I am a sober alcoholic and drug addict; I am thirty-six and have been using drugs and alcohol for about twenty of those years. When I started drinking, I enjoyed the effects it gave me and chased that feeling for a long time. I wanted more and feared not getting it. Then came the pot; I was drinking heavily and using pot daily. At nineteen I had a knee injury and was prescribed my first opioid; at this point I was also suffering from mild depression and felt I had no purpose.
I was a dancer, martial artist, and soccer player; I worked hard for these things and they made me happy. I remember getting the pain killers from my knee injury; the bottle read “taking pills with alcohol will intensify effects.” I thought this was an OUTSTANDING idea; the pills and booze no longer made me depressed, angry, resentful, or fearful. I felt numb, and I chased this feeling for the next fifteen years.
I eventually moved on to harder drugs, including ecstasy, ketamine, acid, and LSD. I began to face negative consequences from my usage; I started to become dependent on these drugs to get me through the day. I feared running out and became obsessed with getting more.
Around twenty-two I was arrested for the first of many DUIs. This was a small wake up call, I swore I would never drink and drive again. It was time to get “serious” and get my life together. A few months later I got a professional job and relocated to a new area. I did well at first but began to drink more; I started doing cocaine and crack at this point. My family and employer had an intervention for me, and I went to my first treatment center at twenty-five. I knew I had a problem but could not surrender to the idea that I must be sober. I was not ready to give up my lifestyle; I did start to take an interest in the studies of addiction and alcoholism. I began to study psychology, behavior health, and read self-help books; I found a new passion in learning. I was sober for not even two months; relapsed and got a second DUI. I let my family down and myself. I couldn’t understand what my problem was; why couldn’t I stop?
I truly believed I was too far gone to ever become sober. After being arrested again, I was forced to resign from my job. I moved back home with my mother and began to isolate myself from the world. I found ways to beat the system, pass drug tests, and avoid probation officers; I wasn’t even sober on probation. I started to think that I would always be this way, an addict; I would die addicted to drugs and alcohol. This is when hope went out the window; with multiple attempts to get sober I failed each one. I reached a point where I needed drugs and alcohol just to wake up and go about my day. The vicious cycle of addiction had me in its grips; I became powerless over drugs and alcohol. I was given the opportunity to live better when someone gave me a job. I cleaned up my act a bit. Then, I met a woman who I decided to have a serious relationship with. I had an intoxalock machine on my car; I would go out drinking and leave my car at clubs. One night I decided to drive my girlfriend’s car home drunk and I was pulled over. I was arrested for driving a car without an intoxalock; this landed me seven and a half months in prison. I spent eight months in jail thinking about my mistakes. As soon as I got out, I started drinking and doing drugs again. I tried getting back into the workforce, getting sober on my own, tried relocating to new cities, but I always went back to drugs and alcohol.
I ended up in Georgia in hopes I would start over. I was given a small inheritance when my grandad passed; I ended up blowing fifteen thousand dollars in a matter of months on drugs. I knew if I didn’t get help soon I would overdose; I called my girlfriend for help and she flew me home to Pennsylvania. I detoxed from all the drugs and alcohol; which was a month-long process. I found my way back into a Twelve Step program and attended meetings up to three times a day. I checked into Valley Forge Medical center and started rehab in 2016.
I lost everything, and I became suicidal. I slowly began to rehabilitate myself mentally, physically, and spiritually; even my attitude for life changed. My hope came back, and I promised myself I would do anything suggested to stay sober. One day at a time I worked the program and attended meetings daily; all while helping others in recovery. I was awarded a scholarship to become a Certified Recovery Specialist through the Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Department. I became an active member of the Lancaster County Drug Alliance; I found a new passion in speaking to others in recovery. I continue my education in psychology, alcoholism and addiction in hopes to work in the field professionally one day.
This is why I am sharing my story. I am a survivor and living testament that recovery is possible. By the grace of God, I have been sober for thirteen months, and one day at a time I am restoring my sanity. Recovery has given me a second chance at a beautiful life. Today I manage two hotels; I dedicate my free time to recovery programs and helping others who suffer from the disease of addiction. This is one gift that must be given away to keep it. I will die with the disease of addiction, but I have found a way to combat the disease through helping others. The core components of recovery are deflation of ego and uncovering the root of suffering. I no longer need a drink or drugs to get out of bed; I am comfortable with myself, and I have a passion for my own life as well as the lives of others. I decided to get sober and get busy living!