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Our Alumni


At Highlife Recovery, our community and clients are what is most important to us. We truly feel as though our clients are a reflection of all the hard work that goes into making Highlife what it is. The entire purpose of doing what we do is to change lives for the better; there is nothing greater than doing just that and hearing and seeing such success stories. With that being said, here are a few inspiring testimonials from some of our past clients.


Tyler Wise – Sober Living, IOP, OP


Could you tell me a little about yourself? Any fun fact


s you’d like people to know?

“I’m a single father raising a 9-year-old daughter by myself, so that’s my main identity. I enjoy normal guy stuff such as sports. My life pretty much consists of raising my daughter. I coach her softball team every year, and I help coach her basketball team. I’m also a huge Indianapolis Colts fan unfortunately.”

What originally brought you to Highlife?

“I’ve been to treatment about 20 some times so it took a long time, but Mike would come in and speak at these facilities and he would see me at all these different facilities. Mike and I kind of hit it off and that turned into me just constantly begging him for a scholarship to come to Highlife. I ended up going to Highlife a few times, 3 times actually, but the last time was the one that stuck; I was there for 18 long months”



What was your favorite aspect of being a part of Highlife?

“Highlife saved my life. I mean Mike was a big part of it, to be honest. He just looked out for me in a real way in the beginning when I had literally no one else. I needed somewhere that was going to give me some structure and be around guys that were in the same position in life that I was. I didn’t know how to do anything. I knew how to do a lot of stuff that applies none to being a functioning member of society. I knew how to do everything that is bad and that will get you nowhere; I was very good at all that. Things as simple as doing dishes, I didn’t know how to go to the grocery store, I didn’t know how to have money and not spend it immediately, I didn’t know how to control my behavior and emotions. Highlife really helped me out with all of that; just the community of people like me and the structure. I hadn’t laughed or smiled for years at that point, and it helped getting sober around people in the same boat as you and having someone like Mike that knew how to handle people like us. We would go do things, I’m talking things like just going out to eat, just learning that I could have fun without getting high or breaking the law or doing crazy stuff like that, was cool. I just appreciate that I was shown that you can have fun without ruining your life.”

How has Highlife influenced you and/or what has stuck with you?

“Everything has stuck with me. I used Highlife for what it was supposed to be used for. It’s not like they’re going to hold your hand and you’re going to fight it the


whole time and you’re going to be successful. If you walk in and do everything that they say, you can make it. I learned how to be a human being while there. It was ‘commit yourself and do everything that anyone that’s sober recommends you should do’, and I did that. So, I guess the biggest part for me was being required to go to meetings and get a sponsor, and work the steps, because that is what changed my life. I would never have done that or known how to even approach that without people like Mike holding my hand and showing me how to do that.”

What would your advice be to someone who may be considering treatment with Highlife?

“If you want to stay sober and live a happy life, then go. When you’re like me, and it’s as bad as how I was, some treatment isn’t enough. Just 28, 30, 60 days of an inpatient program isn’t enough. At Highlife, the doors aren’t locked, so it teaches you how to have the choice to get high, but not get high. I could go do 90 days in jail and not use; that’s easy, I did it. If you go 30 days sober in inpatient treatment, well, there’s no drugs in there. The day you walk out of there is where it really starts. Every time I tried to walk out on my own, I was high within may


be 2 days. When I went to Highlife, it provided the next, extended step I needed to learn how to live a sober life and to have an awesome community of people around you. There are guys that are in the same spot as you, and guys that have been sober longer than you, guys that you become friends with and show you that it is possible. Personally, I couldn’t just walk back into the world and be like, cool, I have 30 days sober and I’m going to figure this out on my own. I needed to have my hand held, be around guys that were the same as me and that could show me, ‘hey, here’s what you do’. That’s what Highlife provides.”


Caleb Steffy – Sober Living & IOP


What originally brought you to Highlife?

“I came to Highlife because I knew that they could help me get to where I wanted to be. I was homeless, and I didn’t have anything. The only time I ever put even 30, 60, 90 days together was at Highlife. That had been the only time I’d ever even been sober in Ohio.”

What was your favorite aspect of being a part of Highlife?

“I would say the community and having everybody around. Friday nights would roll around and we’d all go to a meeting together and play volleyball afterwards, just doing fun stuff together. Even if it was just hanging out and playing cards, joking


around. My favorite part was having the relationships that we built together, around me.”

What have you been doing post-Highlife?

“Well I work, I have a house, and I have two kids. All the guys I work with actually came through Highlife too. So, I still work with 3 of my friends that I came through Highlife with.”

What would your advice be to someone who may be considering treatment with Highlife?

