I've been clean for 15 months. Everything is still new to me. I’ve dug myself out of Hell and things are getting better day by day. This is my greatest accomplishment. I strive to travel this lifelong journey, making every clean day add to this accomplishment. I am an addict. I am also a Father and Husband; I manage a restaurant and now I’m a student. I plan on becoming a substance abuse counselor and hope to help others find their way out of their own personal Hell.
I have always had an addictive personality. As a child I wasted all my money on eating out and playing games at the arcade. I drank for the first time at my Aunt’s wedding, I was only twelve. Since then, I would bar tend at any wedding or graduation party. I had a lot of experience mixing drinks from making drinks for my folks. In high school my friends and I had our buyers and would get drunk every weekend.
After high school I started hanging out with a different crowd, where I started smoking pot. I tried it a couple times in high school but never on a regular basis. Pot eventually became a big part of my life. So with alcohol and weed I became open to trying new drugs. Acid trips and all-nighters became an every weekend event. One night I couldn’t find any weed and ended up trying cocaine. I must have been eighteen. It wasn’t like some euphoric feeling, but I did like it. The door to the “Hard Drugs” opened.
Depression and anxiety came with the territory. I hit a bottom with a suicide attempt, spending five days in the hospital. I got clean. That lasted almost ninety days before my addiction took over again. I thought “I’m too young to not drink and handle drugs here and there.” I lived what I believed to be a normal life. Got jobs, lost jobs. Had relationships, lost relationships. Got married, got divorced. Had a daughter, and got full custody of her when she was nine months old. As depression was still an issue, I had yet another suicide attempt. After I got home from the hospital I only stayed sober for maybe two weeks. I progressed to using meth, crack and drinking bourbon by the fifth.
The bottom fell out when I found out about Heroin. The love affair began the first time I used it. I’ve heard it said that “when you can stop you don’t want to and when you want to stop you can’t.” This is true in many ways. I would stop for a few days and go back to it. I couldn’t stay stopped. It was a two and a half years of using and stopping, using and stopping, using and stopping. On December 10th 2009 I overdosed, I got out of the hospital and went to work three hours later.
In February of 2010 I was really ill. I had no idea how bad it was until I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I had partied all weekend and was sent home from work on Monday because my cough was so out of control. I felt horrible so I did what any drug addict would do, I got high. The next day, Tuesday Feb. 8th I slept through work. My Daughter tried to wake me up. A co-worker came over to see if I was ok. Between the two of them I woke up but just wanted to go back to sleep. I had no energy or strength to even sit up on my own. By the time I got to the emergency room my oxygen level was at 40%. I had been ill with phenomena and almost died again.
Three years ago I went to a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting because I wanted to quit Heroin. NA is a 12 step program like Alcoholics Anonymous. It was suggested to me to attend NA meetings after my first suicide attempt. It took near death experiences and a bunch of pain for me to finally give up. I would go in and out of NA but the people there kept saying “Keep coming back.” So I did. I also sought professional help. I found a substance abuse counselor, and also began seeing a psychologist. I started eating, sleeping normal and becoming healthy.
Today I attend NA meetings daily, if possible. I chair a meeting and hold a position at a business meeting. Today, I now have a feeling of pride and integrity in my life. Today, I’m motivated to improve my life. Today, I keep my recovery first in my life because without it I wouldn’t have a life at all. Everything in my life has improved since getting clean. I remarried; she is my best friend and was always there for me. My family doubled with the addition of my wife and her son. We have a house and three dogs. I have nice things in my life and I love the responsibility that comes with it.
I can only hope my life experiences will help me in my career path of becoming a substance abuse counselor. I have been to Hell and fought my way back. I have a map to help other addicts. The knowledge I have gained with my life experiences, coupled with a college education may very well give me the green light on the road to my next greatest accomplishment, a fulfilling career. If I can help one addict get and stay clean everything I’ve done will have been worth it.