Professional Profiles: Robert Jordan’s Story
Mr. Robert Jordan
“I hope helps all who are struggling with a family member who is in the prison of addiction, and to know that the way to love us is to challenge us.”
My name is Robert Jordan and I am a certified addiction counselor and the Director of the men’s program at The Extension. I am also a person in long-term recovery. I am just short of 10 years since I have touched alcohol or drugs.
My story begins as one of six children growing up in an impoverished single family home. I remember my mother working her fingers to the bone just to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. She taught me what hard work and resilience looks like. I am no different from any addict in terms of the emotional trauma that sometimes come with addiction and in most cases begins in childhood.
My biggest heroes were my mother-in-law and my wife of 25 years Beth. I say that because they were the first people who expressed how much they believed in my ability to succeed. In 1986 I enlisted in the United States Navy from my home state of New Jersey. At that time, we had three daughters who were 10, 8, and 3 years old. The following year we had our fourth daughter and for the next 10 years, I was aboard ship or traveling around the world. I saw 13 countries in just 4 years!
My wife’s mother, one of my heroes, died in 1993. This was a very traumatic experience for me. I began to feel abandoned, but was still able to somewhat maintain. Then, in 2004, my girls and I lost the love of my life since I was 18 years old, my dear wife Beth Ann Jordan. I could not maintain life at that point and did not know how to process losing my second biggest hero. I hit a rock bottom of crack cocaine and heroin that I never knew existed.
I spent the next two years in gross addiction, homeless or in jail. I remember one of my daughters saying to me “Dad, it’s like we lost Mommy and you at the same time.” That made me really look at how I made a mess of the hero image with my girls. I applaud my older daughters who stepped up and became Mom and Dad to their younger sisters at the most difficult time in our lives. My two older daughters refused to accept my addiction and behavior as normal; this was not the loving Dad they had grown up with!
They picked me up from a drug-infested hotel and brought me to rehab. When it was time for me to make the proper amends, I thanked my daughter for kicking me off her couch and the other one who found The Extension. I am so proud because it was their beautiful mother who taught them not to settle for less and to demand the best in a person. They did all they could to help me but did not enable me in my addictions. With their love and support, I have become the man that I am today.