I am a person in long term recovery from substance use disorder. What that means is I have not used alcohol or any other mind altering drugs since April 8th 2016.
Before 2016 I lived to look at my life from the outside you could only assume I was hell bent on the destruction of my own life and in the lives of those around me.
Growing up in my house alcohol and marijuana was always in the scene. At age 8 I was drinking and smoking weed whenever I could get my hands on it. By 13 I began experimenting with pain killers which began my use of opiates and the lure of the criminal lifestyle was too much for me to resist. I hit my first treatment center in Utah at 14 after a near death from my first overdose. I went through my teen years with the appearance that I had everything under control. During this time I continued to use and drink to block my feelings I considered a weakness, I used when I was angry, sad or to celebrate. Drugs and alcohol had become my solution. Slowly I started racking up charges and hitting the revolving door in the Department of Corrections. One day I woke up in wildwood pre-trial again and I didn’t recognize the man I was. I had lost all material things I had ever gained, lost the respect of my loved ones and lost faith in myself. I knew that I had to make a change but I didn’t know how or what that would look like.
On April 15th 2016 I went through the doors of my last treatment center which was a pig farm in the middle of nowhere. This was my last ditch effort to try to get my life turned around. The only thing different between this time and the others is I had become willing to do whatever it takes. I had been willing to do whatever it took to keep money flowing and my habit going and now I had to put that same energy into my recovery. I had lost all hope and realized that if I continued to do things my way I was going to die or spend the rest of my life in prison.
For me recovery came in the form of the 12 steps, sponsorship and coming to terms with my understanding of a higher power. I worked each step to the best of my ability with a sponsor.
Living a program of recovery has allowed me to have a life that’s second to none. I had my son who is 3 ½ years old and has never seen me under the influence. I know if I continue to live on the principals I have gained he doesn’t ever have to. In recovery by becoming the person I am meant to be I have also attracted those I am meant to be with. I met a amazing woman and with 5 years sober we got married and now have a beautifully blended family of 6. I have been blessed with many great job opportunities in construction yet inevitably my path led me to the field I am in today. I have gone from prisons and homelessness to owning my own home. I went from being revived by NARCAN to now facilitating NARCAN trainings for others in hopes to save a life. I was once seemingly lost in a hole and didn’t see a way out. Now I am grateful to get to work with others on a daily basis to help others find their way out of the pit I used to find myself. Best of all is I like the person I am today and get to know what it means to enjoy the life I have without the use of substances.
If you are struggling with using or the idea of not, please reach out. I didn’t have to do this alone and you don’t either.