He is sober now at 31-years-old and he credits his counselors here on Cape Cod for guiding him along his path.
Joey’s addiction story is a common one. He had been pinned against the ropes for years by an unforgiving opponent – himself.
He was star athlete and solid student at Needham High School where he captained the hockey team during his senior year.
Joey continued his education at Stonehill College before heading to the West Coast to pursue an acting and comedy career.
Handsome and funny, he made a name for himself quickly on the comedy circuit of Los Angeles where he performed as a regular at the legendary Comedy Store.
In this environment, he was surrounded by alcohol and his drinking elevated. Wine was his drink of choice and like all addicts, he thought he could control it.
“I’d have a few glasses before a gig and a few more after,” he recalls.
However it did not take long for his drinking to get out of control. He began to isolate himself from his friends.
He cancelled gigs because he was either too drunk or too hung over to perform.
He figured that LA was the problem. He figured that he would sober up if he moved back home to Massachusetts.
Instead, the problem got worse. Joey began looking back on his time in Hollywood as a failed experiment and began seeing himself as a failure too.
Depression set in and took over.
“I got a job but got fired,” he says. Joey believes that it was a result of his drinking. He was showing up for work at a local restaurant glassy eyed and smelling of booze.
He victimized himself and lashed out at his others – especially his parents. They suggested that he see a psychologist. He did but it didn’t work.
Joey continued to drink and soon landed in the hospital with severe stomach pain. All the alcohol was eating into the interior of his stomach lining.
If he did not stop – he would die.
“The doctor and my mother sent me to detox. I didn’t want to call myself an alcoholic. I tried to stop and stayed sober for 27 days.”
He felt healthy and performed well at a job interview. Joey felt the need to reward himself so he drank again.
The next morning, he woke up feeling dizzy and sick. He asked God “Either kill me or help me.”
Joey then picked up the phone and called his brother. “I’m drinking myself to death,” he said. “I need to go away.”
The brother brought him here to Recovering Champions and that’s where the life saving work began.
“I spent 30 days there and was tested in every way,” he says. “There’s nothing physically to keep you there but I stayed and for the first time I was learning about my true self and about others. Alot of people were in the same boat as me. You are forced every day to wake up and look in the mirror and be real with yourself.”
Joey says that his counselors made all the difference as most were recovering addicts themselves but with the knowledge to heal.
“The Recovering Champions counselors were unbelievable,” he remembers. “They connected with us without making us feel defensive.
They understood all the stages of addiction, pushed us hard but laid off when we needed it. They were naturally caring.”
Upon his graduation from treatment, Joey was instilled with the confidence he lacked when his addiction took hold. He maintains close ties to his counselors and values the lessons and training they offered.
“I learned that I was not a bad person,” he says. “I owe my gratitude to all those who saved me. The disease wanted to get me alone and wanted to kill me.”
But instead, he’s a survivor. He’s a Recovering Champion. Joey Nowd now has a good job, a steady and loving relationship, and above all he has hope for what the future will bring.