"I don't want to stop being clean and sober; I value things in my life now."

I remember when I was actively using and drinking; I thought it was normal. Growing up as a young high school kid, I had a mother addicted to drugs who was in and out of jail. My father married a woman who emotionally and physically abused me, and I was emancipated at the age of 15. I drank my pain and emotion away. After a while, the drinking stopped working and stopped taking me to the black hole I wanted to live in. I had 3 failed attempts at college and 4 suicide attempts. The way I thought was if my parents didn’t want me, no one else would.

I turned to heroin after a DUI, and meeting someone in a court-ordered Intensive Outpatient Treatment who talked about something that would kill me and make the pain stop forever. I was dead wrong; heroin took me to the deeper depths of hell. I was living in a motel, stealing from the people I loved, and desperate for the sickness to stop. All of my human morals were straight out the window. After reviving my ex from an overdose, I sat there wondering why I was doing the same thing that almost killed him. I knew right then and there that I was going to die. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t ready to.

I spent 72 days in inpatient care. I stayed in a halfway house for 4 months after that. All the while I started working a 12-step program; I surrounded myself with people who are like me and think the same way I do. I started working on how not to be self-centered and help others without expecting anything in return. I have almost 20 months sober and continue to work my program. I don’t want to stop being clean and sober; I value things in my life now.

This is why I am sharing my story. I started college again and have a positive bank account. I take responsibility for my actions instead of blaming other people; I have confidence in myself. I am proud of what I do, and the ways I contribute to society. I used to think “It won’t ever happen to me,” and it did. The 12-step program and being honest with myself helped me. If you want to stop like I did, then be willing to do anything it takes.

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