I was born May 1, 1980.
My mother and father divorced before I was two years old. My father struggled with addiction and my mother left him. My mom remarried shortly after to Howard, my mother and step father raised me with morals, values and standards.
I have no complaints on my childhood because I had everything I needed and more to succeed. I excelled in sports was well behaved and made decent grades, but at a very young age I felt a disconnect spiritually. A lot of times I felt less than or that I didn’t quite fit in. I would use sports to compensate or lose myself. I collected baseball cards.
I started experimenting with tobacco and liquor in middle school but when I was a freshman in high school my step father passed away. The disconnect I felt as a child got worse and there was a void inside me that I just could not fill. The pain led me to use drugs and alcohol on a regular basis.
I was addicted by 16 years old, selling to support my habit. During this time, I put myself in some horrible situations. I was robbed with a shotgun put to my head, not something I ever thought would happen to me growing up. I found myself in my first treatment center at age 17. I was by no means ready to get clean. I continued to use and was confronted by friends and family.
At times, I couldn’t even speak or complete a sentence. A combination of LSD, cocaine, and pills had just about driven me insane. Consequences kept happening, DUIs, arrests, failed relationships, and I couldn’t hold a job and was kicked out of high school. I started to seek out relief form the mental torment I was experiencing: guilt, shame, remorse, and unbearable anxiety.
I went to a doctor and was prescribed Xanax and Lortab and for the first time in many years, I felt relief. The pills gave me self-esteem and made me feel connected to the rest of the world. I had arrived.
Little did I know that the pills would run out and I would end up sick and in even worse shape. I started using IV opiates at age 21 and didn’t stop until I got a brief glimpse of recovery at age 26. I stayed clean for two years after many attempts in multiple rehabs. My life changed dramatically and I was a productive member of society for the first time. I still wasn’t sold that this is a disease – and if I don’t stay spiritually fit that the obsession will return – and it did.
I started using again and suffered tremendously – in and out of jails and treatment centers for the next 7 years. I had two beautiful children and I couldn’t even stay clean for them. I felt like a huge failure in life and thought that I was going to die with a needle in my arm.
I finally came to my surrender in a jail cell on December 3, 2015, with no bail. All I had left was God, on my knees, in a cell. I began praying religiously for help.
Seventy days later, my prayers were answered. I went to treatment in Florida for 6 months where I was taken through the 12 steps of recovery. I was taught prayer and meditation, and how vital those things are to maintain recovery.
Today I’m able to show up for life and the people who are in my life. I’m a certified recovery life coach and I get to help people find recovery. I’m a good son to my mother, I’m a good boyfriend to my girlfriend, and a friend to all my friends. Most of all, now I can be a father to my children.
Recovery has given me my life back and I’m forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to go to treatment and get clean. I just celebrated 18 months two weeks ago.