry) and a follow-up visit with a Medical Doctor upon discharge from our facility. Andrew started with us as a Behavioral Technician in our Detox and Residential Programs. It is easy to see that Andrew enjoys working with patients because many report how easy he is to speak with and how well he treats them. From getting to know Andrew, it is not surprising to see that he enjoys helping others. That passion for giving back is rooted in Andrew’s own struggles that he has worked very hard to overcome.
Andrew was born in Michigan to a loving mother and father. He had a normal childhood and did not want for anything. Growing up he remembers that his parents would frequently throw parties for their friends. Alcohol was ever present at these events. In an attempt to model the behavior of his parents, Andrew took his first drink from his parent’s liquor cabinet at 10 years old. At 13 years old, he and his family moved to the West Coast of Florida. When he moved down, he was just entering his first year of high school and found the transition to be difficult. Coming from a small town in Michigan, most of his lifelong friends lived on his block and he was comfortable with his surroundings. However, in Florida he was starting a new school and now had to make new friends and associations. Fortunately, he adapted quickly by making new friends. Andrew played Golf and Basketball while in high school and was voted to be the “Most Friendly” in his senior class. Upon graduation, Andrew began attending school in Gainesville at the University of Florida.
Despite earning a Finance degree from U of F, Andrew’s drinking and partying lifestyle intensified. He says there was rarely a night the he didn’t black out. After graduating college, Andrew took a job in a management training program with a major US retailer. Around this time, Andrew also got married and bought a house with his new wife. Even through life was going really well for Andrew; he continued to sabotage himself by drinking throughout the day. As a result, Andrew started facing consequences. He got a series a DUI’s and on one occasion had a seizure at the wheel and ran his car into a ditch. His troubles didn’t end there. He ended up losing his career and his wife due to his drinking.
When it really got bad for Andrew, he was living in a couple hotels. As many of us do, he had already exhausted his goodwill with friends and family. Feeling utterly hopeless, Andrew attempted to take his own life by drinking himself into unconsciousness and falling into the hotel pool. In what can only be described as a rescue from above, a hotel employee spotted Andrew lying unconscious at the bottom of the pool, fished him out and called an ambulance to rush him to the hospital. To his further detriment, Andrew decided to leave the hospital and continue drinking. It wasn’t long before Andrew got arrested again. However, this time he had enough pain and asked for God to give him a sign to help him stop.
His first sign came in the form of a former halfway house roommate serving him food in his jail cell. That was a catalyst for Andrew to reach out to another recovering alcoholic and ask for help. Ironically, the first person he drank with when he moved with his family down to Florida was in Alcoholics Anonymous and had been sober for years at that point. Andrew called him from jail and asked for guidance on how to stop drinking and ruining his life. It was at that point that Andrew started working the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Finally, Andrew’s life began to change for the better. He was released from jail the following month. The Court System allowed him to enter into a special program that allowed for some of his charges to be dropped. Andrew started to follow the suggestions of recovering alcoholics that had overcome their own struggles. One of the suggestions was to move to a halfway house. Even though Andrew had gained the faith and trust of his family back, he decided moving to the halfway house was his best bet.
Andrew continued to work the 12 steps with the sponsor he obtained while in jail. While living at the halfway house, he got a job again in the field where he previously worked. Things improved over time. At one point in his journey in recovery, he ran into an old high school friend working as a waitress in a local diner. Andrew didn’t remember her at first, but she recognized him. She remembered him as someone who never made eye contact. She picked his chin up and said look at people when they talk to you. Further on when Andrew completed the 12 steps, he heard this same woman (in her late thirties) was in hospice dying of Cirrhosis of the Liver due to her abuse of alcohol. On the way to visit her in hospice, Andrew experienced his second spiritual awakening. He inadvertently got lost on the way to hospice. At a stoplight, there were no other cars and to him it seemed time stood still as he realized this was the very same stop light where he got his first DUI. Andrew was then struck with a thought of gratitude. He was thinking that it could be him in hospice waiting to die of alcoholism or he could still be in jail. It is a moment he will never forget.
Andrew now has several years clean and sober. The Promises have started coming true in his life. He is well respected by patients and fellow staff alike. Andrew’s mother, father and brother are now involved in his life. Within the next couple weeks, he will be a proud father to a new baby girl. Andrew is a living, breathing testament to miracles being possible. Now he never hesitates to give love and support to those in need just as it was freely given to him.