Judge a true source of inspiration | AspenTimes.com

Judge a true source of inspiration

I would like to take the time to publicly thank Judge J.E. DeVilbiss for the opportunity that he gave me back in the early 1980’s to see that I might have a problem with alcohol abuse.

For various reasons that need not be revealed in this letter I was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress syndrome and had fallen deep into alcoholism (a proclivity that I inherited from my alcoholic family) and found myself in an embarrassing and serious situation.

When I appeared before Judge DeVilbiss, he basically ask me if I thought that I might have a problem (“what makes you think that you may have a problem?”), and I was able to admit that I did. This ability to admit that you may have a problem turns out to be the first step in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

From that point he helped me get into a good recovery program where I discovered the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. That was over 20 years ago now and I have not had one drink of alcohol during that time period.

I would have to say that to quit drinking hasn’t been the easiest thing that I have ever done. But I decided that if I took another drink I would just have to stop somehow someday, so in a sense it was easier for me not to start again.

Several times during the first part of my recovery J.E. took the time to meet with and counsel me on a personal basis, and even though he may not be aware of it, his help and guidance was then and remains today a true source of inspiration to me. I, in turn, over the years have been able to help a few others in their recovery.

So I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to a truly great man who has made such a positive difference in my life and others and remains one of the true “unsung” heroes of our time and place.

Jeffery Saint Johns


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