“My advice would be to definitely try it, and to go in with an open mindset and just actually do what you’re supposed to do. Do what other people tell you to do. If they’re telling you what to do, chances are they’ve probably done what you’re trying to do, and they know a little bit better.”

What made your final time in treatment successful?

“The last time, I was not on any insurance, and I was homeless. Every night I would go and do whatever I had and hope that would be the last time I did it, and not in a good way. I was hoping I’d die that time. I was just to a point where I was, I don’t know what the word would be, but it’d be an extreme word for depressed. Just depressed and miserable, and I just felt like I had nothing to live for. I had a son, and a family, and I was putting them through a whole lot of stuff they didn’t deserve; I just felt horrible about it. The fact that I couldn’t die left me one other option, and that was to do what I’m doing now, and do what I did when I went to Highlife. I went in, and I definitely wasn’t a perfect client, but as far as doing what was suggested, s


uch as going to meetings and working a program, and doing everything as far as an AA aspect goes, I was just willing to do it all, and that’s what I did”

How has Highlife influenced you and/or what has stuck with you?

“I would definitely say having a close support system, and having people close to me that I can turn to in order to talk about things and run things by. All my close relationships, friendship wise, are people in recovery. Just having those people around me and having those people to turn to and hold me accountable if I’m ever in a situation where I feel a certain way or I’m just not doing my best, or thinking my best. Just having that support group around me to talk to.”


Eddie Serrano – Sober Living, IOP, OP


Could you tell me a little about yourself? Any fun facts you’d like people to know?

“So, I have a wife and two kids, so I’m mostly with the family every day. As far as in my free time, I do play video games at night. I play Call of Duty, Warzone, an


d that good stuff. Sometimes I play softball, if one of my friends has a team. I go snowboarding in the winter sometimes; I started paintballing last year with some of my friends in the summertime, so I’ve been doing that. That’s pretty much it for hobbies, I mostly stay at home with the kids and my wife. I do own a business as well, so working most of the time throughout the day.”

What originally brought you to Highlife?

“So, a guy that was in rehab with me said he was going to Highlife. I didn’t really have anywhere to go, and it sounded like a good fit because they make you go


to meetings, there’s a house manager, there’s rules, and that’s the kind of place I needed to be.”

What was your favorite aspect of being a part of Highlife?

“I got lucky because the group of guys that was in there was pretty good. The ones that came in with me, a lot of them are still sober now. It made it a lot easier for me back then. So, my favorite part was probably the group of guys I was with and then also the monthly trips we would go on, like go-karting or kayaking; that was pretty cool too.”

In what ways has Highlife influenced you and/or what has stuck with you?

“I clicked quickly with Mike when I was there, so I made a point to follow his type of action. So, probably just learning how to live life sober. The stuff that I did t


hen, I still do now – I made my bed this morning, made my kids’ beds this morning. I took the trash out, cleaned the house, did the dishes, so all the same stuff that I did back then (in Sober Living). I didn’t really do any of that stuff before I went to Highlife. Just routine, that’s probably what I’d say has stuck with me and that I still do today, almost 5 years later.”

What would your advice be to someone who may be considering treatment with Highlife?

“I would say to go. Follow the rules and just try to be open-minded because I think that made it a lot easier for me. They have set rules, I followed those set rules and just did what they said and what they were telling me to do for my recovery. So, just be open-minded and follow the rules.”


Skylar Gilbert – Sober Living, IOP, OP, Aftercare

Tell me a little about yourself. Are there any fun facts you’d li


ke people to know?

“I like to read mystery books, I’m into football.. I watch a lot of football. It’s cool getting into that kind of stuff because before I got sober, I didn’t do any of those things. They used to be things of the past and I stopped doing them because other things took priority. It’s so funny, a few weeks ago, I was laying on my couch, it was 8:30 at night, and I’m by myself watching football, just chilling with my dog and I just thought, ‘this is so perfect right now’. I never ever thought this was something that I’d enjoy doing.”

What originally brought you to Highlife Recovery?

“So, I’m an alcoholic. When I was in treatment, I had never been in treatment or anything before. I had done a couple things such as AA meetings where I’d stop drinking for a few weeks and just smoke weed. So, treatment was mostly at the behest of my parents, b


ut I finally got sick enough where I was like, ‘okay, I need to go to treatment, and I need help because I don’t know what to do’. It’s almost embarrassing to say now, but it was this thought process of, and it’s such a cliché, I don’t know how to live without drinking, but I’m way too scared to kill myself. That’s the road I was at, and I started rationalizing using stronger drugs, so really, that’s what took me to treatment.”

What was your favorite aspect of being a part of Highlife?

