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Jack & Jessica's Story

Jack & Jessica Matthews


What's better than one Sobar story? Two of course! Meet Jack and Jessica Matthews, a
lovely couple passionate about recovery!

Jack Matthews, a Baltimore City native, struggled with drug and alcohol use for twenty-
nine years until 2011 when he found recovery. At the time, most recovery programs were in Howard County, and that is where he went: “Everyone’s process is different. For me, I [went to rehab] one time broken enough where I was willing to do anything I was told to do… Go to ninety meetings in ninety days, etc. I did programs and kept trying and eventually found houses.” What worked for Jack, is a program we haven’t covered in these articles, living in sober houses.


Jessica Matthews is also a local Marylander from Howard County. She struggled with drugs and alcohol for quite a while. From 2013-2015, she worked in a 12-step program and experimented with other programs before finding success living in a sober home. “It made all the difference for me. I was living by myself in my apartment and I couldn't keep myself clean. The house gave me structure and accountability.” She’s been clean ever since!

The couple met in recovery. They started as friends, going to the gym together, and
became meeting buddies. Along the way, the friendship became a beautiful relationship. Since they were both fresh in recovery, the Matthews still lived in recovery houses for the first three years of the relationship which was a suggestion by their sponsors and that worked. “It saved us money and eventually we got married in the Cayman Islands and eventually we bought a house.”


When I asked them to discuss the role recovery played in their relationship, the couple
expressed the need for them to both continue their journey on their own instead of jumping from one dependency to another. To quote Jack, “It was important that we had networks of people that kept an eye on us and kept us safe… [people that] helped [our relationship remain] on a course where it was healthy.”


After four years of marriage, they are both continuing to give back to the community that they say has given them so much. Jack volunteers with Howard House. He is certified in Peer Recovery and a Peer Supervisor, which means he is available, and currently on call, to help anyone who may not know not where to get support. Jessica volunteers a lot. She is involved in Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. She has worked as a House Manager, Recovery Manager, and is now the Director of Living in Recovery – the same program she went through. When I asked them the biggest benefit of their jobs, they said the same thing - getting to know people and watching them grow. Together, they both sit on the boards of various recovery-focused organizations outside of their professional lives and volunteer wherever they are needed.

Now to the part where we mention their connection to Sobar! Sobar can always be found at the annual Living in Recovery golf tournament. Jessica was impressed to see us there serving our best non-alcoholic drinks! “Providing a platform for the community to get involved makes a big impact. [Sobar is a] stage to recover out loud, to get the idea out in the community. I think that's a unique position that we don’t really have in the community.” 


Jack met our founder, Beth Harbinson, at International Overdose Awareness Day. He saw people having fun without drugs or alcohol, and that made him extremely happy. In his words “[Nondrinkers] want to go out and have fun too!” Many of Matthew's friends in the recovery community, clients, and their network find that Sobar fosters community, one for both drinkers and nondrinkers.

Their advice brought out a well-articulate, humorous response. Jess recommended that people should “go to meetings and decide if this is for you. Visit different ones and see if they are beneficial for you.” Once you’ve found a foothold, “stay visible in the community and keep giving back.” Jack echoed a similar sentiment. “Desperation brings us here but the more I made myself available and open to other people, the farther I progressed. The relationships I’ve built along the way have helped me stay in recovery and continue recovering.” 

Jessica and Jack are two truly passionate individuals who are dedicated to making
Maryland is a place for everyone, especially people who struggle with addiction. Recovery has given the Matthews so much, and they “can't keep this gift without giving it away. We have been absolutely blessed by this and the people that helped us along the way. No matter what stage of recovery you are in – from square 1 to square 60 – together we can recover.”

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