Danny's Story

I’m Danny, I have 4 years of sobriety, and this is for Sabrina Best, her family, and Rise Again: The Sabrina Best Foundation

I’ve been friends with Sabrina since I was in high school, when I was about 17 years old.  We were neighbors when I lived in Billerica, and became good friends shortly after.  She was always someone I could talk to about my problems with no judgments passed, and she knew she could always talk to me about hers as well.  We became really close when we started using together, which lasted about 3-4 years.  We ran with the same crowd, and almost all of the same people.  We did a lot of lying, stealing and manipulating during that time, but we always had each other’s back, no matter what.  Then, she picked up and left for California to start a new life in recovery.  I was sad, but really happy for her.  It wasn’t until about a year and a half later that I’d had enough, and reached my own bottom.  So, I reached out to Sabrina for help because I’d heard she was doing well. I wanted to know more about what she was up to.

I knew I needed to leave MA, and I had a choice to make between Florida and California because I wanted to get away from the cold, depressing New England winters.  There are a lot of places to go for recovery in Florida, but the people I knew that went there were not successful.  So I reached out to my old friend Sabrina who told me about this place called the Coachella Valley, which was full of younger people in recovery all with the same goal - to stay sober.  She’d told me she had a year and a half of sobriety and was managing the woman’s house of a sober living facility.  I was surprised, amazed, and inspired.  I’d seen Sabrina at her very worst first hand.  She was a high school drop out with a dark and shady past, a lot of which I was directly involved with.  I thought to myself, “Wow if she can do this, there must be something special about that place where she is.”  That place was Palm Desert, CA.

She then got me in touch with the owner of the sober living house she worked at, and I made the decision that’s where I wanted to go.  I asked my parents to send me immediately, but they had been trying for years to get clean.  This time they told me if I wanted it bad enough, I would do what I needed to do to turn my life around.  Little did they know, it was the best gift they could have ever given me because now, I can proudly say I’ve built my life today myself from the ground up.

My work was cut out for me.  I had to stay clean while working in Boston to save up enough money to get out, all while withdrawing from opiates.  I first had to save $600 to reserve my bed for the first month.  For a junkie, that was a lot cash to save.  I met that goal.  Then I saved up another $250 for a one-way plane ticket to Cali.  I met that goal and was really excited because now it was real.  I was going whether I relapsed or not.  I set the date a few weeks out so I would have time to save up the last bit of money I could to live off of.  I went out to California with $1,000 in my pocket, and the rest was history.

Sabrina met up with me the first day I got out to CA, and I’d never been happier to see my old friend.  We went to a Sunday night meeting that first night.  She was so excited I was there, and had that glow about her.  You know, the one where you knew she was clean, happy, and doing extremely well.  Being across the country with no family, it was also really comforting to have a close friend out there with me.

We didn’t skip a beat either.  It was like we picked up right where we left off, except everything had changed.  Instead of going to pick up, we were going to meetings together, going to pool parties, meeting up to get coffee and walk around the park. She introduced me to all of her friends so I didn’t feel out of place.  We’d talk almost every day, and became closer than we ever had.  She was there every step of the way for me to bounce ideas off of, and to give me her opinion on every major move I planned on making. 

I got a job the first week I was out there working as a paralegal for a private corporation.  I’m proud to say I still work for that same company but not only that, I’ve been promoted up to a role in Executive Management after only four years.  Also, after getting my first year of sobriety, I decided to pursue a life-long dream of mine and go to law school.  I’ve now finished my third year as a law student, and will be taking the California Bar Exam next summer.  Sabrina was sooo proud of me and would tell me all the time. 

Sabrina and I went through a lot together, both before I moved out here, while I lived out here and even after she moved back to MA.  I could tell you stories about her and I for hours.  I was wicked happy when I moved out to CA because we became close again.  When all was said and done, she was like a little sister to me.  I was there to look after her and  she’d been there for me for everything.  She was there for all of my sobriety birthdays to give me my cake, as I was there for hers.  She even suggested who she thought would be a good fit for me as a sponsor.  All of the relationships I’ve made out in this Valley are because of Sabrina, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.  The one thing I know is that without knowing Sabrina and seeing her achieve the success she did out here, I would have never ended up coming to the place that I was clearly destined to be.  Once I saw that she could do it, I knew that I could do it too.

You’re such a huge part of my story, and I still can’t believe you’re gone.  I say this all the time, and I used to tell you all the time, but I owe so much of my sobriety to you Sabrina.  Four years later and my life is better than it’ ever been, and it’s all because you were willing to help me out at the time I needed it most.  Love you, miss you, and I’ll continue to make you proud 🖤 RIP

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