“There are so many things. I could go with the easy, good Samaritan rule of getting introduced to recovery, which is huge, but honestly, I had some of the most fun I’ve ever had at Highlife – with the guys just doing silly stuff. That’s what is kind of funny like being with other grown men just going out doing silly stuff. It felt like being in high school again where the fun thing to do is go to Walmart because there’s nothing else to do, just stuff like that. I think that was the most fun, and probably my favorite part, just making memories doing the simplest things that a year prior, I would’ve been like, ‘dude you’re a nerd, like you think that’s fun?’. I could talk about the other part too, getting introduced to the 12 Steps. Originally, I was very indifferent. I wasn’t stoked to be here, but I was like ‘ah, I guess it’s better than what I had been doing.’ I had to go to 12 Step meetings because that’s what you had to do to be here. I was


very not into it at first and was kind of just showing up and getting my slips signed. Then, I just remember one day this guy was giving his lead and he said something, and the light clicked on. It was one of those lightbulb moments where I was like ‘wow, I want to do this, and I need to do this.’ It was so weird, and I got a sponsor right after that, literally after that meeting, and started working the 12 Steps like crazy. That’s the biggest thing honestly, and I’ll credit Highlife with that. What I’m really grateful for is, like I said, I didn’t really care about showing up, but I had to, and it put me in the place and set me up for success, for what’s led to me being able to live the life I have and be satisfied watching a football game with my dog on a Saturday night.”

What have you been up to post-Highlife?

“I’ve gotten back into a lot of the hobbies that I had as a kid, or things I wanted to do. For example, when I was drinking, I wasn’t really reading, I read maybe like t


wo books. I read one of them recently sober and I was like, ‘I can’t believe I missed all that, like this book is not that good.’ When I was drinking, I didn’t comprehend anything. So that’s been a big thing for me, doing things that I’ve always wanted to do but never took the time to do, like reading. I also like to make music, so that is something I really got into and started acting on. I think that’s the biggest thing, taking action steps towards things I want to do. I also like museums and going on vacations. It’s very different going on a vacation and not blowing all your money, trying to figure out what the next move is and just actually being present. I’ve been working, I watch pro-wrestling, and I go to concerts. I also graduated from college, so that was a big deal. That was the big milestone, it was sweet.”

How has Highlife influenced you and/or what has stuck with you?

“Just the whole 12 Step thing. It really changed my life. Highlife is sweet and I credit it with everything, but the 12 Step programs are what really have built a foundation for me to be able to do the cool stuff that I like to do. That’s the biggest thing for me, fo


r sure. You’ll probably hear this a thousand times from anyone you talk to about Highlife, but I was introduced to structure and accountability, such as making my bed every day, and I still do that now. My big fear was ‘oh, I’m going to be a nerd and just talk about 12 steps all the time and it’s going to be my whole life.’ However, Highlife enabled me to get into that stuff and do those things, and be free to live life and do things I wanted to do, but also it showed me it doesn’t have to be my whole life. Highlife showed me that that’s just a foundation to go and live my life, which is the most exciting thing about it because I was so fearful. I was 21 when I got sober and that’s not what most 21-year old’s do. That’s just where I found myself, and my life is super sweet. Even when it's not, like I’ve gone through some really tough stuff in the last year specifically, and even then, life’s still pretty good. Not to be corny, like it sucks, and I feel it for sure, but I had something weird happen the other night. I was at this bowling alley, and I had this awful interaction, but it was sweet because my one friend pointed out, ‘well at least you’re not thinking about drinking or killing yo


urself.’ I was like, ‘yeah, it doesn’t even occur to me.’ Then I threw two of the best games of my life in bowling, it was nuts.”

What would your advice be to someone who may be considering treatment with Highlife?

“This is going to sound kind of harsh but stick with the winners. You can tell who’s about it and who’s not. You don’t have to be a rehab warrior to know it. Stick with the winners and do your own stuff. By that I mean, go to meetings by yourself. Get to know people outside of Highlife. Get to know people outside of your sponsor. Let me circle back, this goes first: get a sponsor and work the steps. It’s wild how many people don’t do that. Maybe not everyone needs to do it, I don’t know, but if you’re anything like me, you need to do that. If you don’t, nothing is going to change. So, get a sponsor, work the steps, and stick with the winners. You can just tell what people are up to and if they’re about it, who’s there for a bed, who’s there becaus


e their mom won’t let them home, stuff like that. Stick with the winners and be intentional with what you do. Think about actions, like why you are doing this. You don’t have to know everything, just keep going along with it. One day at a time, you hear it all the time, it’s a cliché, but it’s very true. Just take things one day at a time, and it’s going to work out. I think the biggest thing for me was the reflection of, ‘I don’t really want to be here, but this is better than where I was.’ That thought kept me at Highlife long enough to actually get it. So, just stick to it.”


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